United Counties League: Melton Town denied by late St Andrew’s double

Sam Thorpe's first-half double was cancelled out by St Andrews' late fightback EMN-181016-104122002
Sam Thorpe's first-half double was cancelled out by St Andrews' late fightback EMN-181016-104122002
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It was two points dropped for depleted Melton Town side as the title challengers were pegged back at winless St Andrews on Saturday.

The United Counties League clash was Melton’s first visit to St Andrews in more than 30 years and was a meeting of two teams with very different agendas.

Melton were coming off the back of the controversial defeat to Lutterworth Town, trying to put their league title push back on track, while Saints were still looking for their first win of the season after a great display at Holwell.

Melton started as they have done all season by taking the game to the hosts and opened the scoring after just eight minutes.

Lindley’s corner was only half-cleared to the edge of the box where Tom Rigby fired in a shot which hit the bar and keeper Scott Graham, was ruled to have carried the ball over the line as he tried to stop Sam Thorpe’s headed rebound.

Melton’s early dominance paid off again after 20 minutes when a through ball found Thorpe unmarked in the area.

Graham saved his turn and shot, but fumbled the ball and Thorpe tapped into an open net.

Melton continued to control the game without producing too much in the way of chances to penetrate the home defence.

And St Andrews almost halved the deficit just before the break when Luke Green ran down the left and found Courtney Meade clear in the six-yard box.

But Peet made a finger-tip save, low to his left to keep out Meade’s shot.

The second half saw Melton getting frustrated as they played into the strong wind as the midfield were unable to get a foothold, while the hosts grew into the match.

All three Saints subs made an impact, but Town’s defence held strong and conceded no chances.

Reeve had two chances to put Melton out of sight midway through the half, but put a half-volley wide, and then with 14 minutes left he was found by Burniston’s great pass, and his powerful shot was well saved.

Then with 10 minutes left, the game turned on its head.

Luke Green collected the ball on the left and played a pass inside to sub Lawson who slotted the ball between Peet and the post to halve the deficit with Saints’ first shot on target.

The hosts now had a new intensity as they sniffed out a result from what had looked a lost cause.

They bombarded Melton’s defence with high balls and got their reward with two minutes remaining when a long ball was touched on by Benjamin and Abdul Sunmonu flicked a shot high into the net.

Melton will be disappointed not to win a game they had under control, but without really putting it to bed as the strong winds caused havoc.

Yet Town can take heart that while missing eight first team players they are still only two points off top spot.

They welcome back former manager Shane Jarram to Melton Sports Village on Saturday when Birstall United visit (kick-off 3pm).

Town: Peet, Rigby, Lindley, Fray (Horobin), Appleton, Burniston, Holis, Hibbitt, Reeve, Parsons (Reek), Thorpe.