Sileby Town shade Melton Mowbray in Senior League title clash

Melton skipper Tom Cooper on the front foot against Sileby as Jack Baker looks on EMN-150902-095825002
Melton skipper Tom Cooper on the front foot against Sileby as Jack Baker looks on EMN-150902-095825002
Have your say

A single second half goal was enough to decide a tight top-of-the-table clash at Hoby Road and dent Melton’s title hopes.

Mark Tinsley’s strike put Sileby in pole position for Senior League honours, leaving them second only on goal difference behind Mowbray and with three games in hand.

The hosts created the more dangerous moments of an even first half, but were let down by their final ball as they struggled to thread their way through a disciplined Sileby rearguard.

The visitors also moved the ball quickly and neatly in attack and had the better of things early on, much of their good work coming through captain Mike Hendey.

Matt Hendey guided a diving header wide under pressure from Melton skipper Tom Cooper who then made another fine challenge to break up a slick passing move.

But Melton settled and were almost ahead after 18 minutes when lovely footwork took Jack Baker past his man to release Aaron Black on the right whose teasing diagonal ball across the six yard-box just evaded Adam Bishop’s boot.

A minute later Melton had a penalty shout turned down when Ash Palfreyman’s shot hit the hand of Sileby centre-half John Coppard.

The poor playing surface may have had a hand in the lack of clear chances as the players struggled to stay upright.

Minutes before the break, Palfreyman decided to go it alone and his superb direct run took him past four opponents into the Sileby box, but keeper Paul Felton beat out his well-struck shot.

Bishop placed a low shot just past the right post as Melton looked to blitz Sileby at the start of the second half.

And the all-important goal did arrive in the 53rd minute, but went the other way.

Melton’s momentarily defence stopped for an offside flag against Leo Coggan which was never raised. Coggan also hesitated but still had time to fire a shot which Richard Cragg blocked, but with the home defence still regrouping, the ball fell to Tinsley who struck from close range.

Two minutes later Baker ran on to a loose ball 20 yards out and thumped a fierce low strike which hit the inside of the left hand post and somehow evaded a red shirt as it spun back across the six-yard box.

Sileby boasted the best defensive record in the league, and were happy to keep their shape, soak up the pressure and hit Melton on the counter.

With 20 minutes left, the home bench roared for a penalty when Black cut into the box from the right and stumbled over a trailing leg, but referee Kevin Guise waved play-on, the protests enough to earn bookings for Cooper and Leon Fray.

Tinsley was put through on one of several quick breakaways, but Cragg came out well to rescue the situation, while at the other end a looping cross from the right fell to Cooper whose goalbound blast was thwarted by yet another block.

Leon Fray saw his tremendous dipping shot tipped over after a sweeping crossfield move involving Palfreyman and Baker.

There were more desperate goalmouth scrambles, but the ball just wouldn’t drop for Melton as Sileby’s defence reaped their rewards for a canny display.

Melton: R. Cragg, Levi Fray (D. Hazeldine 86), Aiden Black, T. Cooper (c), Leon Fray, K. Clayton, J. Baker, A. Bishop (L. Mann 70), A. Palfreyman, B. Stainsby (S. Stapleton 85), Aaron Baker. Subs not used: G. Williamson, S. Tattershall.