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Two Richie Lyons goals restored Melchester Rovers pride and sealed a place in the

UEFA Champions League round of 16 as the Premier League Champions secured top
spot in Group C.

Despite knowing a draw would secure qualification, Johan Seegrun's side left nothing to
chance as they dictated possession from the off. Irrespective of their dominance, Rovers'
initial momentum was almost cut short as former Melboro midfielder Julio Moreno fired
narrowly wide on ten minutes yet that was as good as it got for the home side and Rovers
were soon in front.

When wingback Lucas Cleary won the ball in Zargovnika's half and floated a cross into
Lyons' path, the resulting header was unerring. The Englishman then forced Yanis Lebedev
into action from distance as Rovers sought to extend their lead, something they were unable
to do before the break.

With Rovers pursuit of a second goal continuing straight from the restart, Marco De Loon
was thwarted by Lebedev and the visiting goalkeeper also showed excellent reflexes to keep
out a close-range Tommy Tonks volley.
There was little the Russian international could do 20 minutes into the second period,
though, as Cleary once again fed Lyons, who found the back of the net from close range to
ensure his team will meet one of the group runners up in the round of 16.

Key player: Richie Lyons:


Lyons has enjoyed facing the Russian champions. A menace all game, the 24-year-old
England forward showed that despite being one of the smallest men on the pitch he
possesses a terrific leap as he powered in Lucas Cleary's 13th-minute centre. He later
doubled the dose in his first UEFA Champions League match surely there will be more to
follow.

Johan Seegrun, Melchester Rovers coach:

We played well. In the first half we didn't create the chances our possession demanded, but
in the second period we had the ball and created opportunities. I'm happy for the club
because it's a step forward. Finishing top is always better than coming second, but that
doesn't guarantee you anything as all sides in the last 16 are competitive.

Zargovnika: Lebedev, Semak (Dukanovic 66), Sobrinho, Caduta, Zakharov, Moreno, Van
Blaam, Giorgiano, Kapov (Marcelo 74), Dudolev, A. Kohkhlov (Sedov 74).
Subs Not Used: M. Kohkhlov, Lammerens, Nekrasov.

Booked: Semak, Caduta

Melchester Rovers: Tomillo, Soupillier, Carruthers, Vera, Piedra, Tonks, Spink, Cleary, De
Loon (Marshall 77), Lyons, Belliqueux (Jacobs 68).
Subs Not Used: Daniels, Page, Carpenter, Jordan, Dickson.

Booked: Tonks.

Attendance: 47,329.
Referee: T Mio (Portugal).

***
Melchester Rovers returned to winning ways in the Premier League, with a 3-1 victory
against Tynecaster United at Mel Park, temporarily banished memories of the 4-1
defeat at Melboro.

Richie Lyons put Rovers in front from a fine Andr Belliqueux cross. Excelling in the false
number 9 position, Lyons added his 4th goal since returning from serious injury and then
provided the cross for Marco De Loon's header.

Jos Gomez netted a late consolation from the spot for Tynecaster but Johan Seegrun's
team looked nothing like the side thrashed at the Enriat last weekend.

Tynecaster could reflect on referee Tom Richards' failure to spot Tommy Tonks clipping
Yannick Granon's heels inside the box when the contest was still goalless. But once Lyons
had completed a sensational move to nudge Rovers ahead, there was no way back for the
visitors.
Belliqueux has made a limited impact since his big money move from Rochemonte on
transfer deadline day. But his slide to reach Tonks' cross-field pass - and first-time cross -
provided Lyons with a tap-in that brought Mel Park to its feet.

Belliqueux was a key figure in the second too, nipping in to win possession inside the
Tynecaster half. Billy Spink quickly found Tonks, whose pass provided Lyons with the
opportunity to heap even more misery on the team currently just one place below Rovers in
the Premier League table.

Lyons came close to a hat-trick when he floated a free-kick onto the roof of Kevin Harrup's
goal. Instead, he had to make do with an assist, providing an excellent cross-field ball for De
Loon, who fired home from close range.

It was not a day for Tynecaster's new signing from Holverton Momo Dayo to shine on his first
league start for the club. The powerful Senegal international had just one early run at the
Rovers defence but it was soon snuffed out. And while Gomez at least provided some cheer
near the end, United suffered a defeat that leaves them in sixth four points behind fifth
placed Rovers.
Tynecaster manager Andres Derinca:
"The difference between the two sides was the strikers of Rovers. They were really good
going forward.

"When we over committed they were fast. They didn't have many chances today, our keeper
made only one save and no more.

"We should have more pressure on the ball and get more out of the game.

"Now we have two home games and we will try and win them."

Melchester Rovers: Tomillo, Soupillier, Carruthers, Vera, Small (Piedra 80), Tonks (Page
62), Spink, Cleary, De Loon, Lyons, Belliqueux (Jacobs 65).
Subs Not Used: Daniels, Carpenter, Jordan, Dickson.

Booked: De Loon.

Tynecaster United: Harrup, Akale, Laslandes, Kenton, Tickner (Isaacs 63), Matthews,
Gaskell, De Mol, Granon, Dayo (Gomez 63), Storme (Markovic 82).
Subs Not Used: Ynoa, Matondo, Zouts, Terrier,

Booked: Kenton, Granon.

Attendance: 55,402
Referee: T Richards (W Yorkshire).

***
Danefield goalkeeper Martin Simons suffered another nightmare against 10-man
Melchester Rovers as they secured a vital victory.

Simons allowed Richie Lyons' tame 25-yard shot to slide in after 22 minutes to gift the
volatile striker his sixth goal in just his seventh game of the season. Rovers deserved their
victory, despite having Eddy Soupillier sent off for two bookable offences after 64 minutes.
Marco De Loon hit the bar, while England international Andy Eloi was quiet on his return
from injury.

It gave Rovers a crucial win as they continue to keep up the pressure on three sides above
them, Kelburn, Melboro and todays beaten opponents Danefield.

Danefield were without influential ex-Rovers midfielder Drew Powell, who went off injured at
Redstoke last week and star Brazilian playmaker Paulo Caneira hobbled out of the warm-up.
But Rovers suffered injury setbacks of their own when Andr Belliqueux and James
Carruthers were ruled out, while Jake Cheetham and Danny Luik were still absent with a
hamstring problem and long-term stomach problem respectively.
Danefield dominated the early stages, but were stunned when Rovers were gifted the lead
by United goalkeeper Simons. Lyons cut in from the left and tried his luck from 25 yards,
Simons appeared to have the shot covered but somehow let it slip behind him into the net.

It was the latest calamitous error by Simons, following mistakes that cost his side a point
away at Redstoke and his sending off for deliberate handball against Everpool. And only the
crossbar prevented Rovers doubling their advantage seven minutes later when a
spectacular dipping drive by Tonks hit the woodwork and bounced to safety.

Danefield's momentum had been halted by the goal, but there was a fleeting glimpse of
Roman Solido's aerial ability two minutes before the interval, when he rose to meet Jack
Pound's cross but was off target.

There was a potential turning point after 64 minutes when Soupillier was shown the red card
for a second bookable offence, this time for a reckless challenge on former Melboro man
Pound.

Seegrun immediately made a change, sending on Miguel Piedra for Marco De Loon. And as
the temperature rose, Lyons was booked for taking as kick at Pound after a tackle.

Rovers goalkeeper Nathan Daniels, restored after a controversial social media campaign
criticising Argentina number 1 Santiago Tomillo, made a crucial save in injury time, blocking
Greg Van Bier's shot from the edge of the area after Pound's free-kick.

Danefield United: Simons, Hill, Pasijan, Kallaste, Pound, Eloy (Saqui 82), Lockyer, Van
Bier, Homme (Lima 90), Otieno (Newton 82), Solido.
Subs Not Used: Kovotojas, Ruben, Mensch, Gabric.

Booked: Kallaste, Newton

Melchester Rovers: Daniels, Page, Soupillier, Vera, Small, Tonks, Spink, Cleary, De Loon
(Piedra 65), Lyons, Jacobs.
Subs Not Used: McDermott, Carpenter, Jordan, Canning, Marshall, Dickson.

Booked: Lyons, Soupillier, Tonks, Cleary.


Sent-off: Soupillier

Attendance: 44,160.
Referee: J Spence (Surrey).

***
Melchester Rovers continued their revival with a fourth successive win that
strengthens their place in the Premier League top four and brings Christmas Cheer to
the Mel Park faithful.

The home side led when Richie Lyons volleyed in Lucas Cleary's left-wing cross at the far
post. Oldfield equalised through Jimmy Summers low shot, but they slipped to a third
straight loss when Cleary's free-kick from the right sneaked in.

Oldfield's Malick Diop was twice denied an injury-time equaliser. The 26-year-old Oldfield
forward, who had an undistinguished spell at Mel Park earlier in his career, saw Rovers
keeper Nathan Daniels claw out his header before wingback Ryan Small cleared another
effort off the line seconds later.
Diop was left mystified by his failure to earn a point for the visitors, shaking his head in
disbelief as he slowly trudged off the pitch at the final whistle.

A draw would have been harsh on Rovers, who controlled the game throughout but had to
rely on a piece of fortune for the winner. Cleary's set-piece evaded every player waiting in
the penalty area before finding the net, although team-mate Matias Vera claimed he got the
final touch with his head.

Rovers boss Johan Seegrun will not be too bothered who scored. The Dutchman's team
continue to build momentum, despite failing to turn almost 65% of possession into more
goals.

Skipper Jake Cheetham and Danny Luik were both still missing from United's squad with
long-term injuries, but Andr Belliqueux and James Carruthers were fit enough to start after
missing out at Danefield. And for long periods, the home side missed Cheethams attacking
guile.

Oldfield rarely looked like ending a dismal run of Mel Park defeats, though, until Diop and
substitute Hans Adler went close in the final moments.

Mel Park had lost some of its famed 'fear factor' before the appointment of Seegrun. That
aura of invincibility appears to have returned under the Dutchman, whose team have lost just
three times at home since his arrival.

Oldfield boss Paul Rawson indicated his side would not be afraid to "have a go" at Rovers,
but they rarely looked like carving open a makeshift home defence until stoppage time.

Rovers controlled the tempo and deservedly led when Cleary was allowed too much time
and space to pick out Lyons, who outjumped Pieter Engelaar to powerfully nod in.

Rawson was furious with the space that his side allowed Cleary, but his demeanour changed
when Summers calmly guided a 20-yard shot past Daniels with Oldfield's first attempt on
goal. But then Cleary's intervention moved Rovers within two points of second-placed
Kelburn, who travel to Blackport on Wednesday, while 13th-placed Oldfield remain four
points above the relegation zone.

Melchester Rovers manager Johan Seegrun:

"It was not our best performance. We were not aggressive enough in the first half, we didn't
keep our position on the pitch. I was not pleased at half-time - and I told them. The second
half was better, we created more chances but we need to score more goals. I'm happy with
the result. Tomorrow we have a Christmas party and it's important we enjoy that."

Oldfield manager Paul Rawson:

"On the balance of play, we were very much in the game, especially in the first half. It was a
really good performance and we picked ourselves up from the disappointment of conceding
early on. We are disappointed with the award of the second goal. We clearly think it is
offside. It doesn't matter if he touches it, he is clearly offside and interfering with play. He
was ahead of the ball in an offside position. The referee and assistant should have cancelled
that out. We didn't allow that to affect us but the episodes at the end, it was unbelievable,
demonstrating the sort of luck we are having at the moment."

Melchester Rovers: Daniels, Piedra, Carruthers, Vera, Small, Tonks (Jordan 90), Spink,
Cleary (Page 86), De Loon, Lyons, Belliqueux (Marshall 78).
Subs Not Used: Tomillo, Carpenter, Jacobs, Dickson.

Booked: Piedra, Cleary.

Oldfield: Lee, Gray, Young, Beto, Engelaar, Rowlett (Sawwab 66), Ibara, Summers,
Springer (Aknoulla 75), Bent (Baly 84), Diop.
Subs Not Used: Heaney, Campbell, Shtepize, Katic

Booked: Gray, Engelaar, Young, Ibara.

Attendance: 55,200
Referee: H Abbott (Suffolk).

***

Richie Lyons was sent off for Melchester Rovers as his side clung on to resolutely
beat Gatesfield and move to second place in the Premier League.

The home side were cruising after Lyons swept in a Ryan Small cross and Marco De Loon
rifled in a low shot. But Andy Carter nodded in for the Goons before Lyons was sent off for a
reckless tackle on Mitchell Angelo.

Andy Amoah shot wide and David Patrie had an effort ruled out for offside as the home side
held on.

The relief was palpable around Mel Park at the final whistle, while there was also anger at
referee Hugh Abbott for his decision to dismiss Lyons just before the hour mark. However,
the England striker kicked out at Angelo as Gatesfield threatened to launch a counter-attack
and is now set to miss games against Redstoke, Brentfield (in the FA Cup) and Castlemere.
Gatesfield will be left to rue being on the wrong end of a close offside call when Patrie's last-
gasp prod was disallowed but they have now lost eleven games this season and are
stranded in the relegation zone.

Melchester Rovers boss Johan Seegrun had been looking for a response from his side
following news of Kelburns surprise defeat to Castlemere in the midday kick-off.

Injuries in defence saw the Dutchman recall Eddy Soupillier in central defence, while Danny
Luik made a welcome return as the defensive midfielder. But, for all of the home side's
struggles at the back, they still had a vast array of attacking artillery and it did not take long
for that to fire. Small raced down the right flank and delivered a cross which Lyons converted
with a first-time glanced shot to the far post.

Seegrun has questioned his striker's commitment earlier in the season but Lyons' finish was
clinical and took his tally to 8 in 7 games since his return to the first-team.

The home side almost ruined their eye-catching forward play when a poor back pass from
midfield released Amoah on the home goal only for the Ghanaian to blaze his effort over.

Rovers second came when Lucas Cleary dispossessed Michael Lord before Andr
Belliqueux slid a pass through to De Loon, who angled in a right-foot shot. But, Seegrun's
side still occasionally show their old trait for hitting the self destruct button and they again
made life difficult for themselves.

Referee Hugh Abbott denied the Goons a penalty when Andrew Waterman's hooked cross
appeared to strike the arm of Belliqueux before the visitors pulled a goal back.

Home keeper Nathan Daniels missed punching away a corner and, after Wellington Ross'
header came back off the crossbar, Carter was on hand to nod home for his fourth goal in
five games.

Lyons' red card then gave the visiting side hope but, despite a Carter header into the side-
netting and Patrie's late effort, Seegruns side secured a vital victory.

Melchester Rovers manager Johan Seegrun:

"The win is very important, you can imagine that. We played a very good first half with
attractive football. We conceded again a goal from a set play. But OK, I am very happy that
we hold the result until the end because it is very difficult to play against a team who not only
have one more player but who also play a lot of high balls. I am very pleased with the
attitude of my players."

On Lyons red card:

"It was a break out of a set play of ours and he makes a professional foul, I think you can call
it like that. I don't think Richie wanted to do it that way but he did it and you can give a red
card."
Melchester Rovers: Daniels, Soupillier, Carruthers, Vera, Small, Tonks, Luik, Cleary (Piedra
74), De Loon (Dickson 90), Lyons, Belliqueux (Jacobs 65).
Subs Not Used: Tomillo, Carpenter, Spink, Jacobs, Dickson.

Booked: Cleary.
Sent-off: Lyons

Gatesfield: Dear, Bryant, Sorensen (Ondo 65), Ross, Okeke, Waterman, Lord (Lavezzi 75),
Kamara, Angelo, Amoah (Ferhat 61), Patrie, Carter.
Subs Not Used: Alberto, Ferguson, Edson, Sanou.

Booked: .Dear, Carter.

Attendance: 55,200
Referee: H Abbott (Suffolk).

***
Redstoke kept their Premier League survival hopes, while Melchester Rovers lost
ground on Melboro and Kelburn at the top.

Nuno Osvaldo headed Redstoke ahead from Willie ODea's free-kick and crossed for Steve
Grayson to volley home.

Robert House and Thomas Dicht were outstanding in a Stokers defence that thwarted
Rovers subdued strikeforce.

The closest they came was when Marco De Loon saw his injury-time shot tipped over by
Redstoke keeper Jim Youngblood.

With their Premier League lives on the line, Redstoke showed plenty of spirit and grew in
confidence as they put Rovers under pressure, but without creating a clear-cut chance.

Rovers drew the sting from Redstoke's early surge with some accurate possession football
in midfield. But although Danny Luik kept his side ticking along like a metronome, they also
failed to carve many openings.

Rovers cause was not helped when Andr Belliqueux, replacing the suspended Richie
Lyons at centre forward lasted just 17 minutes before he limped off with what appeared to be
a calf problem.

It was patently a day for patience for Rovers as they pinged the ball around sweetly in an
attempt to pull Redstoke out of shape. They failed, though, to offer much support to
Belliqueuxs replacement, the isolated Kelvin Dickson who was well policed by House and
Dicht.

Having seen his forward line decimated, Johan Seegrun was prompted into action, and
decided to ditch the Total Football approach in favour of long-balls aimed at the giant
Dickson. But Dickson's first contribution was a costly one for his team. Not only was he
booked for a foul on Mike Jansson he then saw the punishment doubled as Osvaldo climbed
highest to ODea's well-flighted free-kick to plant a header past Nathan Daniels.

Dickson's afternoon took another down-turn when he was muscled out of possession by the
much smaller Jimmy Wilson and Redstoke broke with devastating effect as Osvaldo
delivered an inviting cross for the unmarked Grayson to volley home from eight yards.

Reduced to having Dickson, De Loon and Harry Jacobs in their firing line there was a lack of
conviction about Rovers in the last third. All too often they lacked the killer pass to unlock a
determined and committed Redstoke defence in which House and Dicht were outstanding.

Redstoke boss Kenny McGregor:

"It's another win. I said at the start we were going out there to win the game, as we have
done all season. I had a bit of a gripe in the local press this week about putting their foot in
and getting closer to people and credit to the players they did. I am pleased that we won
convincingly and in style, which is great."

Redstoke: Youngblood, Galao, House, Dicht, Jansson, Segl, Wilson (Joe Patrick 45), Jimmy
Patrick, Grayson (Brough 86), ODea, Osvaldo (Cameron 84)
Subs Not Used: McCrane, Griffin, Beda, Bentley.

Booked: ODea, Joe Patrick

Melchester Rovers: Daniels, Soupillier, Carruthers, Vera, Small, Tonks (Marshall 63), Luik,
Cleary (Jordan 45), De Loon, Belliqueux (Dickson 17), Jacobs.
Subs Not Used: McDermott, Carpenter, Piedra, Spink.

Booked: Dickson, De Loon.

Attendance: 25,242.
Referee: J Spence (Surrey).

***
Ten-man Brentfield secured a stunning upset with a last-minute winner to beat
Premier League champions Melchester Rovers and send the sell-out ground wild.

The League One side had defender Josh Henman sent off in the 52nd minute for two
bookable offences. However, Silas Emit grabbed the dramatic winning goal when he
collected Greg Lees pass, cut in from the right side, went past a Rovers defender in the box
and finished low past Mark McDermott.

Brentfield, 47 places behind Rovers in the English football system, have reached the fourth
round of the competition for only the third time in 32 seasons.

Brentfield were playing their fifth match of this year's competition having defeated League
Two sides Railton and Aylbury in the last two rounds after replays. However, their chances of
causing another surprise looked to have ended early in the second half when Henman was
dismissed.

He picked up his first booking at the end of the first half when he tried to kick the ball out of
Rovers goalkeeper McDermott's hands before he was sent off following a needless sliding
challenge on Jamie Marshall, who was still in his own half and close to the right touchline.

Nevertheless, Ronnie Vine's side, sixth in the third tier, were the better of the two sides for
the remainder of the match with their manager making attacking changes as they pushed for
the win. And, in a dramatic conclusion, they got the goal and managed to hold on to spark
jubilant scenes of celebration as thousands of fans invaded the pitch.
Rovers boss Johan Seegrun made 10 changes to the team that lost 2-0 at Redstoke last
Sunday, resting key players to prevent any escalation of the injury crisis that has crippled the
club.

But the Dutchman will be furious with a missed opportunity and he criticised his players after
the match, saying that Brentfield played with "more heart" and "more desire" following
Henman's red card.

Rovers had more chances throughout the game as Marshall twice had efforts saved by
Brentfield goalkeeper Jayden Bowman, Joshua Jordan curled an attempt wide and
substitute Marco De Loon shot narrowly off target. However, it was a day to forget for a
Rovers side that won the Premier League on the last day of last season, but are currently
struggling with a lengthy injury list and have suffered an FA Cup embarrassment.

To make things worse for Seegrun, striker Alex Lees, who was making his first appearance
since having his loan spell at Blackport cut short, faces a lengthy absence after dislocating
his shoulder in the second half.

Brentfield manager Ronnie Vine


"This sums up the FA Cup as a whole. It doesn't happen by chance. We are on a great run
and have great spirit. When we went to 10 men it galvanised us. There was more pressure
on Rovers. I made attacking changes to win the game because neither of us wanted a
replay. When we needed that bit of quality Silas Emit provided it. I thought the atmosphere
was electric. The noise was phenomenal. These are special days for us. The fans feed off
the players and players off the fans."
Melchester Rovers manager Johan Seegrun
"I am very disappointed. We played well in the first half, so-so at the beginning of the second
until it went to 10 v 11. After then they played better than us, with more desire and heart and
deserved to win. When we have the opportunity to go to the next round, we have to win. We
have to show desire. I gave a great opportunity to my players. We can learn. When a team
from League One beats the champions we say why and have to react as soon as possible.
We are better than Brentfield, but Brentfield deserved to win."

Brentfield: Bowman, Emit, Webb, Henman, Anthony, OHara (Lee 79), Baker (Amou 75),
Shaunnessy, Fletcher (Julliet 86), Okoronkwo, Fordingham.
Subs Not Used: Reigns, Coop, Care, Jones.

Booked: Henman
Sent-off: Henman

Melchester Rovers: McDermott, Carpenter, Page, Luik (Piedra 45), Canning, Spink, Stein
(East 75), Jordan, Marshall, Dickson, Lees (De Loon 65).
Subs Not Used: Daniels, Carruthers, Vera, Collins.

Booked: McDermott.

Attendance: 18,012.
Referee: J Lee (Merseyside).

***
Jake Cheetham's long-awaited return could not prevent Melchester Rovers sliding to
a defeat at Castlemere that leaves them seven points behind Melboro.

Cheetham made his first appearance since November but former Apollo Romano boss
Roberto Furino outwitted his old European sparring partner Johan Seegrun to inflict Rovers'
third defeat in a row.

Goals either side of half-time from Niare Dissa and Jason Stoneman left Rovers chasing a
game they failed to catch.

Rovers bombarded the Castlemere goal after Marco De Loon pulled one back but were
caught as Graeme Jordan sealed the points.

Cheetham initially eased himself back into action dropping deep into midfield, where he
struggled to have an influence on proceedings.

An open first half saw the action swing from end-to-end, although initially both sides attacks
broke down on the edge of the opponents' penalty area. Castlemere keeper Patrick
Ogunbiye was first forced into serious action on 36 minutes when he plunged to his right to
beat away James Carruthers' thumping shot.

At the other end Dissa broke clear with Melchester Rovers looking for the offside flag and
was denied by Nathan Daniels legs. Dissa had better luck five minutes later as he again
flirted with the offside flag to collect Mal Joyce's pass and clip the ball over his keeper
Daniels for only his second goal of the season.
Any hopes Rovers harboured of a quick riposte after the break were dented three minutes
into the second half by Jason Stoneman. The Republic of Ireland international collected a
headed clearance 25 yards out and all too easily brushed off Carruthers to go on and bury
his shot past Daniels.

Carruthers was found wanting again two minutes later when he allowed Dissa to get goal-
side and latch on to Joyce's long ball, but this time the Malian's attempt to lob Daniels landed
on the roof of the net.

The visitors were denied a penalty when Wales midfielder Dai Jones handled in the penalty
area. And Castlemere had an escape when Dave Tubb swung a wild boot at Ryan Small's
low cross and just avoided slicing the ball into his own net.

It was game on with 30 minutes left when Marco De Loon got in front of Kelley Manor to
meet Lucas Cleary's cross and guide the ball into the net. Rovers laid siege to Castlemere's
goal but were caught by a sucker punch as Bodvar Jonasson nodded a cross into the path of
Jordan to tap the third in four minutes from time.

Castlemere: Ogunbiye, OConnor, Tubb, Manor, Joyce, Jones, Coster, Praia (Ijeh 89),
Stoneman (Jonasson 83), Dissa (Jermyn 74), Jordan.
Subs Not Used: Evans, Michaelsen, Driver, Indos.

Booked: Praia

Melchester Rovers: Daniels, Soupillier, Carruthers (Marshall 83), Vera, Small, Tonks, Luik,
Cleary, De Loon, Cheetham, Jacobs (Belliqueux 72).
Subs Not Used: McDermott, Carpenter, Piedra, Spink, Dickson.

Booked: Luik.

Attendance: 34,001.
Referee: G Butcher (Buckinghamshire).

***
Melchester Rovers won for the first time in 2017 as Jake Cheetham and Richie Lyons
tore apart a poor Walford at Mel Park.

Record signing Andr Belliqueux was particularly impressive and settled any early Rovers
nerves when his free-kick into the box crept into the far corner. Cheetham drilled in soon
after and Lyons sharp finish all but ended the contest before the break. Lyons later steered
in Belliqueux's shot and later blasted a penalty over to miss out on a deserved hat-trick.

Tougher tests than a flimsy Walford side remain, but after a difficult run, Rovers still find
themselves in third, five points behind leaders Melboro.

Rovers last game - a 3-1 defeat by Castlemere - had finished with a very different mood in
the camp and Seegrun's starting line-up showed major changes from that loss.

Belliqueux, Lyons and Bobby Page were included from the start with Matias Vera dropped to
the bench. As well as fit again personnel, Seegrun was allowed to field his favoured double
false-9 formation as Cheetham and Lyons started together for the first time since August..

The changes fuelled a buoyant atmosphere among the home fans and Walford proved the
perfect opposition for a confidence-building win.

Cheetham, interchanging positions with Lyons at will, shot over from 20 yards, before
Belliqueux gave Rovers a goal cushion to go with the majority of possession. The 32m
signing's free-kick floated over its intended targets and, with goalkeeper Alan Brownlie
standing still in expectation of a touch, bounced inside the far post.
The visitors had rarely ventured beyond the halfway line, but if Page had not blocked Declan
McKaffrees shot after home keeper Nathan Daniels rushed out to try and halt a rare attack,
they could have been level. As it was, Walford were out of the game soon after.

A scampering run from the increasingly impressive Belliqueux drew the attention of two
defenders and when Lyons laid the ball into the path of Cheetham, the skipper drilled a low
shot into the bottom corner.

The third arrived soon after as the Walford defence stood off their men, allowing Cheetham
and Harry Jacobs to exchange passes and Lyons the time to pick his spot inside the near
post.

The introduction of Callum York improved Walford after the break, but Jacobs and Lyons
over-elaboration with the goal at their mercy, and the rueful smiles that followed, summed up
the exhibition pace of the second half.

Lyons did not have to wait long for another chance - blasting home after Belliqueux shanked
an ambitious effort into his path.

Lyons denied himself the match ball blazing over after a harsh handball call against Walford
defender Jason Crane.

This full strength Rovers side should provide him with plenty more chances if they continue
in the same vein, while Walford will need to be more determined and ambitious to meet their
aim of qualifying for Europe for the third season running.

Walford manager Nils Smits:

"Rovers have got a big chance of retaining the title. They have got some fantastic forward
players, all fit again. For us it will be a tough but I still think we can achieve top six and go
well in the Cup.

Melchester Rovers: Daniels, Page, Carruthers, Soupillier, Small (Piedra 67), Cheetham,
Luik, Cleary, De Loon (Jacobs 67), Lyons, Belliqueux (Marshall 82).
Subs Not Used: Tomillo, Vera, Tonks, Dickson.

Booked: Lyons.

Walford Rovers: Brownlie, Fathom, Oluwatobi, Crane, Forster, Molto, Parlour (Pike 89),
Kazdysky, Sidibe (York 68), McKaffree, Mackay (Gaye 83).
Subs Not Used: Vounce, Richman, NGuessan, French.

Attendance: 55,431
Referee: K Rochester (Kent).

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NEXT Rovers continue to battle in the Premier League and in Europe

Storky Knight