Slick Melton Town ease past Bourne ahead of summit clash

Michael Reeve's Thrapston double took his season's tally to 33 goals EMN-190402-084130002
Michael Reeve's Thrapston double took his season's tally to 33 goals EMN-190402-084130002
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Melton Town saw off the first snow of winter and warmed up for their biggest week of the season with another impressive win against Bourne.

Home supporters were out in force early on Saturday morning, brushing snow off the pitch in order to get the game played, determined to give Town the chance to extended their great winning run to nine ahead of their top-of-the-table showdown at Anstey.

Town co-manager Jon Stevenson scored one and created another against Bourne EMN-190402-084120002

Town co-manager Jon Stevenson scored one and created another against Bourne EMN-190402-084120002

Bourne had kept out Melton until the very last minute in the reverse fixture back in December, but Town have come far in the six weeks since that pivotal win.

Just two changes were made, with Hibbitt replacing Hill, and Gilchrist coming in for Lever.

Melton’s third-largest crowd of the season braved the weather and were almost rewarded inside five minutes when co-manager Jon Stevenson broke through in midfield and sent a shot from the edge of the area which whistled narrowly past the far post.

Wilson then got his head to a Stevenson corner which beat the keeper, but landed on the roof of the net as the hosts pressed for their customary early goal.

And there was no surprise when after just nine minutes Westwood won the ball in midfield, slipped past two tackles and played in Reeve who ghosted into the penalty area and fired a low shot past the keeper to give Melton a deserved lead.

The hosts started to play some great football, passing it around the pitch with confidence, and they made it 2-0 midway through the half when Bourne failed to clear their lines from a corner.

The ball bounced around the box until Stevenson sent a powerful volley goalwards, which appeared to deceive the keeper as he deflected it into his own net.

Reeve almost made it three just minutes later when he turned and shot from the edge of the area, but he was denied by a great save and goal-line clearance.

And on the half-hour Westwood drove into the area and dinked the ball to Reeve whose reflex shot was tipped around the post.

The second half started as the first half had finished with Levi Fray bursting into the box and teeing up Stevenson whose rasping shot was deflected around the post.

The resulting corner was cleared only as far as Stevenson whose shot was deflected once more, but this time to Reeve who had a close-range tap in for his fourth goal in two games.

There was no let-up, with Stevenson’s curling free-kick brilliantly tipped over, and Parsons going close with a long-range shot.

Young Kyle Reek was introduced after 63 minutes and had an immediate impact when he played a one-two with Levi Fray and drove straight into the area.

A beautiful ball across the six-yard box found the oncoming Arnold who made no mistake from four yards.

Bourne’s first real chance came with just four minutes left when Munton was found unmarked in the area, but headed wide of an open goal.

Melton turned in a performance of the highest order to make it nine wins in a row and six clean sheets in seven games.

The result drew them level on points with second-placed Lutterworth Town, who have a game in hand, and kept them within three points of Division One leaders Anstey Nomads who they visit on Saturday (kick-off 3pm).

Town then host Barrow Town on Tuesday, February 12 in the County Senior Cup semi-final at Melton Sports Village (ko 7.30pm).

Town: Peet, Rigby, Levi Fray, Gilchrist, Wilson, Leon Fray, Hibbitt, Stevenson (Arnold) (Price), Reeve, Parsons (Reek), Westwood.