Firsts topple the table toppers, Fourths win, Seconds and Thirds lose
After a lengthy lay off through snow, ice and rain Mellor Firsts pulled off an unlikely 3-1 win against table toppers Rochdalians at Wood Lane, thanks to some lethal finishing.
Mellor really had only three meaningful strikes on goal in 90 minutes. But each ended with the ball in the visitors' net, giving a welcome three point tonic to manager Si Dalby, absent for health and business reasons.
Rochdalians started the livelier and Gav Thornley had to kick away a shot after six minutes. From the resulting throw on Thornley had to save again with his feet. And four minutes later he made yet another excellent save in a one-on-one situation.
After 11 minutes a Mellor attack broke down in midfield and Rochdalians swiftly moved the ball to the left for a cross which was converted from close range for 0-1.
Mellor slowly began to find their rhythm and after 16 minutes Dave Moss fed Jack Hilton who set up Craig Frisby for a chipped effort that lacked height but might otherwise have found the net.
Jono Hunt had to be alert on 17 minutes to break up a promising Rochdalians' attack at the expense of a corner. Paul Swann then tried his luck from distance but the shot didnÕt trouble the visiting keeper.
On 26 minutes an unchallenged short corner by the visitors led to two strikes on goal which were blocked and the ball was scrambled away with difficulty. Gav Thornley then made another superb stop.
Chris Coram started making the midfield tick and both Leibrick on the left and Barlow on the right were looking a threat. On 40 minutes Frisby put Leibrick away but the alert Rochdalians keeper just reached the ball first.
A minute before the break, however, Leibrick darted down the left and crossed for Jack Hilton to volley home joyously from eight yards.
The goal boosted Mellor's confidence and the second half started with an attack which ended with Frisby firing over from BarlowÕs pass.
Beer and Hunt now seemed to have the measure of the Rochdalians' attack and Mellor enjoyed a good share of possession.
Hilton sent Barlow clear on the right but his cross was a little too high and cleared the bar. A minute later the visitors shot wide from a promising position. On 70 minutes Rochdalians hit the bar and a minute later Thornley was called upon to make yet another save, leaping to his right to turn a shot onto the bar and over.
A goal then would have undoubtedly changed the outcome of the match. But amazingly it was Mellor who scored next, on 75 minutes, Dave Moss striking a shot from 25 yards which looked as if it was going over but dipped late and left the keeper groping the air for 2-1.
Carl Brindley then replaced Hilton, whose hamstring was tightening but Mellor continued to dominate. The football at times was a delight to watch with players running cleverly into space off the ball. On 79 minutes Frisby fed Man of the Match Leibrick who ran on to smash the ball high into the visitors' net for 3-1.
Shell-shocked Rochdalians tried to rally but Mellor's defence held firm and the home threatened again but Moss's cross was too near the keeper.
On 83 minutes Ben Beer, who had a terrific game, had to prevent a certain goal by skying the ball up and over from under his own crossbar. Lewis Smith then replaced Frisby as Mellor played out the last six minutes for a memorable win.
The Seconds lost 2-4 at Tintwistle with Dave Whelan (pen) and Thierry Somao scoring. Tintwistle took the lead twice and Mellor twice pegged them back with goals in the 17th and 36th minute. But two second half goals sealed Mellor's fate. Mellor were good going forward but allowed the home side too much space and lost possession too easily. The Thirds lost 2-3 at Droylsden with goals from Lewis Kidd and Steve Baguley. And the Fourths beat Strets 3-1 with a Maciek Sobiegraj hat trick.
PLEASE remember training this week Tuesday 6pm to 7.30pm at Werneth School. Ask for a lift if you need one.
Adam Barlow attacks on the right
Paul Swann shoots from long range
A rare foray forward by Rob White whose shot was wide