| Mellor Firsts win a Cup thriller, Seconds
& Thirds win, Fourths lose
Missing six regulars Mellor Firsts travelled to the University Grounds, Wythenshawe for a tricky Rhodes Cup tie against League new boys Trafford United. Mellor's patched up side started the match with only 10 men and were in trouble in the second minute when a neat one-two released a home forward to shoot low past keeper Matt Lloyd. Two minutes later the home side almost doubled its lead, Paul Swann clearing with a last ditch tackle. Mellor equalised a minute later, Dave Moss feeding Luke Jubb who slipped Andy Given through to score with a low drive inside the right hand post. But on seven minutes Mellor went behind again to a farcical goal reminiscent of Arsenal's Fabianski against Porto in February 2010. Matt Lloyd picked up a back pass, triggering a free kick. The Trafford player grabbed the ball out of his hands and passed sideways for a tap in goal. Mellor's protests were in vain. A minute later the situation worsened. Ben Beer didn't deal effectively with a high ball and further indecision led to a Trafford forward nipping in and making it 3-1.
Mellor struggled to find a rhythm. But on 19 minutes Jubb found Terry Boon who shot over from a promising position. A minute later Paul Swann's effort cleared the bar by a foot and a minute afterwards Boon reached the byline and cut the ball back dangerously but Trafford cleared their lines.
It was all Mellor now and on 22 minutes Jubb caused havoc on a long ball and allowed Andy Given a shooting chance but his chip cleared the bar. Debutant Steve Waters drilled a low shot a foot wide. Then on 27 minutes a Dave Moss free kick was headed in powerfully by Paul Swann for 3-2. The half ended with Jubb teeing up Waters whose effort went over the bar.
At the break manager Si Dalby warned Mellor not to charge forward and leave a gap which the home side might exploit. But it was hard for the team not to chase the game and there were chances aplenty. On 49 minutes Moss drilled over from 18 yards. But three minutes later, in a rare break, Trafford fired a warning, missing a half chance. On 59 minutes Boon got round the back but put his cross behind. Six minutes later Moss's shot was deflected for a corner. It was football's equivalent of the Alamo. But on 66 minutes Trafford broke away and substantiated Dalby's warning by making it 4-2.
Mellor continued to press and on 73 minutes Mark Oldham lashed a chance high and wide from the edge of the box. Debutant Steve Parry then replaced Dave Moss, going up front. On 77 minutes a delightful move saw Oldham release Luke Jubb behind Trafford's back line and he coolly chipped the keeper for 4-3.
With 10 minutes left Martin Jackson replaced Andy Given and the Trafford goal was under siege again. A minute later a leaping Ben Beer headed in at the far post from a left wing corner for 4-4. Lewis Smith looked to have won it, measuring his side foot shot from six yards but a defender's body was flung in the way. Boon shot over and then in an amazing last minute finale the Trafford keeper made a miraculous double save and a defender headed a third effort off the line in the same incident to bring extra time.
Mellor again made all the running. Lewis Smith headed over, then Steve Parry headed a Martin Jackson cross wide. On 102 minutes Swann headed a corner over but three minutes into the second period of extra time Lloyd was called upon to go full length to tip over a Trafford shot. The breakthrough came two minutes later. Martin Jackson's shirt was pulled in the area and the referee awarded a penalty which Ben Beer stroked into the bottom right hand corner to give Mellor the lead for the first time in the match.
There was one final scare, Lloyd diving bravely to thwart an on-rushing Trafford forward. But the referee's final whistle brought relief to everyone in blue and misery to the hosts.
The Seconds travelled to Old Trafford to defend the Wray Cup they won last season and began a new campaign with an impressive 4-2 win. Mellor went 1-0 down in 12 minutes but Jo Sane equalised for Mellor with a free kick into the top corner. A Sane dummy then allowed Steve Kyng to feed Danny Leibrick who made it 2-1. Into the second half a Stu Ridgway long kick was headed on by Baguley for Leibrick to set up Man of the Match Sane for his second. The home side pulled one back, then Matt Peck missed a penalty. But Craig Fairfield wrapped up the win with another penalty. There were impressive debuts from Alex Wood, Steve Smith and Steve Kyng.
The Thirds romped into a 5-0 lead on 55 minutes at Wood Lane against Milton. Ian Drew, Sam Parker, Man of the Match Tom Bradley and George Telford (2) did the damage. But that's as good as it got and the visitors pulled one back before the end to make it 5-1.
The Fourths lost 5-4 at home to Chorltonians. Sobiegraj (2), Standen and Kovriegie scored. Jack Needham was Mellor's Man of the Match.
Paul Swann heads over
Trafford United under siege
Luke Jubb chips the keeper for 3-4
Ben Beer strokes home the match winning penalty in extra time