Firsts cement position at the top

Mellor Firsts went three points clear with a game in hand at the top of the Premiership, thanks to some clinical finishing and a Man of the Match goalkeeping display from stand-in keeper Matt Lloyd. A 3-1 away win at Bedians coincided with rivals Old Trafford crashing against Rochdalians, who now become a possible threat to Mellor's title hopes. Like so many games this season it was a match of fine margins. As last week Mellor began sluggishly against a tricky wind and Bedians were biting into every tackle. After nine minutes Liam Totterdell was through on goal but the ball would not come down quickly enough and his hurried shot hit the bar. A minute later came possibly the turning point of the match. A Bedians' forward was left with a clear shot on goal from six yards. Mellor's Lloyd made the block but a goal seemed inevitable as the forward struck again. In a scenario reminiscent of Jim Montgomery's wonder double save for Sunderland in the 1973 F A Cup Final, Lloyd spread himself again to deflect the second shot for a corner. On 18 minutes Mark Oldham found Luke Jubb in a good position but the forward's volley was wide. Jubb, soon injured, was replaced on 23 minutes by Alex Young who was to prove a potent threat. But it was a Mark Oldham pass which finally broke the deadlock, allowing Liam Totterdell to stroke the ball home on 36 minutes. Just before the break Lloyd make another terrific save to block a point blank shot after he had failed to hold a long range effort. He was by far the busier keeper in the first period. Against the wind in the second half Bedians' threat began to subside. On 55 minutes Young found Totterdell whose power drive was tipped over by the home keeper. But on 61 minutes Barry Dalby acrobatically swivelled to lash home a bouncing ball for 2-0 and Mellor took a grip of the game. Seven minutes later a Mike Sharpe corner was prodded home by Paul Swann with Ben Beer claiming an assist for getting out of the way. A minute later Jack Parr and Craig Fairfield replaced Terry Boon and Craig Frisby. Bedians rallied and on 80 minutes Swann somehow managed to lash the ball over his own crossbar from six yards with a Bedians' forward waiting to pounce. Soon after the home side scored a consolation goal but Mellor saw the match out fairly comfortably. The Seconds went down 3-2 at home to Hazel Grove, with Kev Murray netting twice. The Thirds, with a bare 11, were soundly beaten 7-1 away at Alkrington Dynamos, with Man of the Match Chris Porter scoring. The Fourths were also away at Bedians against the table toppers of Division D. They got off to a flying start, Danny Roberts curling home a free kick from 20 yards in the first minute. But that's as good as it got. Bedians netted four in reply, including two penalties. Manager Stu Cumpsty was awarded the Man of the Match accolade for a passionate half time team talk that could probably have been heard back at Wood Lane.

Bedians' keeper punches clear under pressure from Dalby

Barry Dalby scores to make it 2-0


Paul Swann (hidden, on ground) tucks away number three

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PIC 1 Matt Lloyd...Man of the Match for the Firsts
PIC 2 Kev Murray, a double for the Seconds

PIC 3 Chris Porter..a goal and Man of the Match for the Thirds

PIC 4 Danny Roberts...a goal in the first minute for the Fourths