HELLawell as Mellor Fourths suffer last minute Cup defeat
A Hellawell Shield Final that had everything saw Mellor Fourths lose 3-4 to Chorltonians, who scored the winner in the last minute of extra time. The venue, Woodley Sports Centre, is not a happy hunting ground for Mellor who have now lost three finals there in less than 10 years. Mellor will feel aggrieved as Sam Healey was off the pitch injured as a result of an unpunished foul as Chorlts, from a Division above, found the net with a late header. Mellor also claimed they should have had an earlier penalty and not an indirect free kick in the area for a high boot that collided with Immy Roberts' head.
But despite the ifs and maybes, the better team on the night won and but for another outstanding Man of the Match performance from Mellor's keeper Jamie McGregor the defeat might have been heavier. That said, Mellor might well have snatched victory themselves had Ian Arnfield made a better connection with a flying header to Matt McNulty's excellent cross with the score at 2-2 two minutes from the end of normal time.
Mellor got off to the worst possible start when Chorlts scored after six minutes. Mellor had two chances to snuff out the danger but the Chorlts number 11 broke free and fired in a cross cum shot which squeezed in at the near post.
A minute later a fine run by Tom Bradley set up Jon Cosgrove whose shot was blocked. Chorlts hit a post from 25 yards on 18 minutes, then Cosgrove's near post header from a corner was saved by the keeper. Chorlts might have gone 2-0 up on 26 minutes after a defensive slip up. But a minute later a 40 yard pass from Paul Telfer sent Bradley racing clear on the right and his clever cut back was finished coolly by Cosgrove for 1-1.
This was Mellor's brightest period of the game and on 34 minutes an Ian Arnfield free kick was turned away for a corner at full stretch by the Chorlts keeper. On 43 minutes Jamie McGregor made the first of a string of fine saves, this one from a long range effort. Just before the break Pat Boyle broke clear and might have squared the ball but elected to shoot and found only the side netting.
On 50 minutes a Matt Wightman cross found Bradley six yards out but his header went wide. Chorlts went ahead with a penalty for an innocuous push which appeared a little harsh and brought no claims for a spot kick from the Chorlts players.
Aaron Greaves then replaced an injured Rick Behan at right back. Chorlts began to dominate and missed two good chances to go further ahead. On 65 minutes and again on 70 minutes McGregor made brilliant saves to deny the men in red and black. The first was a double save, blocking the initial shot and then getting up to parry the follow-up. Tom Bradley then broke clear on the right but his cross was cleared for a corner.
On 75 minutes Sam Healey's speculative shot slipped through the legs of the Chorlts keeper and rolled gently over the line for 2-2. A minute later Mellor found the net again but the effort was ruled offside.
Chorlts then missed another one on one chance on 83 minutes. Matt McNulty replaced Bradley on the right wing and with two minutes left arrowed over a cross which Ian Arnfield headed over.
The match went to extra time and four minutes in Chorlts scored again. Mellor had a chance to equalise from an indirect free kick 12 yards out (when the referee might have given a penalty). Instead of blasting it and hoping for a deflection off the wall Mellor elected to shift it first and Gary Brown shot over.
With four minutes left Mellor's hopes seem to have faded but an Ian Arnfield free kick from the left saw Pat Boyle connect with his head to make it 3-3. Chorlts then had a man sent off for a straight red for kicking out at a Mellor player.
It looked as if the game would go to penalties when Sam Healey headed clear under pressure and was sent crashing to the floor by the Chorlts attacker. The ball went for a throw in and with Healey still prone at the side of the goal Chorlts delivered a cross which was headed home at the far post.
With seconds to go keeper Jamie Mcgregor came up for a Telfer free kick and got a fine header in to send the ball into the danger area in the six yard box but Chorlts scrambled it clear.
Congratulations to all the squad and especially to Adam Axford, assistant manager, who organised the side.
Mellor's Cup Final squad
Cossy scores to make it 1-1
Chorlts keeper makes a fine save
Mellor's Man of the Match Jamie McGregor receives his medal