Mellor survived an early scare to progress comfortably to the quarter finals of the Rhodes Cup they won last year.

The game was switched from snow bound Wood Lane to the 3G plastic surface at Partington Sports Village.

Mellor welcomed back Dave Whelan in central midfield after suspension. Matt Peck started on the left flank and Jack Hilton on the right.

Division One Santos seemed to adapt quicker to the artificial surface and knocked the ball around confidently.

Matt Jamieson had an early chance on three minutes but shot wide from 18 yards.

Santos then sent in a 25 fierce yarder which might have troubled Kev Cooney had it not flown two feet wide.

On eight minutes Dave Whelan fed Matt Jamieson in the inside left channel. He reached the byline and cut the ball back but Dom Randle, tightly marked, could only turn it for a goal kick.

On 10 minutes Matt Peck took a short corner to Chris Coram and took a return pass but his cross was too high.

Santos shot over Mellor's bar from 18 yards on 15 minutes.

The away side's danger man was a nippy number 7 who floated behind the forwards and had a powerful shot.

On 16 minutes he found himself clear of Mellor's backline after a long punt downfield and lobbed a stranded Kev Cooney to put Santos 1-0 up.

Mellor's passing was not as crisp and precise as usual and Santos's tackling repeatedly broke up Mellor's rhythm.

Dave Whelan fired wide on 20 minutes and a minute later his free kick was saved.

Cooney then made a terrific save to stop Santos going 2-0 up.

Matt Peck equalises at 1-1


Mellor needed a goal and Matt Peck provided it on 23 minutes, lashing the ball into the top right hand corner of the net from 23 yards.

The strike emboldened Mellor who now looked more threatening.

On 26 minutes Jamieson had a shot beaten away by the Santos keeper.

Nine minutes later Jamieson chased a pass to the left wing and centred. The ball ricocheted off two players and came to Dom Randle who fired home left-footed from close range.

Randle, 2-1.

Mellor thought normal service was restored and the Santos area was by far the busier of the two.

But on 44 minutes the ball skipped up in Mellor's box onto Tom Byrne's arm and the referee awarded a penalty which Santos's number 7 smashed down the middle for 2-2.

Santos make it 2-2


It's always a bad time to concede just before half time and Cooney had to be alert a minute later to tip over another powerful long shot.

But as the first half drifted into added time Chris Coram restored Mellor's advantage with a sweet right foot shot into the area of the net Peck had found earlier to send Santos into the break deflated.

The men in purple were not quite finished.

On 50 minutes they sent in a stinging drive which hit the underside of the bar and bounced down, allowing Cooney to gleefully collect before any further damage was inflicted.

Jamieson makes it 4-2.


Mellor were now on their game and finding players easily.

The movement was good and a tiring Santos now struggled to cope with the pace.

On 52 minutes Peck sent Hilton clear in the inside right channel but he stumbled as he went to pull the trigger.

A minute later the result was settled when Peck fed Jamieson whose exocet from 25 yards flew into the net for 4-2.

A Santos forward headed over from close range after a right wing cross on 53 minutes.

But Mellor were in cruise control, spreading the play and forcing Santos's tired legs to cover more and more ground in a bid to close the gaps.

On 63 minutes Peck was played in down the middle but the ball skipped away and the keeper collected.

Three minutes later Peck had a fierce drive beaten away by Santos's keeper.

Ben Beer and Dave Whelan then combined to feed Hilton but his shot was high.

On 70 minutes Rob White replaced Dan Byrne and Mark Oldham came on for Matt Cotton who felt a back spasm.

Ben Beer went to centre back and Oldham to left back.

Santos, in desperation, threw their dangerman up front, thus nullifying his effectiveness.

Mellor's defenders, notably Ben Beer, were able to close him down quickly and he carried far less of a threat.

On 72 minutes Coram fed Peck who danced past a tackle and drove the ball back across the keeper into the far corner of the net for 5-2.

Jamieson's snap shot was saved on 75 minutes.

Five minutes later Adam Barlow replaced Jamieson.

Cooney made another good save while up the other end Hilton put Peck in. His first shot was blocked and his second cannoned off a defender's back and spiralled over the ball for a corner.

Whelan had a shot well saved low down and Randle forced another excellent save out of Santos's keeper.

The away side mounted the occasional attack but Mellor's defence stayed solid.

Mellor now play Gorse Hill in the quarter-finals.

Peck shoots from range


Peck makes it 5-2.














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Kev Cooney...Firsts' Man of the Match
Matt Jamieson...scored a 25 yarder for the Firsts

Dom Randle...another goal for the Firsts


Matt Peck...two vital goals for the Firsts