Melton Fourths suffered a disappointing narrow home defeat to Khalsa in this re-scheduled fixture on Saturday.
Looking to avenge a heavy early season defeat, Melton started brightly and dominated the early stages, but were unable to create many chances.
The visitors grew into the game with man-of-the-match Cliffe making the first of many fine saves.
The youthful midfield of Smith, Cramphorn and Welch saw much of the ball, but the team were unable to offer their usual support as possession was conceded easily and the defence of Snow, Hacking, Parker and Exton were regularly tested.
Clear opportunities were few, but Khalsa took the lead with a scruffy mis-hit shot which squeezed inside the post.
Melton did not linger on the setback and pushed forward for an equaliser. It duly arrived when Buttery’s pin-point pass, half the length of the pitch, found young Riley who drilled a fine finish past the keeper from a tight angle to continue his scoring record.
At half-time both teams re-shuffled, but when Khalsa were reduced to 10 men for the first time, it seemed to galvanise the visitors who constantly drove long ball passes through Melton’s ranks.
Melton were unable to capitalise when the visitors were reduced to 10 men for the second time, following poor tackling, and the game looked increasingly likely to be decided by a single goal.
This unfortunately fell to Khalsa who eventually broke through Cliffe’s defences with an excellent strike.
The home side were unable to convert a penalty corner at the death and the visitors left will all the points.
But Melton can reflect on how far they have come this season, more than matching a team containing an England veteran player in their ranks.
Melton: L. Cliffe, C. Parker, G. Exton, G. Hacking, H. Snow, J. Riley, N. Buttery, T. Cramphorn, J. Welch, C. Smith, P. Taylor, N. Shelton.