North Notts Hockey Club ride their luck to beat Melton 2-1

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North Notts rode their luck in Saturday’s 2-1 victory against Melton and at last were dealt that little bit of luck that has been missing in previous weeks.

Going into the game following last week’s narrow defeat against Stratford and missing influential midfielder William Butler out through a knee injury it was always going to be hard for the Manor Park outfit.

The early exchanges saw both sides come close, with keepers looking sharp at both ends. Alex Greer in the Notts midfield was starting to penetrate Melton with some fine passing, ably backed up by some stout tacking from Josh Singleton.

Melton however had a simpler game plan, keep the ball away from Allen Butler and rely on the massive throws from the centre back to find the chasing forwards.

Notts first goal came on 11 minutes when a spiralling dribble from Butler into the “D” eventually found Barton one yard out who cooley slotted home.

Notts continued to dominate and forced a penalty corner on 14 minutes, but Allen Butler’s drive was well saved by the Melton keeper.

Another penalty corner on 17 minutes saw Notts go two goals up when the initial drag flick from Greer was broken down.

Notts were quickest to react again through Butler who found a diving Barton on the back post who made it 2-0.

Melton then pushed hard to get back into the game and almost immediately were rewarded on 20 minutes when a penalty corner almost crept in, but somehow Jephson managed to steer the powerful flick wide.

Melton’s reward did however come on 31 minutes, again through their main threat.

Another penalty corner conceded was expertly dispatched with no mistake the ball rocketing into the Notts goal leaving Unwin with no chance.

Notts showed great desire in the second half, but were lucky at times with Melton hitting the post no less than five times.

In one instance the Melton forward beat Unwin on his near post only to see the ball fly across the goal and ricochet off the opposite stanchion.

With time running down Unwin again came to Notts rescue with a stunning reflex save following another goal mouth scramble.

The final minutes were a frantic affair with Melton subjecting Notts to incredible pressure and forcing uncharacteristic errors.

However Notts resilience held out and an important three points were collected with the final whistle blowing.

After the game Notts manager Faulkner said: “We were thrilled with the result today. We set a target in the changing rooms to look deep within ourselves and to atone for the errors of previous weeks.

“I’m happy to say we managed to do that, but its only one win and we now move on to next week’s game which will be extremely difficult at home to Shrewsbury who are pushing hard at the top of the league.”