Melton Town pay the price for slow start as Blackstones prosper

Alex Horobin added another long-range strike to his growing goal collection
Alex Horobin added another long-range strike to his growing goal collection
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Melton Town suffered a disappointing home defeat at the hands of lowly Blackstones despite a stirring second-half display.

The hosts were stunned as the Stamford side raced into a 3-0 half-time lead, but fought back to leave the visitors hanging on for the three points.

Co-manager Steve Hendey said: “We gave ourselves a mountain to climb by conceding three goals and taking too long to sort out our shape, but the response of our lads in the second half was brilliant and they deserved something out of the game.

“We need to take our second half performance into our next game against high-flying Potton, but if we’re brave enough to play our football then we’ll give them a proper test.”

Blackstones started brightly and could have taken an early lead through Ginty and Denise Souza who both spurned good chances following some hesitant defending.

Alex Horobin went close for Melton and Jordan Cufflin-Stableford’s cross went begging before the latter’s corner forced a couple of last-ditch blocks from the visitors to keep their goal intact.

But Blackstones took a deserved lead when a corner was allowed all the way through their six-yard box to Barker to head home unchallenged.

Melton were struggling to get anything going and went further behind when Pill punished more slack defending to double the lead.

Town rallied and thought they had reduced their deficit when Cufflin-Stableford ghosted past Bates and pulled back for Love to score, but the goal was harshly ruled out for offside.

Blackstones took advantage of the let-off and were soon three-up when Horobin conceded a penalty and Ginty netted from the spot.

Melton dug deep and should have had a penalty themselves when a trip on Love went unpunished, and on the stroke of half-time, Horobin went agonisingly close with a far-post header.

Melton tweaked their system during the break and within minutes of the restart had pulled a goal back when Horobin’s strong, determined run took him past two defenders before curling a superb effort into the far corner.

This set the tone for the rest of the half and Town’s supporters didn’t have to wait long for the second goal when Jack Baker pounced on a loose ball to drill home from just outside the area.

A spell of sustained Melton pressure followed with Clayton going closest when his towering header came back off the bar.

The visitors were struggling to keep out the rampant hosts with Lee Mann nullifying the threat of Blackstones and Ginty, allowing Hendey and Baker to cause plenty of problems for the visitors.

Hendey tricked his way past two defenders and sent in a superb cross which eluded substitute Aiden Black and Love by inches.

Tom Cooper sent in a series of telling dead ball deliveries which the home side narrowly failed to convert into a deserved equaliser as Blackstones clung on defiantly to take the points.

Melton remained 12th despite the defeat and head to sixth-placed Potton on Saturday for a re-arranged match, eager to avenge their 5-2 opening day home defeat (ko 3pm).

Town: A. King, T. Cooper, L. Mann, K. Clayton, A. Horobin, J. Cooper, M. Hendey, J. Baker, Aaron Black, J. Cufflin-Stableford, J. Love. Sub: Aiden Black.