Steve Jackson at the double as the Seconds lift the Wray Cup
Mellor Seconds brought home the Wray Cup on Wednesday for the first time since season 1991-92 with a thrilling 3-0 win over Chorltonians at Trafford FC. In the league Mellor had lost 0-5 at home to Chorltonians and 2-7 away. The men in green must have thought the final was a formality. But on the night when Inter Milan knocked Barcelona out of the Champions League Mellor had a shock of their own in store. And Chorlts may have forgotten that Mellor had negotiated their way to the final past Moston Brook, Ashtonians, Rochdalians and Bedians without conceding a goal in normal play. Mellor were also on the ground where Dunc Bray's Thirds lifted the Whitehead Cup the year before....against Chorltonians. Scorer: Steve Jackson.
Manager Alex Wharton made a brave decision to leave out the side's joint leading scorer and one of its best players Kevin Murray in favour of speed merchant Steve Jackson up front and the move proved a masterstroke. Jackson scored twice and had a part in the other goal as his pace terrorised Chorlts back four.
The first half was largely a stalemate as both sides probed to find a possible weakness. Keeper Matt Lloyd made a smart save after eight minutes at the feet of a Chorlts forward. On 21 minutes Chorlts hit the bar. But otherwise Lloyd was relatively untroubled. Steve Jackson was the victim of two crude midfield challenges and the Chorlts captain and centre-back was lucky not to see yellow. On 25 minutes Jackson pounced on an error in the Chorlts' back line but he was unable to nudge the ball wide of the advancing keeper who made the save.
On 29 minutes brother Martin Jackson's shot was tipped over for a corner. From the flag kick Craig Fairfield headed goalwards and Matt Peck, on a post, almost forced the ball home. Chorlts conceded a second corner from which Fairfield headed wide.
On 32 minutes Martin Jackson was in on goal but took one too many touches and was crowded out.
Martin Jackson had another chance shortly after the re-start but headed just over from eight yards. Paul Newman then replaced an injured Dave Wilkinson. Newman went to right back and Paul Goodwin moved to centre back.
Minutes later an Adam Barlow free kick was volleyed powerfully by Craig Fairfield but cleared the bar.
Chorlts tough tackling earned them two yellow cards in quick succession from referee John Melia. Then Adam Barlow was carded for a mistimed challenge.
With players tiring and the game opening up the pace of Matt Peck and Steve Jackson became more of a potent weapon. Peck, starved of the ball in the first period, now enjoyed several mazy runs. From one of them on 59 minutes he had an effort cleared off the goalline.
A minute later Peck set up Jack Parr but his threatening drive was just too high.
On 70 minutes Peck worked another good opening on the right and this time Steve Jackson got a shot away from close range which cannoned off a post. With Chorlts defence seemingly frozen in time, Adam Barlow coolly slotted home, triggering wild scenes of celebration.
Four minutes later Peck's through ball sent Steve Jackson clear and he drove home to make it 2-0.
Chorlts forced a couple of corners but Mellor's defence were superbly marshalled and Lloyd was not extended.
On 75 minutes Luke Warburton replaced Martin Jackson on the left flank and three minutes later Mellor were forced to reshuffle their line-up again when Paul Goodwin came off injured. Kevin Murray slotted in as a makeshift centre-back.
On 86 minutes Mellor broke clear again and had a two-on-one situation. Barlow might have played Steve Jackson in on his left but dummied to his right and fired in a powerful shot that drifted wide.
A minute from time another through ball looked like it would be dealt with comfortably by Chorlts centre-back. But Steve Jackson exacted justice for his earlier rough handling by pressurising the defender into an error and the blond striker raced away to side foot the ball past the Chorlts keeper for number three. Jackson celebrated with an incredible back somersault.
Although Steve Jackson rightly gets the headlines, credit Luke Jubb who worked tirelessly to link play.
To win a cup you need big performances from key players and there were many from Mellor, with Fairfield, Parr, Barlow, Chris Porter, Dave Wilkinson, Matt Peck, Luke Jubb and Steve Jackson especially outstanding.
Congratulations to Alex Wharton and his squad.
Steve Jackson receives his winner's medal
Craig Fairfield shows off the Wray Cup
Happy smiling faces from Mellor Seconds
Only champagne for Paul Goodwin
Jack Parr (left) and Matt Peck enjoy the moment