Mat inspires Mellor Thirds to lift the Whitehead Cup

Mellor Thirds lifted the Whitehead Cup for the second time in three years with an emphatic 3-0 win against Chorltonians at Trafford FC.

It was the third Cup Final win in three years against the team in stripes and all on the same ground without conceding a goal.

And it was also revenge for a number of players who tasted Cup Final defeat at the hands of Chorlts as the Fourths in the Hellawell Shield in 2010 at Woodley Sports.

Mellor had the better of the early exchanges with Dan Byrne feeding long passes down the left wing to Ian Arnfield and Nick Entwistle and Matt McNulty looking lively on the right.

But on eight minutes Chorlts had the ball in the net, only for the goal to be ruled out for pushing.

Three minutes later Mellor went ahead. Sam Healey challenged for a header on the edge of the area and the ball fell to centre-back Mat Molden who lashed it left footed into the net to the keeper's left.

Healey and Sam Parker were tireless in midfield and George Telford harried the Chorlts back line up front.

But Mellor's strength came predominently from its own mean back four who repeatedly snuffed out Chorlts' attacks so efficiently that stand-in keeper Immy Roberts was scarcely tested.

On 21 minutes Arnfield made progress on the left and crossed but only a last ditch tackle denied Telford a tap in.

On 32 minutes Telford and Arnfield combined to set up Entwistle but he shot over.

The second half was only a minute old when Ian Arnfield scored a key second goal.

Mellor advanced down the left where Entwistle curled over a cross which the striker cleverly glanced inside the post with his head from six yards.

On 54 minutes Sam Parker hit the top of the bar with a direct free kick.

A minute later Roberts, deputising for the injured Stu Ridgway, made his one error of the night, spilling a cross-shot but a defender cleared.

On 65 minutes Rick Axford replaced Telford.

Mellor were growing in confidence as Chorlts' discipline began to fray. Three Chorlts players went into the book in quick succession.

On 70 minutes Entwistle crossed again but this time Healey's header lacked direction.

On 77 minutes Adam Axford replaced McNulty on the right flank.

And on 84 minutes Steve Baguley came on for Arnfield.

Roberts, who had commanded his area confidently, then found himself tested for almost the first time, saving well following a corner.

On 87 minutes Parker tricked his way down the left and fed Baguley for a tap in to seal victory.

On 90 minutes Roberts then pulled out an incredible save to deny Chorlts a consolation, blocking a shot from four yards and drawing gasps from the crowd.

It meant that Mellor won the cup conceding only one goal in four matches and notched up an eighth consecutive win in all fixtures.

Mat Molden's 11th minute strike puts Mellor 1-0 up

George Telford denied by a last gasp tackle

Ian Ian Arnfield's glancing header makes it 2-0


Dressing room celebrations


Remember the end of season presentation event is at 4.30pm in the Marple Tavern on May 7th. Please try to attend.


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PIC 1 Mat Molden, a Cup Final goal and Man of the Match

PIC 2 Ian Arnfield, scored the key second goal in the Final
PIC 3 Steve Baguley...came off the bench to score.
PIC 4 Stand-in keeper Immy Roberts....vital saves.