Melton Foxes U18s got back to winning ways at lowly Whitwick as a first half own goal and a Shaun Smith strike after the break proved enough to take all three points.
Late withdrawals and illness left the team without keeper Chris Lovegrove, Lewis Thorpe and Alex Horobin. Rory Gavin donned the keeper’s jersey and was a spectator for long periods.
On a rain-sodden pitch, Foxes started the better with a quick move down the left ending with a cross which Shaun Smith met beautifully with a overhead kick, but the keeper saved well.
Marcus Rowland then broke clear on the left before crossing, but Adam Lomas headed straight at the keeper.
Another move down the Foxes’ left flank saw the ball drop to Tom Dryell in the box. The youngster’s looked a certain scorer after his shot was blocked, but once more his shot was blocked and cleared.
Rowland, Doherty and Walker all had shots turned over by the agile home keeper, while Smith tried his luck with a 30-yard free kick and Cameron Ainge cut in from the right and sent a fierce drive across the face of the goal.
Melton finally took the lead in a fortunate manner on he half-hour when a defender headed an Ainge corner past his own keeper from close range,
Smith should have made it two seconds later after racing clear on the left, but blazed wide and Jake Dawkin then headed over from close range after another Ainge corner.
Within seconds of the restart Foxes should have gone further ahead when Smith ballooned a shot over from close range.
And in the 55th minute Melton had an even better opportunity to increase their lead when Ainge raced into the box and was brought down for a clear penalty.
Smith hit the spot kick well, but the keeper guessed the right way and made an excellent save.
Rowlands next cut in from the left before slicing his final effort and Lomas sent his header wide.
Smith then jinked his way through a tightly packed area and was denied again by another fine save, but the striker was not to be denied.
Repeating the move seconds later, he cut inside two defenders before hitting a low shot past the keeper from 16 yards.
A succession of wild shots eased the pressure on the hosts and with eight minutes left the visitors were caught out when a break down the left saw keeper Gavin beaten by a curling shot into the far corner.
But Melton saw out the final few minutes to record a much-needed win.
Foxes: R. Gavin, A. Doherty, J. Nickolls, G. Wilkinson, J. Dawkin, A. Lomas, A. Walker, T. Dryell, C. Ainge, S. Smith, M. Rowland, F. Lewis, A. Kotarba, B. Carroll.