Magnificent 7 at Grappenhall
Mellor's new First Team manager Stu Cumpsty could not have wished for a better start to his career as his team hammered Cheshire League opponents Grappenhall 7-0 at their rain-lashed ground on Thursday July 16th.
It was a stunning show from Mellor's 18-man squad. Even though Cumpsty was allowed to rotate his men with roll-on, roll-off substitutions, the passing and movement at times was sublime. Every player was on top of his game. Grappenhall had no answer. The hosts decided to play their second string for the first half and the first team for the second period. However, by the break Mellor were 6-0 up. And although the opponents' shirts changed colour from orange to white, the new formation made little more impact.
Mellor started brightly from the first whistle and soon Dave Moss was running the game in midfield. Grappenhall struggled to cope with Mellor's quick passing game and holes soon appeared in the home side's defence. Jubb and Mike Sharpe linked up well in attack and Terry Boon on the right hardly wasted a ball and even one a few headers. Mellor were winning most of the 50-50 balls and finding their men with a high percentage of passes. Craig Fairfield went close with a header from a corner after five minutes and two minutes later Luke Jubb should have scored when he robbed a dawdling defender but slotted the ball inches wide from 15 yards. Grappenhall's reprieve was short lived. On 14 minutes a Mike Palmer long throw was flicked on and Luke Jubb squeezed the ball home from the tightest of angles. Fairfield almost made it two with another header a minute later from a Moss free kick. But on 16 minutes Chris Porter blasted in from 25 yards, the ball skipping up wickedly on the sodden surface. Mark Oldham's drive on 30 minutes was brilliantly tipped over by the home keeper. But a minute later he spilled a Paul Newman shot from distance and Jubb gleefully pounched on the rebound for his second. Scott Cassidy, enjoying life at right-back, made a surge forward on 39 minutes and his pull back from the goalline was tapped in by Steve Jackson, one of a flurry of substitutions. A minute later the keeper again failed to deal properly with a Mark Oldham free kick and this time Mike Palmer was on hand to punish the error. A Paul Swann header then found the net off a defender for 6-0. And when Grappenhall finally worked a good position Gav Thornley made a brilliant stretching save to his right to deny them a consolation first half goal.
Swann's head featured again on 67 minutes as he guided a Mark Oldham free kick into the net for 7-0. At this stage, against Grappenhall's first string, Mellor's line-up featured Terry Wilson and John Callaghan who played most of last season in the Third Team. Later Carl Brindley and Robin Stroud also shone alongside established First Teamers. Gav Thornley pulled off a second superb save to keep a clean sheet and complete a good night's work.
It was a good idea to visit a new venue and play a team from a higher league. And despite the scoreline Grappenhall officials said they would welcome a similar fixture at the start of next season.