Firsts win in thriller, all other teams lose.
If the Brothers Grimm had scripted the fairy tale of Saturday's First Team encounter with green shirted Abacus Media at Wood Lane critics would have labelled it far fetched. Those privileged to be present saw one of the most incredible games in Mellor's 87 year history. With a debutant keeper and trailing 3-1 at half time, Mellor had two players sent off in the second period yet managed to come back from the dead to win 4-3 with a Ben Beer header in the last 20 seconds of the match. The game had everything, some brilliant play, a tremendous show of courage, bizarre incidents, controversy and late, late drama.
After 10 minutes Liam Totterdell raced down the right flank and put in a low cross which an Abacus defender smashed against the underside of his own crossbar from 12 yards out, for a colleague to scrable clear. Four minutes later Mellor fell behind when a right wing cross found an Abacus forward unmarked in the penalty area and new keeper Stephen Everall's attempted punch was fractionally too late to prevent a simple headed goal. Less than a minute later Mellor were 2-0 down. Abacus worked an unlikely shooting position 25 yards out but the effort looped over Everall and into the net. Terry Boon was having a definite impact on Mellor's right, aided by Scott Cassidy. One cross was tipped over for a corner and on 18 minutes another was narrowly missed by Craig Frisby at the far post (see picture). A minute later another neat passing move between Frisby and Boon led to the flank player crossing but Totterdell's ambitious overhead kick sent the ball wide.
Mellor were dominating the play now and on 21 minutes Jonathan Hunt worked an opening only to see his goalbound shot tipped onto a post and away (see picture) by the Abacus keeper. A minute later Frisby set up Totterdell but his shot under pressure went narrowly wide.
On 26 minutes a delicious ball saw Frisby advance into the Abacus area and flick the ball backwards for Scott Cassidy to drill it low into the right hand corner of the net for 1-2. The Abacus keeper scarcely had a moment's peace. But on 37 minutes Mellor unbelievably found themselves 3-1 down. Referee Stewart Smith, in the first of several controversial decisions, awarded a penalty against Ben Beer for holding an opponent at a free kick to the surprise and delight of the visitors. Beer claimed the forward was clamping his arms but his plea fell on deaf ears. The spot kick sent the Mellor keeper the wrong way.
Three minutes later Mellor should have reduced the arrears again. Totterdell was felled by a strong tackle in the Abacus six yard box and the ball broke to Hunt who had only to clip the ball in but his effort hit hisprone Mellor colleague on the head and was cleared.
Totterdell never recovered from the tackle and Carl Brindley replaced him.
Mellor got the second half start they craved when on 48 minutes Man of the Match Boon crossed for Craig Frisby to head in from close range. On 57 minutes Danny Leibrick's dangerous cross was just too high for Frisby and six minutes later a Chris Coram cross saw Jonathan Hunt hit the left hand post of the Abacus goal from three yards out.
Mellor were pushing forward but on 68 minutes, following a quick Abacus throw in near the half way line a ball over the top released an attacker who was clipped by a chasing Mark Oldham and went down. Although the man was 25 yards out and a Mellor defender was almost parallel with the incident the referee adjudged this to be a "last man" foul preventing an obvious goalscoring opportunity and Oldham saw red.
On 71 minutes Jamie Berrisford replaced Leibrick and four minutes later Carl Brindley skipped clear to rifle the ball low inside the keeper's left hand post for 3-3.
There was plenty more drama to come, however.Four minutes later Hunt won a strong tackle near the centre circle but referee Smith wasn't happy with the lunge and gave him a second yellow, followed by a red.
Play swung from end to end with nine man Mellor showing great maturity in keeping possession and spreading the play. In the third minute of added time Mellor won a corner on the left and Berrisford's precision cross was gleefully headed in by Ben Beer to make it 4-3 and complete a quite incredible comeback.
Jonathan Hunt's shot is tipped onto a post by the Abacus keeper
Craig Frisby just cannot connect at the far post with a dangerous cross
The Seconds travelled to Chorltonians and were beaten 7-2. Man of the Match Ryan Yates scored two and also missed a penalty. The Thirds lost 1-2 at Brabyns to Cheadle Hulme Villa. Mark Hill scored. The Fourths lost 0-4 away at the University Grounds against Govan's Seconds. Keeper Jamie McGregor was Man of the Match.
The club is trying to raise funds via a trip to Belle Vue dogs on Thursday March 4th. Tickets are £3 from me, £2 cheaper than normal. Text me on 07774 721287.