Melton Town subside to six-goal defeat at promotion chasers

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A late collapse saw Melton Town flattened 6-0 on Wednesday evening as Lutterworth Town’s promotion challenge gathered pace.

This looked like the easiest of Lutterworth’s remaining games – with the league leaders and crosstown rivals Athletic to come – but having suffered 4-1 and 5-1 defeats in the league and cup, respectively, by Melton, the hosts were taking no chances.

Lutterworth began nervously with a lot of pressure on their shoulders, and it was Melton who had the early chances, with Kieran Lane causing problems down the left.

It took the Swifts 15 minutes to make their first clear chance when Liam Taylor received the ball wide on the left and cut into the area, but his chip found the side netting as keeper Middleton narrowed the angle.

Lutterworth upped the pressure, with James Parker beating Vernon and sending a cross flashing across the goal-line, with Tendai Daire’s follow-up shot also flashing across the goal.

Daire had a great chance to make it 52 goals for the season when a floated cross was played into Melton’s area, but his header shaved the post.

But nine minutes from half-time Lutterworth finally broke the deadlock when Liam Taylor’s corner found Marshall Keenan on the penalty spot and his first-time shot was deflected into the roof of the net by Daire.

Melton then had their best effort when Fury’s 25-yard volley was denied by Bee’s fingertip save.

Town began the second half on the front foot. Steff Stapleton drove down the right wing and his pin-point cross found Fury unmarked, but he couldn’t guide his header on target.

Fury then beat two defenders and shot from an angle, forcing Bee into a great save at his near post. The resulting corner found Stapleton unmarked, but he headed just wide.

But with 25 minutes to go it all went wrong for Town.

A Pearce free-kick found Parker unmarked to head into the top-left corner for 2-0, and three minutes later an almost carbon-copy goal made it 3-0 when another Pearce free-kick found Parker unmarked once more to head into the bottom corner.

A dispute followed when Lutterworth poked fun at the Melton defence, and Hollis’ reaction earned him a red card.

But Melton started to play as though they had the extra man with Stapleton hitting the side-netting before another shot just shaved the bar.

Yet with 10 minutes to go, Lane was beaten down the right and then clumsily brought down Tyers as he cut into the area. Daire comfortably slotted the penalty.

Things grew worse when a floated corner pinballed in the Melton area, and sub Jordan Small’s shot was adjudged to have crossed the line despite Middleton’s best efforts.

And right on full-time, the hosts were awarded a disputed free-kick on the halfway line and while the protests went on, the quickly-taken set piece found Small unmarked to slot his second from 10 yards.

As Lutterworth closed in on potential promotion, Melton were left licking their wounds as their wait for their first back-to-back league wins this season went on.

The defeat left them 16th ahead of Saturday’s trip to Huntingdon Town who sit three places higher (kick-off 3pm).