Firsts lose v Whalley Range, all other teams win

The Premiership title is no longer in the Firsts' hands. But if Mellor win their three remaining league games rivals Rochdalians need to win all five of their remaining fixtures to be champions. That is the scenario after a dramatic 2-3 defeat at Wood Lane at the hands of Whalley Range, who avenged a 2-1 win by Mellor at their ground earlier in the season. But if Mellor gain maximum points from the last three games Range cannot catch Mellor. The game was a stalemate until half time but burst into life in the second half. Mellor started with a strong wind at their backs but the hard pitch hampered their passing game. Matt Jamieson was inches too high with a free kick on 20 minutes and 15 minutes later the same player volleyed over, when given a half chance. On 35 minutes Mike Palmer headed over from a Craig Frisby flick on but set pieces seemed the likeliest route to a goal for both sides. The first half ended with both sides cancelling each other out. A minute into the second period the visitors hit the post. Then three minutes later came a calamitous error from Mellor's usually reliable keeper Gav Thornley, misjudging the bounce of a ball and allowing a Range forward behind him to score. It was a major psychological blow in such a tight game. But Mellor never buckled. On 56 minutes Liam Totterdell, always a valuable impact player, replaced Alex Young who had worked very hard for little reward. Immediately he caused the visitors problems. On 70 minutes Barry Dalby's snap shot caught the Range keeper asleep and the ball went a foot wide. On 73 minutes Range hit the bar from a free kick and two minutes later a half-hearted tackle on Mellor's left ended with a Range player sweeping forward to cross for a colleague to slide the ball in from close range for 0-2. Paul Swann then replaced Terry Boon and Mellor pressed for a goal. It came on 78 minutes from a clever Mike Palmer glancing header. But on 82 minutes a ludicrous mix up over a throw in 15 yards from the corner flag in the Range half saw the visitors break quickly and score a third. It looked all up for Mellor but a minute later Liam Totterdell was played in for what looked like a certain goal. He took his time and stroked the ball.... a foot wide from six yards. Then a minute later Matt Jamieson gave Mellor hope when he fired in a rocket from 27 yards for 2-3 and it was game on again. Mellor pushed but Range held firm for what was probably a deserved win on the day. The Seconds went to Torkington Park and came away with all three points after a comfortable win against Hazel Grove which should have been far more emphatic than the 2-1 scoreline. Dave Whelan scored both goals and Dave Moss was Man of the Match for the second game running. The Thirds had a terrific Whitehead Cup win 4-1 away at Old Strets who top Division C and had only lost twice all season before Saturday. Steve Jackson did the damage with a hat trick and Terry Wilson scored the other. The Fourths won 3-0 against Burnage at Brabyns. Pat Boyle scored two and Tom Bradley the other.



Mike Palmer heads over

Palmer collects the ball after he gives Mellor a lifeline with a header

Liam Totterdell rolls the ball agonisingly wide


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PIC 1 Mike Palmer...headed goal
PIC 2 Matt Jamieson...another goal for the Firsts

PIC 3 Dave Whelan....scored twice the Seconds

PIC 4 Steve Jackson...a hat trick for the Thirds

PIC 5 Pat Boyle ....scored twice for the Fourths