Melton Hockey: First XI held by dramatic Panthers fightback

Marc Herrickx in possession for Melton's Second XI who were heavily beaten at home to Derby side Ramgarhia on Saturday EMN-181120-124801002
Marc Herrickx in possession for Melton's Second XI who were heavily beaten at home to Derby side Ramgarhia on Saturday EMN-181120-124801002
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Melton Hockey Club’s First XI’s winning away run came to an end as they were thwarted by a dramatic second-half fightback at fierce rivals Panthers on Saturday.

The East Midlands Division One match turned into the epitome of a game of two halves as Melton let a four-goal lead slip and had to settle for a draw.

Games against Panthers are often testy affairs, more attritional than free flowing, but despite a slow first five minutes, Melton soon clicked into gear and the hosts couldn’t live with them.

Often leaving themselves open at the back, Panthers allowed Melton’s superior running power to dominate the first half.

Having failed to be clinical with their early chances, the visitors eventually took the lead when the returning Snow found Davies in the right hand channel.

Davies beat a man, and then squared for Cramphorn who calmly slotted the ball into the goal.

Suddenly, Panthers were swamped, with chances coming at a pace and goalmouth scrambles commonplace.

And from one such scramble, Kendall fired in from a tight angle to make it 2-0.

The game was now wide open, and the visitors soon added a third.

Pollard broke up an attack and set Davies off up the pitch, allowing him to spread the play to Hewitt who in turn found the onrushing Pollard.

Faced with only a defender and the goalkeeper to beat, Pollard held his pass until he could find Kendall in a position to tap past the onrushing keeper.

Clearly panicked, Panthers gave the ball away to Bowen deep inside their own half, and he calmly slotted in Kendall who squared to Smith to casually stroke home the fourth.

At half-time, Melton looked comfortable, but the second half was about to turn into a battle.

Panthers looked to up their pace, and the game became disjointed as fouls from both sides saw the teams reduced in numbers thanks to sinbin offences.

The hosts pulled one back from a penalty corner which boosted their confidence.

Aided by the broken play, Panthers piled on the pressure and Melton struggled to keep them out.

Two more quick goals followed as things started to run for the home side.

Chances continued to come at the other end, too, but the ball just wouldn’t go in for the Reds.

At 4-3, the game would swing on the next goal, but unfortunately for Melton, it was Panthers who grabbed it ending a breathless game, in a high-scoring draw.

Melton remain third and entertain mid-table Leicester at Burton Road on Saturday from 12.30pm.