Melton Town’s lightning start catches Holwell Sports cold in historic derby

Teams come out for the first league derby between Melton and Holwell EMN-181217-110112002
Teams come out for the first league derby between Melton and Holwell EMN-181217-110112002
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Melton Town took the bragging rights after a first-half blitz blew away Holwell Sports in atrocious conditions on Saturday.

Temperatures which hovered around zero, driving icy rain and gusting wind were not conducive to a good football match, but a record crowd approaching 200 turned out to watch the first-ever league clash between the two Melton sides.

Michael Reeve celebrates opening goal after 20 seconds EMN-181217-110133002

Michael Reeve celebrates opening goal after 20 seconds EMN-181217-110133002

The hosts made the perfect start and were ahead within 20 seconds.

From the kick-off, the ball was worked out wide to Lever who found Arnold.

The former Lincoln City forward slipped the ball into Reeve who made no mistake with a low powerful shot which beat Cragg.

Holwell’s nightmare start got worse when Town doubled their lead within five minutes.

Melton's Nathan Arnold and Holwell's Matt Hendey do battle Picture: Phil James EMN-181217-110153002

Melton's Nathan Arnold and Holwell's Matt Hendey do battle Picture: Phil James EMN-181217-110153002

Rigby went on a surging run down the right and after going past Hendey, he sent in a low cross which found Parsons unmarked at the back post to tap into an empty net.

It was all Melton in the opening exchanges and Arnold nearly made it three when he received the ball out wide and cut in past Clark, only to see his shot whizz past the far post.

Midway through the half a corner from co-manager Tom Manship looped towards the near post where there was a mad scramble to get the ball in the net, but the visitors managed to clear their lines.

It was soon 3-0, however, after 36 minutes, when Rigby, who was causing havoc down the right, beat the defence for pace and sent a ball into the box.

Jordan Lever in possession Picture: Phil James EMN-181217-110203002

Jordan Lever in possession Picture: Phil James EMN-181217-110203002

Arnold had time to steady himself before planting his low shot under the keeper.

Things went from bad to worse for Holwell with five minutes left of the first half when Parsons was fouled in the box and a penalty was awarded.

Parsons sent Cragg the wrong way to make it 4-0 at the break.

Holwell came out for the second half with a new lease of life and, with the wind behind them, they started to impose themselves.

Liam Ambrose scores Holwell's consolation from the spot Picture: Phil James EMN-181217-110213002

Liam Ambrose scores Holwell's consolation from the spot Picture: Phil James EMN-181217-110213002

Their first attempt on goal came from a Melton goal-kick which found Liam Ambrose who fired in a blistering shot which shaved the bar.

Then in the 57th minute, Sports were given a lifeline when a ball was sent into the area and Fray appeared to handle the ball.

Ambrose stepped up and put the penalty away, sending Peet the wrong way.

The match became a lottery as the winds picked up and the blizzard conditions increased.

Both teams tried to play football, but the conditions made it almost impossible.

Rigby nearly made it five after some Melton interplay out on the right, but his shot flashed across the box and was too quick for the incoming Thorpe.

Hazeldine had an effort in the closing minutes which forced Melton keeper Peet to pull off a fingertip save, knocking the ball around the post.

Stevenson hit a beautiful free-kick which came back off the crossbar, and in the final minute, Ambrose could have bagged a second goal when he received the ball on the penalty spot, but Peet scrambled to make a save from his shot.

Holwell made a brave fight of it in the second half, but Melton were always in control thanks to their commanding half-time lead.

Melton stay in third place in the United Counties League Division One and have two games left before the end of the year, starting with a trip to Bourne on Saturday, knowing two more wins could bring them back to within touching distance of the top two.

Holwell lie in 15th place ahead of Tuesday evening’s trip to Harrowby United (ko 7.45pm).

Neil Miller’s side then return to Welby Road on Saturday when they host Stamford side Blackstones (3pm).

Town: Peet, Rigby, Fray, Hibbitt, Gilchrist, Fray, Arnold (Thorpe), Manship (Hill), Reeve, Parsons (Reek), Lever.

Sports: R. Cragg, A. Ridout, I. Bitmead, C. Brookes, J. Clark, M. Stevenson, T. Harris, Matt Hendey, R. McGarry (D. Hazeldine), C. O’Grady, L. Ambrose (L. Peberby 70).