Firsts and Seconds lose ground

Two mistakes in a match they dominated saw Mellor Firsts dop three key points and lose the top spot in the Premiership. Mellor still have a game in hand on leaders Old Trafford who head the table on goal difference. But it should have been a home banker against Abacus Media, a side Old Trafford beat 7-0 the previous week. Mellor were unusually hesitant at the start. Passes went astray and the visitors sensed they could exploit the situation. That said, Mellor almost scored in the first minute when Mark Oldham's low, whipped free kick took a late deflection in the area but the Abacus keeper held on. The same player denied Oldham again on 23 minutes from a more central free kick position. But two minutes later Craig Fairfield failed to take decisive action in his own area and an Abacus forward prodded home for 1-0. Mellor now finally found their rhythm and the rest of the game was largely a siege of the visitors' goal. Abacus's breakaway threats receded. Paul Swann almost poked home an equaliser in a crowded area on 40 minutes from Mike Sharpe's corner and four minutes later Fairfield headed just over from another corner. Just before the break Barry Dalby's goalbound shot was cleared off the line. The pattern was repeated in the second half but Mellor could not find a breakthrough. Abacus played one man up front and got men behind the ball., Terry Boon replaced Jack Parr and had an immediate influence. But twice his dangerous crosses from the byline were scrambled clear. Paul Newman replaced Swann on 75 minutes and almost his first action was to give away a free kick in a dangerous area. Mellor cleared the cross for a corner. But when this was swung over an unmarked Abacus player volleyed in at the far post. The Abacus keeper then took centre stage saving well from Barry Dalby. But on 77 minutes Craig Frisby made contact on a spinning ball in the area and the referee judged his effort had crossed the line, despite Abacus protests . Gav Thornley then made a terrific save low down to his right in a rare Abacus breakaway as Mellor piled on the pressure, Boon's clever lob hit the bar with the keeper stranded. Then substitute Carl Brindley, on for Fairfield, almost scored with his first touch but his effort was squeezed out for yet another corner. Man of the Match Boon drew another great save from Abacus's keeper and then it was all over. Mellor Seconds went down 3-1 to Division A title rival Rochdalians away, Kev Murray scored when the home side were comfortably 2-0 up. But Rochdalians added a third with three minutes left. Matt Jamieson was Man of the Match for Mellor. The Thirds got a 2-2 draw away at Burnage. Mellor missed several early chances and found themselves 2-0 down at the break. But two goals from Danny Hayes levelled the scores. Haye's second came just before the final whistle and two minutes after Dunc Bray had hit the bar. Man of the Match Sam Parker missed a headed chance right at the death to claim all three points. Steve Gannon had to go to hospital with what looks like a repeat of his cruciate injury. The Fourths went to Old Ashtonians and came away with the points after a 3-1 win. Danny Roberts scored twice, including a penalty and Tom Bright added a third. Aaron Purcell was Mellor's star man with Tom Neil and Terry Wilson bossing the midfield.

Paul Swann (right) misses by inches

Craig Fairfield (centre) heads over


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PIC 1 Terry Boon...Man of the Match for the Firsts
PIC 2 Danny Hayes, a double for the Seconds

PIC 3 Sam Parker...Man of the Match for the Thirds

PIC 4 Aaron Purcell man for the Fourths