Mellor Firsts go level top of the Prem
Missing key players, especially in attack, Mellor Firsts outplayed league leaders Old Strets to go level top on points with Spurley Hey, with a game in hand. In perfect conditions on a dry surface Mellor's calm, passing game was easy on the eye. The question was could makeshift centre forward Craig Frisby provide enough of a threat to the visitors' defence? Frisby answered any doubters with a Man of the Match performance, causing the men in stripes all sorts of problems at set pieces and setting up opportunities with clever flicks from open play. Carl Brindley's selfless running was another key factor in Mellor's success. But there were excellent performances all over the pitch, notably from Scott Cassidy, Ben Beer, Chris Coram, Jonathan Hunt, Dave Moss and Terry Boon. Mellor kicked off into a stiff breeze and looking into the sun. The first moment of danger came from Moss in his own area on 10 minutes when he almost put through his own goal while keeping an attacker at bay. Gav Thornley palmed over. Five minutes later Frisby released Brindley but his shot was saved low down. On 27 minutes Frisby caused consternation in the Strets' area at a throw in and Jonathan Hunt lashed home the loose ball from seven yards for 1-0. On 38 minutes Thornley was called to make an excellent save in a one-on-one situation. Strets began the second period in determined mood. On 50 minutes they had the ball in the net but the scorer had strayed offside after a surging run by a colleague left the Mellor goal gaping. This was the visitors' best period. On the hour Strets were close again with an angled shot that just cleared the far post. Mellor needed a goal badly and it came on 65 minutes when Carl Brindley drove into the Strets' area and had his back leg taken away as he went to pull the trigger. Ben Beer crashed home the penalty low to the keeper's left. On 67 minutes Jamie Berrisford replaced Danny Leibrick who had put in a good shift on the left flank. But two minutes later Strets pierced Mellor's back line and scored. Nerves again began to jangle but on 80 minutes Mark Oldham rampaged out of defence, took a return pass from Berrisford along the left wing and drove in a cross which a Strets' defender sliced into his own goal. Kev Murray replaced Frisby on 85 minutes and Rob White came on for Cassidy a minute later. Strets had no more to offer and Mellor took the points.
Mellor Seconds went to Salford to play Barr Hill Firsts and came away with a 1-0 win. Joe Whelan scored. The Thirds had a disastrous encounter with Whalley Range, with the referee Brian Wilkinson walking off early in the game after suffering abuse from the visitors. Mellor agreed to continue the match and were winning 2-1 at the break with two goals from Andy Given. But Whalley Range eventually ran out 6-2 winners. The details of the game have been reported to the league and referees' secretary Phil Heaps believes the result will not stand. But the league's disciplinary committee will have to rule on this.
The Fourths travelled to Hillcrest Road to play rivals Stoconians and earned a 2-2 draw against Stocs' Thirds. Mellor twice led in the game with goals from Danny Roberts and one own goal. Pat Boyle was Mellor's star man.
Jonathan Hunt smashes home Mellor's first
Ben Beer powers home number two from the spot
Craig Frisby threatens the Strets' goal yet again