United Counties League: Melton Town edge past high-flying Daventry

Melton survive a scare, but handed Daventry only their second defeat of the season EMN-160509-103316002
Melton survive a scare, but handed Daventry only their second defeat of the season EMN-160509-103316002
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Melton held on for a fine victory on Saturday after a great performance against a Daventry side who started the day in fourth place.

Tony Thorpe’s side welcomed new signings Jordan Cufflin-Stableford and returning keeper Richard Cragg to the starting line-up with former Coalville Town and Holwell Sports forward Tom Byrne on the bench.

Melton Town 4-3 Daventry EMN-160509-103332002

Melton Town 4-3 Daventry EMN-160509-103332002

The hosts began positively as Cufflin-Stableford made an immediate impression on the left of midfield.

Melton’s first effort arrived after five minutes with a well-worked move, but Bishop’s half-volley from the edge of the area was well saved.

Palfreyman forced the keeper into another save as Melton showed renewed determination as they scrapped for every ball in midfield.

Kieran Clayton was harshly shown a yellow card for a tackle on the halfway line and Daventry broke the deadlock on 28 minutes against the run of play.

Melton failed to clear their lines on the left, and Scott Cross cut inside and hit a low 25-yard drive into the far corner of the net.

But Town responded well and a good ball from Bishop released Cufflin-Stableford who cut inside onto his right foot, but his shot from 18 yards was wide.

Alex Horobin was having an excellent game at right-back, and the youngster looked strong in the tackles and composed. And his surging run from deep and great cross created the next chance, but Bishop and Palfreyman got in each other’s way as Palfreyman headed wide from six yards. Melton’s determination paid off on the stroke of half-time when John Love was bundled over, and Palfreyman’s penalty sent the keeper the wrong way.

Melton started the second half in the worst possible fashion, as they immediately conceded a penalty when Joe Slater was penalised for holding at a corner and Cross dispatched the spot kick.

Town again showed great desire to get back into the game and in the 54th minute Jack Baker capped a jinking run with a fantastic low strike from 20 yards which found the far corner.

Melton went in front for the first time just after the hour when Bishop and Palfreyman exchanged passes.

Palfreyman let fly from 25 yards with a delicious strike which flew into the net for his eighth goal in seven starts to top the league’s scoring charts.

Bishop then capped his man-of-the-match performance with another well-worked goal as Palfreyman turned provider with a perfect pass and Bishop neatly placed his shot around the keeper.

Byrne looked lively when he made an appearance from the bench and twice went close, but Daventry were to make it a tense finish.

Cragg made two crucial saves before Elliott Herbert scored from close range after Melton failed to clear a corner.

But Town held on for their second win of the campaign and there first UCL win at Digital Deadline Park.

Melton: Cragg, Horobin, Mann, Slater, Clayton, Lapworth, Baker, Love, Cufflin-Stableford (Byrne), Palfreyman, Bishop.

* Melton travel to Bourne Town on Tuesday (7.45pm kick-off) and then face a trip to Bugbrooke on Saturday (3pm). Their third straight away game takes them to Corby next Tuesday to take on Stewarts and Lloyds.