Opening League Fixtures:
Mellor Firsts have made a poor start to the season, losing their opening two fixtures. The Seconds' first game was called off because of waterlogging. But the Thirds stormed to an impressive opening day win, overcoming Abacus Media Seconds 5-3 at Brabyns.
The Firsts' new campaign began at Wood Lane on Wednesday September 2nd against newly promoted Spurley Hey. It was a drab match on a sodden pitch. Both teams had trouble controlling the skidding ball. With Adie Campbell delayed in traffic Mellor fielded Liam Totterdell and Chris Porter up front. But neither was able to make a real impact on the visitors' defence. After 10 minutes Dave Moss lost the ball in midfield and only a brilliant block tackle by Rob White prevented an opening goal for Spurley. Mellor's first chance came on 18 minutes, Totterdell firing over from a good position. The striker had a better opening two minutes later, heading wide from Moss's accurate cross. In first half injury time Spurley Hey hit the bar and Alex Barber gratefully fell on the loose ball.
Adie Campbell replaced Porter shortly after the break and might have scored with his first kick. Boon played him in on an angle but his shot lacked power. On 65 minutes Jack Parr replaced Moss. Spurley created two good one-on-one chances but fluffed them both, firing wide. It looked like the game would fizzle out for a 0-0 but with five minutes left Craig Frisby's last ditch tackle on the edge of the box caught the man and not the ball. The visitors buried the penalty and took the points.
On Saturday Mellor Firsts lost 1-5 away at Hazel Grove, Luke Jubb providing the only comfort with a well taken goal.
Meanwhile at Brabyns the Thirds recorded an excellent 5-3 win over Abacus Media's Seconds. There were good performances all round especially from Andy Given who scored three, Man of the Match Sam Parker who also scored, Gino Sassanelli in midfield and Joe Kirkman in goal. Kirkman pulled off the first of a number of good saves in the first minute, coming out to block a forward's charge. Given notched his first on six minutes, running clear of the visitors' back line to place the ball high to the keeper's left. Dunc Ellis and Gino Sassanelli's tackling were giving Mellor a lot of possession. An excellent move on 19 minutes invoving Martin Banks and Given put Dunc Bray in but his angled drive was turned over. At the other end Si Meats' threw his body in the way of a goalbound effort. On 26 minutes Kirkman saved the day again when a forward broke through for a one-on-one but this time the ball fell kindly for Abacus and a colleague following up chipped the Mellor keeper for 1-1. Matt Wyatt replaced Phil Brown on 34 minutes at left back. On 43 minutes Given was away again but this time the keeper got a hand to his shot and scrambled to dive on the ball as it trickled towards the line.
Tom Bradley replaced Dunc Ellis at the break and Sam Parker moved into midfield. The switch helped Mellor, providing better width on the flank and some probing passes from midfield. It took Parker only a minute to find a telling ball and Dunc Bray made the most of it, driving low into the net for 2-1. Shortly aftwards Wyatt's flick lost possession, Abacus ploughed forward and Si Meats' desperate lunge conceded a penalty that was easily converted. Martin Banks volleyed wide after good work from Given on the right. Abacus then pulled level and all Mellor's effort looked to have been wasted. But on 65 minutes Gino Sassanelli found Given in the area and his deft chip eluded the keeper for 3-2. Given then scored what looked like a clincher to complete his hat trick. But on 71 minutes Abacus hit back with a header from a corner for 4-3. Parker had a shot brilliantly saved and Dunc Bray saw his effort kicked away on the line. It was left to Parker to wrap up the points with a fifth for Mellor six minutes from time.
Given opens his account at Brabyns
Dunc Bray scores
Given scores his third