Melton Town FC
Melton Sports Village
Ground Number: 777
Friday 6th July 2018
Melton Town 2-1 Grantham Town
MELTON TOWN - A BRIEF HISTORY
Though there have been a number of clubs representing the town of Melton Mowbray, this incarnation was formed as recently as 2004 and were initially known as Melton Mowbray. Starting out in the Leicester & District League Division 2 (step 10 in the non-league pyramid), they were champions in 2007, earning promotion to Division 1. Their first season produced a credible 5th place finish but despite a disappointing 11th placing in 2008/09, they moved up to the Leicester Senior Division 1. After three seasons spent in mid-table, 2012/13 saw the club finish as runners-up to Allexton & New Parks, earning promotion to the Premier Division in the process..The momentum continued for both sides as they were the top two the following season too. Another runners-up spot, this time to Sileby Town followed in 2015 before the following season saw a 3rd place finish. With the required improvments now in place, they moved back home to the Melton Sports Village after a number of years playing in nearby Ashfordby. Promotion to the United Counties League followed as well as a name change to Melton Town and 2016/17 saw an excellent 9th placed debut season. Last season saw a slight drop to 16th, but still well clear of any potential relegation spots.
Melton Town are yet to make their FA Cup bow, but they did make their FA Vase debut last season. A 3-2 victory at South Normanton was followed up by a disappointing 4-1 home reverse to FC Bolsover in the 2nd Qualifying Round. In terms of local cups, information is scarce, but they were runners-up to Desford in the 2008 Leicester & District League Cup Final. The town of Melton Mowbray is famous for its pork pies and has a population of just over 27,000. Famous people to come from or live in the town include footballer Jamie Vardy, cricketer Stuart Broad and actor Mark Wingett who played Jim Carver in 'The Bill' for 21 years and 780 episodes.
Due to England's brilliant progress in the World Cup, I wasn't envisaging going to a game for a while. With the Three Lions games being on Tuesday and Saturday, my usual hopping days, I'd decided to stay in and save money. Not that it bothered me, the whole nation seemed to be behind the team and the players doing really well. It made a nice change from the team playing badly and the media doing their best to disrupt team harmony and turn the nation against the team. Just before the World Cup, certain outlets, most notably the Sun ran another story in their hate campaign against Raheem Sterling over his tattoo. Wonderfully, the nation got right behind the player and condemned the spiteful coverage. We also went into the tournament with realistic expectations and any progress a bonus. The latest win against Colombia had broken two unwanted statistics - firstly our awful record at penalties and also the 9% win record when ITV cover our games compared to a 70% win record when on the BBC. Coincidence maybe, but I am thankful that our next match against Sweden is on the BBC and hope that all future ones are, as the BBC coverage is far better anyway. Happily, a number of teams were playing on Friday night, most notably Melton Town who were playing Grantham Town in their first friendly of the season. Though regular hopping partner Anwar didn't fancy it, Chris, who I'd last seen a game with in October fancied it. The closer the game got, the more I looked forward to it, though I was hoping to get a good night's sleep before, what with me starting work at 5 am.
As it happened, I managed a reasonable night, but not as much as I'd have liked. It was a pretty busy day at work, though I still had over an hour to relax and have lunch before watching some of the Uruguay v France game and leaving at 3.30. Despite allowing an extra half hour to get to Chris, I only just made it on time. My usual cut through at Broughton was closed again although I and scores of other drivers didn't know until we actually got 100 yards down the road. A long queue to turn round and the usual congestion around that area added 25 minutes to the journey. I got to Wavendon at 4.55, thankfully Chris was quick off the mark. Delays are to be expected on a Friday night and thankfully there was only a further 15 minute delay thanks to the M1 and A47. We got to Melton Mowbray at 6.30, putting our order in at a Chinese called Ma's Cottage. While we were waiting for it to be cooked, we popped along to an excellent Micro Pub called the Gas Tap where we both had a small glass of Farmer Jim's Copper Top cider which was excellent. After picking up our meals we made our way back to the ground, getting there at 7.05. My car bonnet made for an impromptu dinner table as there was no other option. It was not the most comfortable, but at least it kept the food warm. I enjoyed my prawn curry and 'Thai style' chips. By 7.20, we were all finished and ready to go in, paying £5 for the priviledge.
It was nice to meet groundhoppers Rob and Adam who I knew from Twitter and through the evening, I had some good company. The game was pretty decent too, Melton Town taking the lead on 16 minutes. It was a low cross from the right that saw Liam Fray finish from around six yards despite the Grantham keeper getting a glove on it. A couple of minutes before half time the visitors had the ball in the net, but it was ruled out for offside. The first half had seen Grantham enjoy a dcent share of posession, but it was the hosts that were creating the chances. Just after the hour mark, there was a glaring miss for the visitors when they blazed over from just a few yards out. It had been a competitive game with plenty of commintemt and Grantham Town equalised on 80 minutes. A cross found Tiago Nassunculo who bundled home from close range. The scorer had played in Grantham's youth setup last season and was one of six youngsters from last season that played in very much a second string side. Melton Town got the winner a couple of minutes later, a penalty was awarded for a infringement in the area and Ashley Palfreyman stepped up to convert the spot kick. There was no further action of note and so I said my goodbyes and headed off with Chris for home. We stopped at Morrisons on the way for a drink, with me dropping Chris off at 11. I decided to take the longer route on the M1 for my journey home. Although it was 20 miles longer, it cut out lots of nasty countryside roads with the unpredictable wildlife jumping out in front of the car. I got back at midnight, but stayed up for a while, having a couple of drinks whilst I typed this blog.
The MELTON SPORTS VILLAGE is a smart and tidy venue, under a mile from what is a pretty decent ground. It'll never win any awards for individuality, the obligatory metal stand holding around 100 fans, with the rest of the ground being open to the elements. It's in very nice surroundings though and a nice place to spend a summers evening. Everyone was friendly and it was a nice place to spend a warm summer's evening. Sadly, there were none of the local delicacy - the pork pie on sale, but the tea bar does the job without being spectacular. I didn't visit the bar, but there are plenty of decent establishments in town, most notably the Gas Tap micropub. Ma's Cottage is a good Chinese also, but there are plenty of other places on offer.