Melton Hockey Club First XI frustrated by Saints stalemate

Leo Guy almost teed up a first-half equaliser for Melton Firsts who have won four and drawn two of their opening nine league matches EMN-191216-161055002
Leo Guy almost teed up a first-half equaliser for Melton Firsts who have won four and drawn two of their opening nine league matches EMN-191216-161055002
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Melton Hockey Club’s final game before the Christmas break saw the First XI host Northampton Saints in a rearranged fixture.

But hoping to end on a high, it proved another frustrating afternoon for Melton.

Freddie Welch at full stretch for Melton EMN-191216-161108002

Freddie Welch at full stretch for Melton EMN-191216-161108002

It really should have been a positive end to the decade for the home side, as they dominated possession once again.

Chances came and went early on, with Dan Kendall twice firing wide when well placed, and to rub salt in the wound, Saints then went up the other end and scored following a misplaced pass.

Melton have dropped too many points this season, but they still show a lot of character, and Saturday was no different as they pushed Northampton back.

Two penalty corners followed, with the first almost forcing a leveller.

With his feet slipping from under him, Leo Guy flicked towards the back post, but the away keeper produced a fine save from Kendall’s deflection.

Melton weren’t to be denied, however, and when a smart routine from James Hewitt and Rich Randall squared the ball, Kendall scored the equaliser on their next attempt.

The hosts were on top, but a lack of concentration allowed a Saints player to steal in and fire the visitors back into the lead.

Melton were annoyed with themselves to be trailing at half-time, and needing a quick start to the second half, the Reds got it.

Another penalty corner saw Hewitt and Randall play out the same routine as in the first half, and Kendall swept in again to level the scores.

With plenty of time on the clock to complete the turnaround, instead Josh Thompson, Jacob Welch and Rich Randall all had to make important defensive stops, with Randall also saving on the line.

But Melton were much the better side and continued to press forward, although chances were more limited in the second half.

Another cleverly worked corner put Hewitt in on goal, but another save from the Saints keeper kept the scores level.

The result was tough to take going into the four-week winter break.

But Melton aren’t quite halfway through their fixtures for the season, and few teams in the division can live with Melton on their best form which hopefully bodes for better things after Christmas.

They sit sixth in East Midlands Division One and return on Saturday, January 11 against Nottingham.