Melton Hockey Club First XI travelled to Nottingham Trent University, a venue where they suffered their heaviest defeat of last season.
It was therefore with some trepidation the squad assembled, especially with several first team members unavailable.
And yet, away to one of the East Midlands Premier’s strongest sides, Melton acquitted themselves well.
Conceding the majority of possession to their youthful opponents, Melton defended resolutely, and carried a significant threat on the break.
Trent failed to carve out any significant openings until a fortunate bounce provided a clear-cut chance which they converted to make it 1-0.
Melton applied some pressure of their own, with Hewitt and Pollard breaking away, only for the whistle to be blown a split-second before Kendall converted a loose ball.
With the umpire awarding a short corner instead of the goal, Melton came close to what they deserved when Judge struck a shot firmly against the foot of the post.
It was the first sign that Melton’s hard work wasn’t going to get its just rewards.
Another bouncing ball in the Melton defence then saw Trent University’s lead increased.
There was a serious risk the visitors might capitulate, but Melton dug in, with Messina, Taylor, and Judge providing excellent cover for Eden in goal.
Yet Eden was still called into action several times throughout the first half.
The second half continued in a similar vein, with Trent having most of the ball, but again Melton posed problems on the break.
Kendall and Judge both went close, while the team continued to defend resolutely as a unit.
The hosts became increasingly frustrated as they failed to break down the stubborn defence, and when they did, they found Eden in excellent form to continue to hold them at bay.
The game ended 2-0, but on another day, with a full squad, Melton might have got something out of the game.
The reds return home to face Leicester on Saturday at 12.30pm.