Firsts lose in 7-goal thriller, Seconds and Fourths win...but Fourths fail to make semis
Mellor Firsts lost for only the fourth time this season 4-3 away at lowly South Manchester, who were boosted by the scoring return of Hector Samuel.
The win was only South's fourth in 17 matches and it came from a disputed goal when Mellor players claimed the ball has crossed the line for a goal kick.
Mellor trailed 3-1 at one point but recovered to be level at 3-3 before that key strike. Craig Frisby, Paul Swann and Ben Beer scored.
Despite the defeat Mellor are still second in the table. Rochdalians crashed for the second week running, this time 2-0 at Spurley Hey.
Meanwhile chasing Cheadle Hulme Villa were humbled 5-1 at Old Ashtonians, who could go level with Mellor if they win their game in hand but have a vastly inferior goal difference. Govan lost 2-0 away at Whalley Range and now prop up the table.
The Seconds thrashed Division Two bottom club Oldham Victoria Firsts 6-0. The goals came from Chris Porter (8 minutes), Luke Jubb (28 mins), Matt Peck(2 on 21 and 38 minutes), Kev Murray (64 mins) and Craig Fairfield (79 minutes) and keeper Matt Lloyd was Man of the Match.
Mellor 4ths conquered Old Strets 5-2 in the Hellawell Shield league basis but it was not enough to earn them a place in the semis as best runner up.
The game started slowly and Strets were probably the better side in the first half, which ended goalless.
Maciek Sobiegraj shot two feet wide on 8 minutes with a free kick from inside the D. Strets almost scored when otherwise solid keeper Phil Brown dropped a shot and a Strets forward fired wide from six yards on 15 minutes.
Mellor were playing 4-3-3, gambling to score the goals that might propel them into the cup's last four. But the midfield was often overrun and MellorŐs defence had to deal with a lot of pressure.
On 20 minutes George Telford lashed in an excellent shot from 25 yards which clipped the top of the bar and went over.
Sobiegraj wriggled clear on 31 minutes but his shot was blocked by Strets' keeper. Four minutes later Bully Kovriegie reached the byline and crossed but Ian Arnfield's attempt to toe the ball in was off target.
Arnfield put in a powerful header to a near post corner from George Telford but it was wide.
Arnfield then had a chance on 44 minutes, controlling Phil Newton's quick throw and spinning but again his shot was wide.
The second half started with Telford crashing another long range effort against the bar. But on 50 minutes Ian Arnfield held up a long kick downfield and laid in Kovriegie to steer the ball home low into the net for 1-0.
On 52 minutes Arnfield scored a brilliant second, cushioning Kovriegie's throw on his chest and swivelling to smash the ball on the volley right footed into the top left hand corner of the net.
Strets pulled a goal back on 57 minutes and four minutes later Phil Brown pulled off a great save to deny the visitors a second.
On 70 minutes Sean Standen replaced full back Newton, taking up a position in midfield. Mellor looked better balanced now and on 74 minutes Sobiegraj was felled near the centre circle but just got his pass away to Telford who ran on to drive the ball low into the far left hand corner of the net for 3-1.
Sobiegraj missed a sitter from three yards two minutes later after Arnfield had beaten the Strets defence on the byline.
But on 78 minutes a good move involving Aaron Greaves and Arnfield ended with Sobiegraj scoring number four.
Strets pulled another goal back on 79 minutes. But Mellor looked as if they could score at will.
Telford was fouled on the edge of the box but the ref played on and he escaped his marker but shot wide.
A minute later Arnfield latched on to an underhit goal kick and ran on but his shot was saved at the cost of a corner. On 82 minutes after two shots were charged down Greaves found the top corner for 5-2.
A good all round performance by the Fourths but just two or three more goals short of their target.
George Telford just fails to control Telfer's free kick
George Telford hits the bar in the first half
Maciek Sobiegraj sees his shot blocked
Ian Arnfield's shot is blocked
George Telford scores as Maciek lies prone near the centre circle