JAMES SUNDERLAND put the seal on a 4-2 Division I victory for Meltham Under 12s against Savile Town in the RCD Junior League.
Both sides did their best to produce a high-quality display but a strong, blustery wind did everything it could to spoil an otherwise excellent game.
Ethan Denniss, Alfie Copley, Euan Kinsey and Joe Bullas needed to be alert from the start as Adil Ravat and Mohammed Foolat set a fast, early pace for Savile Town.
But Meltham’s resistance wilted after 10 minutes of constant pressure when a left-wing Foolat cross found Talhah Sacha, who fired home the opening goal from 10 yards.
Going a goal down fired the home side into action and Reece Norbury almost equalised minutes later but his left-foot lob was just too hard and flew over the bar.
Meltham were now beginning to rule the game with Tashan Cockburn and Tom Hinkin setting up a series of half chances for the powerful James Sunderland and, although the Meltham striker fired wide on a couple of occasions, he was on target with a third attempt to level the scores at 1-1.
Savile Town were beginning to struggle against the power and pace of the Meltham attack and Ismail Munshi, Khalid Patel, Abdullah Adam and Tamal Hanif were forced to defend a lot deeper.
Their efforts were undone, however, after 20 minutes when Charlie Horncastle fed a pass to Norbury, who slid the ball past keeper Usaid Patel to give Meltham the lead at 2-1.
Buoyed by their new-found dominance, Meltham continued to pile on the pressure and they soon increased their advantage.
With Patel fully committed to trying to stop a Horncastle pile-driver, the keeper was left helpless when the ball smashed against the angle of the woodwork and fell at the feet of Denniss, who happily placed the ball into an empty net.
The visitors passing and movement was impressive and played a big part in an exciting game but, having rounded keeper Jonathan Woodall, Muhammed Ilyas Kadia was unable to find the target from a tight angle.
But one last attack just on the stroke of half time reaped reward when Adil Ahmed’s left-wing cross found Kadia, who made certain this time from 12 yards to pull it back to 3-2.
Kadil almost found the equaliser within minutes of the re-start, but his long-range effort skimmed the top of the bar, and Meltham had keeper Woodall to thank for maintaining their lead when he pulled off a superb save at the feet of Adil Ahmed.
The misses were, ultimately, to cost Savile Town the game as 15 minutes from the final whistle, a Jack Bennett pass set up Sunderland who fired his second into the roof of the net to restore Meltham’s two-goal margin.
But Meltham were not allowed to rest on their lead as the visitors continued to threaten but, when Kadia was unable to convert another half chance, the home side held out in the closing minutes to seal victory.
Meltham deserved their win but Savile Town will no doubt feel they could have got something out of the game with just a little more luck.