United Counties League: Melton Town 2-5 Potton United

Potton United's Daniel Webb, who scored twice, on the ball, marshalled by Ben Lapworth EMN-160908-095650002
Potton United's Daniel Webb, who scored twice, on the ball, marshalled by Ben Lapworth EMN-160908-095650002
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Tony Thorpe had said firmly before the game had started that win or lose on opening day, Melton Town would not be getting carried away with the result.

So despite an opening day defeat to a useful Potton United side at the Digital Deadline Park, no-one will be pushing the panic button, no matter how heavy the loss.

Melton Town 2-5 Potton United EMN-160908-095701002

Melton Town 2-5 Potton United EMN-160908-095701002

Whether the occasion of their United Counties league debut had frayed nerves, Town’s support can at least take comfort that their team will not drop this many clangers again this season.

Many of the wounds of this 5-2 defeat were self-inflicted, but were it not for a marginal offside ruling out a Melton equaliser early in the second half, the day could yet have ended differently.

After a quiet opening, Potton were first to settle as Melton struggled to find their rhythm in the first half.

Ash King had already saved from Jack Weeden before two mis-placed passes out of defence handed Daniel Webb time and space to place a shot into the far corner.

A superb through ball from the dangerous George Kiely sliced open an edgy home defence two minutes later, but King again made the save.

Melton went close when Lee Mann teed up Gus Gentleman whose floated shot from range just cleared the far post.

But a minute later Potton doubled their lead when Gary Ansell-Carter again found acres of space to pick his spot and fire into the far corner.

It took almost 40 minutes to force Potton keeper Aaron Loney into serious action, tipping Adam Bishop’s neat low shot around the post.

And right on half-time Melton gave themselves a lifeline when Daz Taylor’s sublime 20-yard finish arrowed into the top corner after Bishop’s free-kick had rebounded back off the wall.

Buoyed by their first UCL goal, Town were out of the traps quickly in the second half and had the ball in the net through another confident finish from Taylor, but his run was ruled narrowly offside.

And minutes later the momentum was undone when King’s poor pass while out of his area allowed Potton to roll a third into an empty net.

Thorpe soon rang the changes, and one of his subs, John Love, made an almost immediate impact to spark the goal of the game.

His quick-thinking run from a long throw-in caught the Potton back four dozing. He raced towards the byline before laying a precise pass to Ash Palfreyman whose first-time shot found its way in off the underside of the bar.

At 3-2 Town were back in contention once more with half-an hour to play, but again Potton quickly seized the initiative back with an opportunist finish.

Webb’s hooked shot from the edge of the box somehow found its way in when there seemed no danger.

Town’s day was summed up with 20 minutes to go when sub Alex Horobin’s stray pass was easily intercepted. The youngster raced back to the goal-line in time to block the shot, but could only turn an attempted clearance into his own goal.

Another mis-placed pass, this time from Kieron Clayton, handed Potton a gift-wrapped chance for a sixth, but Town’s defence recovered well to limit the damage.

The hosts almost grabbed a late, consolatory third as Palfreyman’s powerful header flashed just wide.

These are the earliest of days in a long season, and while Thorpe will demand improvements, the occasion this time was perhaps always going to overshadow the result.

Melton: A. King, B. Lapworth, Levy Fray, G, Gentleman, Leon Fray, K. Clayton, D. Taylor, L. Mann, A. Palfreyman, A. Bishop, S. Myring. Subs: J. Love, S. Beaver, A. Horobin.