Melton Hockey Club Third XI strengthened their promotion push with a 6-0 win at West Bridgford on Saturday.
They travelled without several regulars, but having won the toss, set the early pace.
Bridgford looked dangerous on the counter and Justin Harris, in goal, and the defensive line, had to be alert to keep the scores level.
But Jamie Archibald put Melton ahead after 10 minutes after a nice move down the right with Joe Harris and Nigel Shelton.
With the deadlock broken, the visitors settled and the second goal duly came when Archie Adams received a pass into the D from dad Nick, and showed good close control to finish neatly in the corner.
Melton’s midfield and forward line set a high press and as West Bridgford tried to break through, Nick Adams intercepted and again found the run of Archie who finished clinically for 3-0.
The hosts responded, drawing a good save from Harris before Connor Parker cleared upfield.
Nick Adams then drove at the Bridgford defence, and Shelton used all of his experience to time his run to perfection, arriving at the far post to score with an unstoppable deflection.
As half-time approached, Melton won a penalty corner and then a penalty flick from the resulting scramble which Oliver Nash placed neatly into the bottom-left corner.
The second half started well as Melton continued to press high, but Bridgford began to move the ball with more confidence, probing the visitors’ defence.
As Melton repelled another attack, Archibald collected the ball on halfway and tricked his way past several defenders into the D.
He then slipped a pass to Archie Adams who rounded the keeper and completed his hat-trick.
Both teams continued to fight hard, with Joey Yates and Leo Nash unlucky not to get on the scoresheet as attempts were saved or went wide.
Melton maintained their clean sheet and drew within three points of leaders Loughborough Town, while moving seven points clear of Ashby in third..