UCL: Melton Town up to fifth after stunning fightback at Thrapston

Tom Byrne hit a hat-trick at Thrapston EMN-161010-095249002
Tom Byrne hit a hat-trick at Thrapston EMN-161010-095249002
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A remarkable late fightback helped never-say-die Town to an eighth win in 10 league outings at mid-table Thrapston on Tuesday evening.

The result lifted them to a season-high position of fifth in Division One and only five points behind leaders Daventry.

Melton looked destined to return home empty-handed down after an indifferent performance, but despite missing Lee Mann, Jack Baker and Joe Slater, Town turned the tables with three goals in a devastating five-minute spell.

An even start saw Steve Truman head narrowly over from Ben Lapworth’s free-kick before Brown replied for the hosts with a low shot which tested Melton keeper Ash King.

Seconds later King responded well to save again from Brown with a half-volley from the edge of the area.

But Thrapston went ahead after 15 minutes when a long diagonal cross-field ball split Town’s defence and winger Parkin was free to knock the ball past King from six yards.

Melton forced a series of corners, with Truman heading just over and Clayton’s goalbound header blocked and desperately cleared away.

However it was Thrapston who looked the more dangerous and they doubled their lead after 35 minutes through winger Buckby’s fierce low shot from 10 yards.

Keeper King came to Town’s rescue seconds after the restart with a brilliant save from Thomas’ fierce close-range volley.

Too many misplaced passes added to Melton’s problems, but just four minutes before half-time they received a lifeline.

Jordan Cufflin-Stableford swung over a corner which Clayton headed goalwards only for the keeper to push out. But Tom Byrne reacted quickest to whip the ball in from close range.

Straight from the restart Melton almost snatched an equaliser when Horobin’s long throw-in was headed on by a home defender, but Fox dived to his right to push the ball away.

Yet Thrapston went further ahead after 54 minutes when a straightforward through ball caught the defence napping and Thomas ran on to hit a superb volley past King.

Melton were struggling to find any rhythm with Thrapston seemingly in control, despite the efforts of wide men Byrne and Cufflin-Stableford.

But with 12 minutes left, Melton pulled one back when leading scorer Ash Palfreyman tried his luck with a 35-yard free-kick and his low drive skidded into the bottom corner.

The goal lifted Melton and two minutes later they rocked Thrapston with an equaliser.

Palfreyman blocked an attempted quick free-kick and slipped the ball to Byrne on the left who curled the ball delightfully into the far corner.

Melton completed an astonishing comeback with seven minutes left when Cufflin-Stableford curled a shot in from the left which the keeper could only parry.

Fittingly Byrne was there to steer a finish past the keeper and complete his hat-trick.

Town: A. King, A. Horobin, K. Clayton, B. Lapworth, T. Byrne, G. Gentlemen, S, Myring, J. Cufflin-Stableford, S. Truman, A. Palfreyman, S. Smith. J. Love, J. Griffin.