Melton Town push league leaders Daventry all the way

Jordan Cufflin-Stableford pulled Melton level EMN-161121-164143002
Jordan Cufflin-Stableford pulled Melton level EMN-161121-164143002
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Melton Town turned in an excellent performance but came unstuck against the in-form league leaders Daventry on Saturday.

Daventry came into the game unbeaten since the first week of September when they lost a seven-goal thriller 4-3 at Melton.

The large home contingent of supporters were hoping for revenge, but were wary of Melton’s firepower.

Last season Melton were playing three leagues below their hosts, but Melton dominated possession in a brisk opening and conjured up a handful of good chances.

But the hosts hit the front against the run of play after 10 minutes when they hit a corner long. It was met by Dean Lukeman on the edge of the area who powered a header into the top corner.

Melton then pressed with some intricate passing, carving open Daventry’s defence time and time again.

Town’s reward for the sustained pressure came in the 20th minute when a through ball from Adam Bishop found Aidan Black clear on goal who shimmied past the keeper to slot home the equaliser.

The remainder of the half saw Melton playing some beautiful one-touch football and but for some last-ditch defending would have gone into the break ahead.

Instead, right on the half-time whistle, Daventry attacked down the right and whipped in a cross which found Ashley King unmarked to head home for a 2-1 lead.

But within a minute of the restart for the second half Melton were level again.

Kieran Clayton played a great 40-yard pass between Daventry’s two centre-backs and found Jordan Cufflin-Stableford whose 25-yard shot screamed into the top corner.

The match became a midfield battle as both teams tried to take control, and with 20 minutes left Clayton mis-controlled a Daventry clearance on his chest and King pounced to score from five yards.

Within minutes another unfortunate mix-up in the Town defence saw the ball ricochet around and James Tricks made no mistake from three yards to put the game out of Melton’s reach.

This took the wind out of the Town sails, and although they carried on taking the game to the league leaders, they failed to capitalise.

The defeat extends the sequence to four losses in five league matches, but arguably while they have played some of their best football.

They now move on to a run of five home matches before Christmas, starting on Saturday with the visit of in-form Buckingham Town, followed by the mouthwatering Senior Cup quarter-final meeting with local rivals Holwell the following Tuesday.