Munton treble fires Melton Town into County Cup last eight

In a game of few clear chances, Zak Munton went closest for Town, but was denied by a point-blank save
In a game of few clear chances, Zak Munton went closest for Town, but was denied by a point-blank save
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A burst of three goals in the final 15 minutes saw Melton Town finally overcome Barrow Town in the Senior County Cup on Tuesday evening.

Town had trailed going into the final quarter-of-an-hour at Signright Park before a late Zak Munton hat-trick earned the hosts a spot in the last eight.

East Midlands Counties League side Barrow keen to avenge last season’s semi-final at the hands of Melton, and the tie got off to a frenetic start with both teams quickly into their passing games.

Jelley went close for the visitors when he cut into the box and shot inches wide before Melton keeper Johnson had to dive low to keep out a Richards shot as Barrow kept up the pressure.

Melton’s first chance came after 19 minutes when Hibbitt rose above the defence to head a corner against the crossbar, before Arnold’s free-kick was a whisker past the post.

Harris’ quick pass found Price whose first-time shot was well saved by Simpson as the game became an end-to-end battle.

On the half-hour only Beaver’s last-ditch tackle prevented a certain goal as Richards drove into the box.

Munton replaced the injured Hammond in the second half as the frenetic pace continued.

Foster’s flick-on from Richards’ run and cross just missed post and bar, while An Arnold corner found Beaver unmarked and his header was cleared off the line by Rose.

Manager Tom Manship threw the last roll of the dice by bringing on Lever and Benjamin, but it was Barrow who broke the deadlock midway through the half.

The hosts lost possession, allowing Richards to running at the defence and fire a superb 25-yard shot into the top corner.

Melton moved up a gear and levelled with 15 minutes left when Arnold’s great defence-splitting found Munton who lobbed the on-coming keeper.

Minutes later Simpson parried a shot from Harris after combining with Munton who then hit the post with a rasping shot after good work from Arnold and Lever.

Rose was sent off for a rash high tackle with 10 minutes left before Melton’s pressure finally paid.

With just three minutes left Arnold’s long ball found Lever in acres of space to pick out Munton with a pinpoint cross, and the Melton striker headed past the static Simpson.

The game was wrapped up in the final minute when Lever’s cross to the back post was cushioned by Wilson to Munton who touched into the net to complete his hat-trick.

The game was closer than the scoreline suggested, with Barrow battling for everything, but when Melton went up a gear they showed their superiority with some clinical finishing.

Town return to league action on Saturday at home to Wellingborough Whitworth (ko 3pm).

Town: Johnson, Rigby, Beaver, Hibbitt, Gilchrist, Wilson, Harris, Arnold, Price (Benjamin), Hammond (Munton), Reek (Lever).