Sleaford maintain promotion push with win over Melton

Sleaford Town thrust themselves right into the promotion-chasing pack on Saturday afternoon with a well-earned 2-1 victory over Melton Town at The Longwater Stadium.

​The Leicestershire side had leapfrogged the Greens with a 4-1 victory over Heanor Town in midweek but tasted their own medicine on their travels as a combination of smart attacking play and gritty defensive nous saw the Greens reclaim fourth position in the United Counties League Premier Division North.

The Greens were swiftly out of the blocks and took a second minute lead when Akeel Francis set up Ryan Rushen to slot home beyond Bill Harrison in the Melton goal.

The Greens had the opportunity to double that advantage ten minutes later when Leon Fray handled in the box, but Harrison took his redemption by beating away Jacob Fenton’s spot-kick.

Ryan Rushen (left) fires home the opening goal. Photo: Steve W Davies Photography.
Ryan Rushen (left) fires home the opening goal. Photo: Steve W Davies Photography.
Ryan Rushen (left) fires home the opening goal. Photo: Steve W Davies Photography.

The Greens did double their advantage almost instantaneously though when from the resulting corner, Charlie Ward was on hand at the back post to nod home, and despite Mussa Bham’s well-taken strike on 70 minutes – and plenty of late pressure – the Greens held firm to record a sixth unbeaten game in all competitions.

Player-manager Tom Ward was delighted once again with how his side matched up to one of their closest rivals in the league.

He said: “I thought we were absolutely superb, particularly in that first half. We terrorised them and probably should have been 3-0 up. I’m delighted for them that they are getting all the rewards that they’ve put in so far this season and long may that continue.

“We defended really well and it suited us to have myself, [Joe] Braithwaite and Charlie [Ward] in that backline today to repel them. I thought we dealt with them all really well.”

Ward was also pleased to back up the club being awarded the United Counties League Premier Division North team of the month with another fine victory.

“I think we’ve been unlucky not to win it a couple of times before so it’s nice they’ve given us it. It’s all about three points and those sorts of things come when you are getting three points consistently and that is what we are starting to do now - so we’ll keep working hard and keep trying to get three points and hopefully we’ll keep troubling them for those big awards!”

Sleaford were at Deeping Rangers on Tuesday night (7th) and go to Belper United on Saturday.