Jay Faulkner says North Notts will fight to the very end

Will Butler makes a last gap tackle
Will Butler makes a last gap tackle

North Notts Hockey Club boss Jay Faulkner says his side will fight to the very end as they look to avoid relegation.

Notts claimed three vital points after beating Melton 2-1 at Manor Park at the weekend and will be looking to build on the win

With promotions and relegations not yet decided due to national league placing Notts are aware that a potential four teams could be relegated due to league restricting.

After the game Faulkner said: “This really hard fought win today has seen us get our rewards. We were the better side, but Melton ran us close.

“With two games to go now our fate is in our own hands, but we have two really hard games to finish off with. The attitude is great and well keep trying to the end.”

Melton drew first blood on five minutes after Kanalas gave away a penalty corner/ However the injection from the penalty corner was poor and Melton were unable to find clear shot at goal.

North Notts then survived a short corner as the visitors started fast.

On 14 minutes Notts lost defender Matt Kanalas on a yellow card, which seemed a little harsh so early on but also set the standard for cards for the match.

From the resulting short corner chaos ensued and the umpire awarded a penalty stroke for what seemed a legitimate tackle. The Melton flick specialist made no mistake firing the ball hard and low to Unwin’s bottom left.

On 22 minutes it was Melton’s turn to lose a player on a yellow card. Notts now had the impetus and stepped up the tempo and dominated right up to the final minutes of the half.

On 34 minutes Notts did find the goal the needed when great work from Marc Johnson enabled Nathan Smith to flick the ball past the Melton keeper for a well-deserved equaliser.

Notts were confident that they could push on and take all three points from the Melton side who were beginning to look very one dimensional and tired.

However the second half started with a Melton flourish that almost caught out the Notts defence. Another aerial ball found a rushing Melton forward clean through on goal, but his finish only managed to find the side of the goal and proved to be a massive let off for Notts.

Notts then settled and started to press the tired Melton defence and, on 41 minutes, they got their reward from a short corner when William Butler drilled the ball home to put Notts 2-1 in the lead.

With Notts taking the lead it was apparent that Melton were flagging and Notts tried to get the elusive third goal.

A succession of chances just weren’t put to bed and Notts were beginning to wonder if it may cost them dear.

Notts defence looked more confident than in recent weeks and also had the benefit of an in form Paul Unwin who pulled off a stunning save on 50 Minutes to keep the Notts lead.

Melton were again reduced to 10 players on 55 minutes and Notts saw this opportunity to kill the game off but Melton kept pushing.

Chances again fell to Notts with Singleton and Smith both coming close.

As the game moved into the final five minutes Notts made a tactical change moving Ant Clay into the middle of the park to sure up the midfield.

With four minutes remaining Notts looked to have sealed the points when a Allen Butler strike seemed to be heading in the goal only for a deflection to take it on the Melton post.

The drama continued right in the last play of the game when Melton won a penalty corner right on full-time.

With every Melton player crowded around the Notts “D” it was left for Paul Unwin to again pull off another fantastic save to give Notts all three points.