MELTHAM’S flying start to the season continued when they visited Drighlington.
Meltham lost twice to Drighlington and finished one place below them in the league last season, but two wins and a draw from their opening three games have given Meltham a new-found confidence as they arrived at Drighlington’s Adwalton Moor ground hoping to retain top spot in the league.
It was clear from the outset that neither of these sides had any other plan than to go for goal.
Drighlington almost opened the scoring in the first minute but Ben Haigh’s shot flew just wide of an upright.The sides looked well-balanced as the game flowed from end to end, but a defensive error allowed Tom Kelly space to fire home the opening goal for Meltham in the fifth minute.
The goal did nothing to change the flow of the game and both keepers were kept busy as shots poured in at both ends.
A Dalton Pearson effort looked destined for the back of the Meltham net but again finished just the wrong side of a post.
At the other end a superb Michael Dolan cross was met by Sam Farnell, but the Meltham midfielder’s header flew just over the bar and moments later a Tom Kelly volley looked goalbound until keeper Sam Hammond pulled off a superb save to keep Drighlington in the game.
Drighlington were still chasing goals and looked to have carved out an equaliser, but a last-ditch Matthew Rowland goalline clearance kept the score unchanged. Despite the home side’s persistence it was Meltham who were getting the luck and keeper Hammond was left wrong-footed as Michael Dolan’s deflected shot rolled into the corner of the net to double the visitors’ advantage.
Midfielder Luke O’Brien continually frustrated the home side as he chased every ball and it was his determination which gave Kelly an opening to drive home Meltham’s third on the half hour.
Drighlington were understandably frustrated at finding themselves three down when they had given as good as they got, but their spirits were lifted just before half time when Callum Harrison, unexpectedly, released a blistering shot from 30 yards which Meltham keeper Phil Swift could only watch as it flew into the top corner.
Pearson’s runs through the middle had been a cause for concern to the Meltham defence throughout the game and when the powerful striker chipped keeper Swift early in the second half for Drighlington’s second goal, it was just reward for his hard work.
The goal inspired Drighlington, who began to pile on the pressure, but their search for an equaliser became their undoing as a breakaway allowed Dolan to restore Meltham’s two-goal advantage.
Inspirational home captain Harrison kept his teammates going until the last minute but it was not to be Drighlington’s day as Meltham made it 10 points from four games to stay top of the division.