Firsts edge closer to title, Seconds and Thirds draw.

A drama packed match of three goals and three sendings off saw Mellor Firsts edge closer to the Premiership title with a 2-1 away win to complete the double over Moston Brook. On the artificial pitch, Mellor got off to a flying start in the first minute when Mark Oldham released Mike Sharpe whose wicked cross was turned into his own net by a home defender. Mellor then dominated for 20 minutes before Moston Brook rallied and began to exert pressure on the Mellor goal. Despite that Man of the Match Kev Murray spurned two half chances to increase the lead. Then on 35 minutes Chris Coram's far post chip was headed just wide by Paul Swann. Mellor's usually solid defence began to look uncertain and Moston Brook looked the likelier side. On 43 minutes Moston took advantage when two defenders sold themselves in tackles to work a shooting position and equalise. Just before the break came the flashpoint which was to change the game. Paul Swann, who had earlier been booked for an innocuous looking challenge, mistimed a tackle in the centre circle and received a second yellow. But before he could leave the pitch the home side's centre forward lurched forward and the referee deemed he had butted Swann in the back. He got a straight red. The dismissals seemed to effect Moston Brook more than Mellor. Arguably the home side's most potent threat was back in the dressing room and Mellor enjoyed the extra space that 10-a-side created. Four minutes into the second half Craig Fairfield got his head onto a right wing free kick and guided the ball into the net. The goal inspired Mellor and deflated Moston Brook whose challenge began to recede. Kev Murray wriggled past two tackles to create a shooting position from a tight angle only for the keeper to parry. Then Mike Sharpe was released for a two-on-one and squared the ball perfectly for what should have been the game's killer goal but Kev Murray's well struck shot hit the keeper in the face and bounced clear. Matt Jamieson replaced Terry Boon and brought fresh legs and a new combative approach to the left flank. But with 15 minutes left the scoreline was still precarious and Mellor had to thank Gav Thornley for an excellent plunge to his right to turn away a fierce low drive from 25 yards. Sharpe then forced an equally good save from the home keeper with a vicious left footer. Jack Parr replaced Alex Young and Dave Moss came on for a limping Chris Coram. Sharpe might have eased the anguish on 85 minutes had he drilled the ball rather than try a chip which cleared the bar. Then, in the dying minutes, Sharpe was floored by a heavy tackle and lay injured but the referee decided to wave play on. Mellor immediately lost the ball and were put under pressure. In the exchange of views that followed Mellor's manager Pete Jamieson was sent from the pitch. Moston tried to get the ball forward but Mellor's defence now looked assured and saw off the injury time threat. Mellor Seconds dropped two points in a 2-2 home draw against Stoconians. A goalless first half then saw Scott Cassidy put Mellor in the lead only for Stocs to equalise. Ryan Yates made it 2-1 but Stocs refused the cave in and scored again. Chris Porter was Mellor's Man of the Match. The Thirds earned a creditable 2-2 draw away against Spurley Hey. Steve Jackson did the dame with two fine goals. For the first he lobbed the keeper after a long through ball. His second was a drive from the edge of the area. Mellor were 2-1 up at the break but the home side equalised with 15 minutes left. Rick Monton was Mellor's star man. the Fourths had no game.


Craig Fairfield (red hair, centre) about to glance in a header for the winner

Man of the Match Kev Murray almost scored a third but the keeper saved with his face

Mike Sharpe foiled by the keeper as Terry Boon waits

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PIC 1 Kev Murray...Man of the Match for the Firsts
PIC 2 Chris Porter.....Man of the Match for the Seconds

PIC 3 Scott Cassidy....on target for the Seconds

PIC 4 Rick Monton....Man of the Match for the Thirds