United Counties League: Melton Town bounce back in style as Palfreyman hits treble

Ash Palfreyman has four UCL goals in two games for Melton EMN-161208-084922002
Ash Palfreyman has four UCL goals in two games for Melton EMN-161208-084922002
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An Ash Palfreyman hat-trick inspired Melton to their first United Counties League points after a fantastic team display in Stamford on Wednesday evening.

Manager Tony Thorpe made four changes to the starting line-up which had lost on opening day, bringing in Alex Egner, Sam Beaver, John Love and Joe Slater.

Blackstones’ lively start was met with good discipline from Melton who kept their shape as they snuffed out any early threat.

And Town took the lead after 19 minutes when Levi Fray picked out John Love on the left whose excellent ball across the box allowed Palfreyman to smash home from 10 yards.

Melton had an extra spring in their step and after good play from Bishop and Love on the left, Leon Fray played a defence-splitting ball for Palfreyman to half-volley a superb second after 23 minutes.

The Town striker almost completed his hat-trick when he pounced on hesitancy in the Blackstones defence, but his clever lob over the keeper hit the post.

Blackstones pressed in search of a reply and on 40 minutes produced their first shot which went wide.

The hosts started the second half at a terrific pace and only good defending from Leon Fray and Kieron Clayton kept them at bay.

The game was at a stalemate until midway through half when Gentlemen’s pass found Levi Fray. He outran Blackstones centre-half who pulled the Melton defender back, earning a straight red card.

Blackstones still took the game to Melton, but the visitors could have added a third when Palfreyman played Gentlemen clean through on goal, but his first touch let him down.

Blackstones sent a good effort just over the bar as Melton continued to defend very well, and Egner brilliantly saved a point-blank header from a corner.

Bishop forced a save from the keeper when clear on goal after linking well with Mann, and Town duly had their third when Love’s good ball picked out captain Leon Fray to head home from a good counter-attack.

Super play from Levi Fray turned defence into attack, setting up the tireless John Love who outjumped the defence and flicked a header on for hat-trick man Palfreyman to race clear and slot under the keeper.

Town: Egner, Slater, Leon Fray (c), Clayton, Beaver, Levi Fray, Gentlemen, Mann, Bishop (Williams), Palfrayman (Smith), Love.