Firsts and Seconds win, Fourths abandoned
Mellor's Firsts put two consecutive defeats behind them with a sparkling display to claim all three points at home against Old Ashtonians, three places above them in the league. It was revenge, too, for a 1-0 reverse on Ashtonians' plastic pitch earlier in the season. The visitors were the better side in the first half, closing Mellor down and creating good chances of their own. But once Mellor had taken the lead after the break the home side's confidence produced some flowing football and the goal tally might have been even higher.
Mellor began with a 4-5-1 formation with Craig Frisby the lone striker. The first moment of danger however came from the visitors when an Ashtonians forward, in yards of space, headed a free kick against the bar after five minutes. Five minutes later left back Mark Oldham's long pass set Danny Leibrick away but under pressure he lifted his shot over. On 15 minutes an Oldham free kick was headed back into the danger area by Jonathan Hunt but Ashtonians' defence was alert and cleared. A minute later Gav Thornley had to come racing out of his goal to fly kick clear as two Ashtonians attackers closed in. A minute later he clawed the ball away from the top corner after a snap shot from 15 yards.
On 21 minutes a Leibrick free kick caused confusion in the visitors' defence but Craig Fairfield could not quite make contact. Nine minutes later neat interplay between Leibrick and Frisby set up Jonathan Hunt but his shot was a foot wide.
Scott Cassidy ventured forward unchallenged and drove a shot just too high then Leibrick's near post cross was met with a powerful header from Frisby but Ashtonians' keeper Rod Bates made an excellent save at the expense of a corner. In the next attack Terry Boon lashed in a cross too hard for Frisby to meet with his head. Fairfield then headed a Dave Moss free kick wide. Just before the break Frisby had the ball in the net but was correctly given offside. There was just time for a penalty appeal as Leibrick was pushed in the box but referee Pete Doyle waved away the claim.
Ashtonians had a great chance to take the lead in the first minute after the interval but their striker shot wide from 15 yards. Four minutes later they worked a clever free kick passing the ball to the side of Mellor's wall only for a forward's shot to be well saved by Thornley.
On 52 minutes a mix up in the Ashtonians defence gave Leibrick a shooting chance but he lifted the ball over from 15 yards.
Frisby then spurned a good headed chance offered by Boon's cross, missing the target.
On 61 minutes Frisby finally broke the deadlock, spinning and driving the ball inside the keeper's right hand post from the edge of the box after a quickly taken free kick.
Three minutes later a brilliant piece of refereeing allowed Boon to run from deep and lob the keeper for 2-0 even though Frisby had earlier been in an offside position but was taking no part in the move. Chris Coram provided the assist.
Mark Oldham's surging run down the left ended with him cutting in and crossing for Boon to score his second and Mellor's third in eight minutes with a tap in at the far post.
Dave Whelan then replaced Scott Cassidy and two minutes later Ashtonians scored with a powerful shot into the top left hand corner of the net. But any thoughts of a late rally were soon snuffed out.
On 84 minutes Carl Brindley replaced Frisby and a minute later Hunt crashed home Mellor's fourth from six yards after a Leibrick free kick, following a foul on Coram. Maciek Sobiegraj than replaced Leibrick for the final few minutes as Mellor ended the game well in control.
Mellor's victory owed everything to belief in their passing game even when Ashtonians were making life difficult for them, especially in the first half. Dave Moss was named Man of the Match. But there were excellent performances all round, notably from Fairfield and Beer at the back, Boon, Hunt and Leibrick in midfield.
Mellor's Seconds took on Newton at Brabyns Park and emerged 4-1 winners. They led 2-1 at the break. Jack Parr, Steve Jackson, Danny Mather and Luke Warburton scored the goals and Martin Jackson was named Man of the Match.
The Thirds had no game. They play Spurley Hey at St Thomas's Recreation Ground, Offerton tomorrow (Monday) in their first round defence of the Whitehead Cup.
The Fourths were in the Hellawell Shield away at Chorltonians but the game was abandoned after around 70 minutes with Mellor 1-0 up after a Chorlts player appeared to srike a Mellor player. The League's disciplinary committee will rule on what happens next tomorrow. If Mellor go through they play again on Wednesday, the same night as the Seconds meet Rochdalians away in the Wray Cup.
Craig Frisby challenges Ashtonians' keeper Rod Bates
Craig Fairfield narrowly fails to connect with a dangerous cross
Jonathan Hunt shoots wide
Craig Frisby (out of picture) opens the scoring
Jonathan Hunt smashes home number four