Football: Melford sink Bloods

Despite having several key players missing an improving Melford pulled off a rare but deserved victory against in form Saffron Walden. With a forceful wind at their backs Melford made the early running, and an inswinging corner from Grindrod forced keeper Pledger to push the ball over the crossbar.

Despite having several key players missing an improving Melford pulled off a rare but deserved victory against in form Saffron Walden. With a forceful wind at their backs Melford made the early running, and an inswinging corner from Grindrod forced keeper Pledger to push the ball over the crossbar. At the other end a powerful shot from Strong saw Melford keeper Hounsell produce a diving save. Melford took the lead on 39 minutes when another inswinging corner, this time from Costello, was fumbled by keeper Pledger and eventually after a goalmouth melee, SKEGGS bundled the ball into the net.

A minute later the keeper made amends when he dived full length to push round the post a piledriver from Costello The home team continued to have more of the play and a minute before half-time they went further ahead. This time a corner from Costello was hit hard and low, Brind cleverly flicked the ball into the path of SKEGGS, who volleyed with power into the roof of the net. Despite facing into the strong wind Melford defended well in the second period, with Skeggs and Benterman outstanding in the back line and in midfield Statham and Loft winning most of the loose balls. On 65 minutes Melford could have gone further ahead when Millar with a defence splitting pass played in Costello who was inches wide with his angled shot. Soon after this Melford conceded a goal a corner from Richardson swung into the goalmouth and keeper Hounsell under pressure from the large presence of defender Flack, saw the ball drop from his grasp and go over the goal line,despite Melford protests that the keeper had been pushed, the referee ruled that the goal was legal.

There followed a period of intense pressure for the Melford defence with Grindrod clearing with a header off the goal-line and Hounsell making a fine save from a fierce shot from Anderson. It looked curtains for Melford just before the end when the referee penalised keeper Hounsell for holding the ball too long and a free kick was awarded three yards from the goal line. A combination of Melford knees, heads and bodies kept the ball out and the scoreline intact. The agony continued for Melford when match official Mitchell found nine minutes to add for injury time but a determined defence and some poor finishing saw them to a deserved victory. MELFORD Hounsell, Hyatt, Brind, Loft, Benterman, Skeggs, Costello, Statham, Millar, Welch,(55) Grindrod, subs Manser(55) Alston, Atkin


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