Melton Hockey Club First XI impress at Nottingham

Former First XI skipper Chris Eden in action for the Second XI during their 2-1 home defeat to Leicester EMN-180611-122620002
Former First XI skipper Chris Eden in action for the Second XI during their 2-1 home defeat to Leicester EMN-180611-122620002
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Melton Hockey Club First XI once again with just the bare XI, but recorded a convincing win at Nottingham to go fourth in East Midlands Division One.

While travelling short on numbers has become a familiar tale, spirit and determination on the road has also become a familiar theme for Melton and their away form again impressed on Saturday.

Dan Merrison scores Melton Second XI's only goal of a tight match against Leicester EMN-180611-123201002

Dan Merrison scores Melton Second XI's only goal of a tight match against Leicester EMN-180611-123201002

Nottingham flew out of the traps early, pushing Melton back, but although the Reds were slow starters, the game quickly settled into an attritional battle.

The hosts turned over possession several times, but without being punished as Melton started to take control.

Hewitt flicked the ball down the line to Kendall who won a penalty corner.

On a difficult pitch, Melton’s normal corner routines became obsolete and they instead favoured a more direct approach which paid off when Pollard calmly slotted home the opener after a goalmouth scramble.

As Nottingham pushed forward, Melton sprang a counter as Kendall found Taylor high in the opposition half.

He turned and floated a ball into Sibun who cleverly knocked the ball behind his back past the helpless goalkeeper.

A two-goal half-time lead was just rewards for the hard-working visitors.

The next goal would be important, so it looked a vital moment when Eden stepped up to save a Nottingham penalty stroke.

The Melton keeper found himself repeatedly stretched, making several saves as Nottingham pushed the Reds back.

When Eden was beaten, Brown made multiple goal-line saves as the pressure built, but it was, perhaps, inevitable when a goalmouth scramble left a Nottingham forward free to tap a goal back.

It was a critical moment and left the game in the balance.

But as Nottingham pressed, Melton began to look more dangerous on the break.

After good work from Hewitt and Laker down the left, Kendall and Pollard both tested the keeper, and from the ensuing scramble, Kendall’s goalbound effort was stopped illegally on the line.

Up stepped Taylor to dispatch the penalty into the top corner and restore Melton’s two-goal cushion.

At 3-1 the game started to look secure, and Melton pushed on.

With time running out, Hewitt supplied Kendall in the area who in turn teed up Taylor to grab his second.

Melton ran out comfortable winners and will be looking to bring home some of the spirit of their recent away fixtures when they host Leicester Westleigh on Saturday (12.30pm start).

* Elsewhere in the club, Melton’s men’s second XI were pipped 2-1 in South East Premier, while the Third XI were beaten 4-1 at South Easy Three leaders Coalville.

And the Ladies’ First XI slipped to a 3-0 home defeat to unbeaten Loughborough Town to lie fifth in Leicestershire Women’s League Premier.