Melton Hockey Club’s First XI secured an important win as they came out on top of a close competitive game at Leicester Westleigh on Saturday.
On the back of a hard-fought win seven days earlier, Melton travelled away to a Westleigh side lying just a point below them in the East Midlands Premier.
Expecting a tough fight, Melton knew having only one sub would require all their resolve if they were to return home with a win.
The pitch was slow and turned a lively opening into a fairly attritional affair, but despite this, it was Melton who managed to cope better with the conditions.
They went close several times and restricted the hosts to only one breakaway, leaving the visitors feeling more than a little frustrated as half-tiemm arrived goalless.
It was more of the same in the second half, but this time Melton found the breakthrough.
After winning the ball down the right, Hewitt unleashed Sibun down the right wing. Sibun had given Westleigh’s left-back a tough first half, and he again outstripped him to reach the byline, cutting the ball back for the waiting Kendall who lifted the ball into the roof of the net.
The first goal lifted the pressure off Melton who started to sit back and spring counter-attacks.
Several short corners were won from this switch in tactics, and eventually it led to a Hewitt drag flick which rebounded to Pollard who pounced to stretch the Reds’ lead.
Westleigh, to their credit, started to apply pressure of their own, and Eden made several important saves to preserve Melton’s clean sheet.
The clean sheet owed much to a collective effort on Melton’s part, as they worked hard right up to the end, but Eden’s form suggested he was unwilling to be beaten.
As the clock ticked down, another counter-attack down the right saw Kendall and Durrant exchange several passes.
Durrant then stretched his legs and sprinted past the Westleigh back line and eventually tucked home the third goal from a tight angle.
On Saturday, Melton return home to face second-placed Derwent (12.30pm start).
* In a good weekend for the club, Melton’s Fourth XI secured only their second win of the season as mid-table Hampton-in-Arden were swept aside 4-2 in Central League South East Division Two.
But there was no upturn in fortunes for the Second XI who remained without a point following a 4-0 home defeat to Burton in the East Midlands Premier.