Firsts hit five......Thirds into Whitehead Final in thriller
Mellor Firsts came from 0-2 down in the first 10 minutes at Wood Lane to thump Newton 5-2 and maintain their Premiership title challenge. Mellor leapfrog Whalley Range, who did not play, to top spot in the division. Rochdalians also won so Mellor must hope their North Manchester rivals drop a point in their final four games, while Mellor must win both their remaining two. Manager Pete Jamieson again went 4-4-2 with Barry Dalby earning a Man of the Match accolade in midfield and right back Paul Swann also starring. The visitors scored with their only two shots of the first half. But Mellor clawed their way back. First Swann scored with a looping header after Mike Palmer had flicked on a Mark Oldham free kick. Then Palmer scored in the corner after a Terry Boon assist. A minute later a Newton defender put a Dalby cross through his own goal to give Mellor a 3-2 half time lead. Palmer set up strike partner Liam Totterdell for 4-2 a minute into the second half and Terry Boon rounded off a fine win with a spectacular shot from the half way line. The Seconds are in sixth place in Division A after a 0-0 draw away at Old Stretfordians. Dave Moss missed two good chances to earn the points and Scott Waters was Mellor's Man of the Match. The Thirds were in the Whitehead Cup semi final against Deans Youth, runaway leaders of Division E and defeated only twice all season. Mellor started well and passed the ball crisply. A free kick on the edge of the box hit the Deans wall on four minutes and a minute later a clever pass from Sam Parker saw Dec McManus's volley blocked by a defender. On 12 minutes a brilliant one-touch passing move involving Terry Wilson, Sam Parker and Jerome Rouse cut open Deans' defence but the danger was thwarted. Steve Jackson then set up Sam Parker but his shot lacked power and was saved. Ken Guest saved well from a Deans' forward on 21 minutes and Mellor continued to have the edge. But a miute before the break Guest failed to hang on to a powerful long range shot and a Deans forward followed up to score. Manager Dunc Bray switched Rouse up front and brought McManus back into midfield. But in the second half Mellor's passing game evaporated and the side tended to hit long balls for Rouse and Jackson that were snuffed out. From one of these, however, Rouse wriggled clear and should have scored but his shot was easily saved. Ian Russell replaced Terry Wilson but his midfield foraging still did not produce a telling chance. Then with five minutes to go Dunc Bray brought himself on up front for Sam Parker. Thirty seconds later a Matty Wyatt free kick to the far post was knocked back across the goal and there was Bray a yard out to crash the ball into the roof of the net with his first touch of the game. Three minutes later Guest saved a certain winner with his foot but with just two minutes to go another Wyatt free kick caused consternation in the Deans' defence and a defender headed past his own keeper for 2-1 to Mellor. Deans threatened with a corner and two long throws in the dying seconds. But Mellor hung on to make up for the disappointment of an exit at the same stage of the competition last season. The final will be played at Trafford FC's ground in Flixton on Tuesday night at 7pm.
Sam Parker denied by Deans' keeper
Parker threatens again
Matty Wyatt's free kick is knocked back for Dunc Bray (out of picture) to score
Agony and ecstasy...as a Deans defender heads into his own goal for 2-1.