Mellor Thirds looked to have all three points wrapped up at half time, leading 3-0 against Staly Lions

But the men in dayglo lime, who are challenging for top spot in Division B, hit back in the second half to draw 3-3.

On a glue-pot pitch, Mellor were looking to avenge a 4-1 away defeat against Staly two weeks earlier.

They started the brighter and on 10 minutes almost took the lead when a left wing cross from Murray was sliced by a defender but fell kindly to a colleague who cleared.

On 14 minutes a sustained attack saw three consecutive crosses from Rick Axford, twice and Matt McNulty flash across Staly's area.

Nick Broadway then missed an excellent chance, firing wide after a flick-on from Axford.

Steve Whelan's intelligent pass almost put Axford in.

But on 19 minutes Mellor finally found a way through. Superb interpassing on the left between James Rayner and Marcus McNulty put Murray clear in the inside-left channel and he coolly chipped the keeper from a tight angle.

Jamie McGregor then made a good save.

On 26 minutes Murray foraged down the right and crossed.

Matt McNulty challenged for the ball which arced upwards to Rick Axford who scored for 2-0.

McGregor then saved in a one-on-one.

On 30 minutes Mellor went 3-0 up from the penalty spot after Rick Axford was felled.

Murray sent the keeper the wrong way.

A minute later McGregor had to go full length to his left to turn away a goalbound shot.

In the next attack he had to punch clear under pressure but the ball fell to a Staly forward whose fierce drive was kicked off the line by Chris Oyston and ricochetted to safety.

On 35 minutes Steve Baguley misjudged a cross but Staly muffed the chance. The ball broke to the right and when the cross came in again Baguley made amends with a telling clearance.

On 37 minutes Murray chased what looked like a lost cause but reached the ball, rode a lunging tackle but could only fire just wide.

Four minutes later Murray flicked on an Axford free kick. The ball broke to Broadway who fired wide from a narrow angle.

Soon after the re-start Tom Bright replaced an injured Oyston and Marcus McNulty switched to centre back.

It looked a risky positional change but McNulty was to have an excellent game in defence and was a contender for Man of the Match with Murray and McGregor.

On 50 minutes Staly broke through and although Baguley looked favourite to clear the danger the visiting forward was stronger and got his shot away to score for 3-1.

On 59 minutes a long ball up to Bright was cleverly flicked on to Murray who shot wide from 20 yards.

On 62 minutes Axford's free kick was deflected off the wall and looped to the top right hand corner but was saved.

Two minutes later Staly made it 3-2 with a long punt downfield. The bright sun appeared to hinder McGregor who might have come off his line a littlle quicker. The forward made no mistake.

Ian Arnfield replaced Murray on 68 minutes but Staly's tails were up and they sensed an equaliser.

Jimmy Archer replaced Matt McNulty on 72 minutes but two minutes later, after some pin ball in Mellor's area, Staly made it 3-3. Mellor had two or three chances to clear.

Arnfield had a shot blocked for a corner on 75 minutes and a minute later Tom Bright fired over.

Staly almost scored a fourth on 80 minutes with a back post volley on a corner which flew wide.

McGregor also made another excellent full length save.

Jack Kuehl then replaced Whelan.

On 84 minutes Staly missed a sitter.

But a draw was probably a fair result on the balance of play.

The Firsts went to South Manchester, bottom of the table, and had to thank defender Tom Byrne for a late equaliser in a 3-3 draw.

It was only South's eighth point of the season.

Mellor were 1-0 and 2-1 up before falling 3-2 behind. Matt Jamieson scored Mellor's earlier goals and Chris Coram was Man of the Match, with Byrne not far behind.

The Seconds' game was postponed.

The Fourths, trying to respond from an 11-0 thrashing last week, put in a very creditable display under new manager Si Meats against high flying Cheadle Hulme Villa, only to lose 3-2.

Andy Given and Steve Jackson scored for Mellor.

Mellor attack a corner

Kev Murray scores from the spot

Murray rides a last gasp tackle but shoots wide

Mellor attack with Murray and Nick Broadway

Murray flicks on for a colleague








• Click return to latest News page




Kev Murray, two for the 3rds including a penalty
Matt Jamieson, two for the Firsts
Tom Byrne, scored a late equaliser for the Firsts
Steve Jackson, scored his first Mellor goal - for the 4ths - since returning from abroad