Sileby dent Melton Mowbray’s title ambitions

Levi Fray shields the ball for Melton EMN-160216-151052002
Levi Fray shields the ball for Melton EMN-160216-151052002
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Melton Mowbray’s title hopes were dealt a bitter blow on Saturday as they were dispatched by Senior League leaders Sileby Town.

The hosts knew victory in all of their six games in hand would take them above the reigning champions, but were undone by goals from Stabik, Mike Hendey and Tom Marriott.

Tom Marriott's 'opener' is disallowed for offside EMN-160216-151103002

Tom Marriott's 'opener' is disallowed for offside EMN-160216-151103002

Sileby started the game with more aggression and the league’s leading scorer Marriott and strike partner Tinsley were causing Melton defence lots of problem with their direct approach.

Melton struggled to get their passing football going on a muddy, uneven surface as Sileby defended in numbers and looked to move the ball quickly to their danger men up front.

The visitors had the ball in the net from a 20th-minute set piece, but Marriott’s effort was ruled out for offside.

Melton responded well and nearly opened the scoring, but David Hazeldine couldn’t connect with a header after Black played in a good ball from the left.

Melton skipper Tom Cooper is forced to track back EMN-160216-151118002

Melton skipper Tom Cooper is forced to track back EMN-160216-151118002

Adam Bishop was next to try his luck with a volley from 12 yards which forced a good save from keeper Felton before the ball was eventually scrambled clear.

But just as Melton looked to be gaining a foothold, they were given a huge blow on the half-hour.

Dean Copson’s corner from the right was met by Stabik who headed past Richard Cragg. Jack Baker looked to have cleared the effort off the line, but the linesman adjudged the ball to have crossed the line.

Melton again responded well, taking the game to Sileby and Aaron Black found some space 18 yards from goal, he glided past the defender but then blasted his shot over.

Baker’s rasping 20-yard drive just cleared the bar, but Sileby still looked a threat on the counter and were working very hard as a team to close down their title rivals.

Melton started the second half in positive fashion and controlled the tempo of the game but failed to turn possession into chances as Sileby defended very well as a team.

Aidan Black had a good opportunity when he broke free on the right but Sileby were again on hand to clear his dangerous ball across the box.

Melton lost Levi Fray to injury and were forced into making a change which seemed to unsettle the hosts.

And Sileby soon responded with a gift of a goal after 65 minutes. Under pressure from Tinsley, Ash Palfreyman’s attempted backpass didn’t have the power to reach Cragg, allowing Marriott to pick out Hendey who controlled the pass and calmly beat the keeper.

The hosts then reverted to three at the back as they chased the game and gave away a soft goal. Tony Thorpe lost possession on the halfway line and with Melton committing numbers forward, Sileby countered, working the ball well for Marriott to score his 35th goal of a prolific season.

Man-of-the-match, sponsored by Shane Mousley Funeral Services, was Kieran Clayton.

Melton remain in third and will look to bounce back on Saturday when they host Friar Lane and Epworth at Hoby Road (kick-off 2pm).

Melton: Cragg, Foster, Fray (Lapworth), Cooper, Palfreyman, Clayton, Baker, Black, Black, Hazeldine (Thorpe), Bishop (Myring).