Melton Hockey Club’s First XI returned to action last weekend with a difficult double-header against two teams above them in the table.
Hosting fourth-placed Ashby on Saturday, Melton were looking to reverse the defeat they suffered in the away fixture before Christmas.
The visitors started confidently, perhaps with a tinge of complacency, as they looked to press Melton back early on.
Chances were flying at both ends, but Melton didn’t look in any great danger right up until a short corner saw Ashby take the lead, almost surprisingly.
Melton could have buckled, but they fought back and started to earn more possession, forcing several chances from the Ashby keeper.
But the hosts were not to be deterred, and when Taylor flicked a short corner to the back post, Sibun poked home on his return to the first team.
Ashby restored their lead early in the second half and Melton found themselves staring defeat in the face again.
It was a bitter blow, but the home side were showing more spirit and determination than it had for some time.
A ball into the penalty area was deflected into the goal by Sibun to level for the second time despite the Ashby protests.
With tempers flaring, Ashby were soon down to 10 men when their anger boiled over, and Melton took full advantage.
Pushing forward more and more, the pressure finally told when Durrant found space opening up in front him, allowing him a free shot which Sibun turned home to complete his hat-trick.
At 3-2 up the Reds went into all-out defence mode.
Chances still came for Ashby, but the hosts held on despite ending the game with nine players after Messina and Brown were unlucky to find themselves in the sin bin.
On Sunday, Melton then travelled to Panthers for a game re-arranged from before Christmas.
From the very first whistle it was clear the previous day’s work was having an effect on the Reds as tired legs and minds left Melton struggling to keep possession and stop skilful opponents.
Two quickfire goals set the tone and before the half had really got going the game looked beyond Melton.
Two became three, and then four, before Melton kicked into gear.
A ball into the area by Baker found Sibun, who turned the ball past the keeper, allowing Crocket to tap in his first goal for the team.
The visitors changed their shape at half-time and the second half was a different story.
Regular chances began to come on the break, but the Panthers’ goalkeeper was in inspired form.
Panthers looked less threatening, but still managed to sneak a fifth against the run of play as Melton pressed forward.
The game petered out, ending in disappointment, but Melton will look to build on Saturday’s performance this weekend when they travel to Newark.