LTHC Men’s 3rd XI 2 at Melton Men’s 1st XI 2

MRHA T2 – East Midlands 1

Saturday 27th October 2018

In a game of two halves and freezing temperatures, Loughborough Town Men’s 3rd XI came away frustrated after a testing fixture away to Melton Mowbray Men’s 1st XI. As the game got underway and the rain began to fall, the visitors looked striking in a gleaming all white away strip (although midfield star Lawrie Bayne’s rogue nature saw him exhibiting a rebellious pair of dark blue socks on the substitute’s bench). As in previous weeks, Town started the better of the two teams, with the forward line of Chris Hastings, Ollie Jephcott and Jono Griffiths finding space in the opposition half time and time again to keep the defenders on their toes. However, continual failings to capitalise on the home side’s mistakes began to irk some of the visiting players, and in the twenty third minute midfield maestro Nathan Hunt received a warning from the umpire after venting his frustrations in a tantrum-esque fashion. Soon after, clever play from Tommy Ross, who battled through the game with a mystery illness, resulted in Adam Carter being able to slot Jephcott through on goal. The young attacker made no mistake and fired home after rounding the keeper with some smart stick skills.

Melton looked for an immediate response, and it took a world-class save from the goalkeeping colossus of Tom Smith to deny the hosts. A period of sustained pressure from the home side followed, and it was this desperation to equalise that led to Town breaking and earning themselves a short corner. New signing Hugo Wignall took his place on the edge of the circle and team hygiene consultant and right half Mike Reina assumed his position on the baseline to commence the corner routine. A crisp pass to Wignall saw a quick-fire strike deflected away by the keeper, before Hastings capitalised on the loose ball and fired into the roof of the net. The half-time whistle then blew and Town deservedly went into the second half with a two goal lead.

As the final thirty five minutes got underway, temperatures continued to drop and the rain intensified, which seemed to echo the mood in the Melton dugout. It was the home side who started on the front foot, and Town’s resolve was thwarted soon after when a run of seven short corners finally resulted in a goal for the hosts. Despite the continued dominance of the opposition the away side still looked dangerous on the counter attack, and the two-goal cushion was almost restored in the fiftieth minute when an intelligent through ball from Liam Brown put Carter through on goal. The latter’s shot was remarkably cleared off the line by an opposing defender.

Another run of short corners for Melton resulted in a ticking off for Smith, whose efforts to rally his teammates was deemed ‘excessive’ by the umpire. This was followed by a drag flick into the top corner from the home side. Two all. No lead is safe. The excellent defensive work undertaken by the centre back pairing of the experienced Mark Dalby and his apprentice Rory Cook had been undone. With just seconds left on the clock, Town continued to look dangerous going forward and might have equalised had young stallion Nathan Byrne’s top-corner bound strike not been denied by the Melton keeper.

The visitors came away with a well-earned point to lift them off the foot of the table, and lots of positives can be taken from a match that Town probably deserved to win.  Man of the match went to Tom Smith for a fine performance in goal.

Categories: Match Reports