GORSE HILL 3 MELLOR 2(RHODES CUP)
Gorse Hill became Boot Hill for Mellor's hopes of retaining the Rhodes Cup.
It was a quarter final tie Mellor could and maybe should have won.
But missed chances, defensive lapses and a questionable linesman's decision conspired to ensure their Division One opponents progressed on a rock hard pitch at Turn Moss.
Mellor had the worst possible start when on three minutes a diagonal ball eluded keeper Kev Cooney and a gleeful Gorse Hill forward tapped home for 1-0.
The home side seemed content to threaten on the break and had three quick forwards to exploit any opportunities.
They were also rugged in the tackle and after three Mellor players had been upended in the first 20 minutes referee Pete Tupman finally reached for his yellow card on the fourth foul.
On four minutes a dangerous left wing cross was headed over Mellor's bar.
A glorious 50 yard pass from Ben Beer on eight minutes then found Dave Whelan just inside the Gorse Hill area. He controlled the ball well, cut inside but fired wide.
Mellor began to dominate. On 10 minutes the Gorse Hill keeper fumbled a shot but the ball rolled seven yards forward without a Mellor player being able to capitalise.
Whelan was carrying the main threat and on 11 minutes he created space again on the left only to fire wide for a second time.
In Mellor's next attack there was panic in the home defence, with two defenders colliding as they tried to head a cross clear and conceded a corner.
On 20 minutes Whelan rose to a Chris Coram free kick on the right and headed just over.
A minute later, after a flowing move, Dom Randle side footed against the right hand post from nine yards out.
Mellor then forced a corner which led to the ball coming back to Matt Peck on the edge of the area but he choked his shot and it went wide.
On 26 minutes a surging run down the left by Jack Hilton ended in a cross which deflected to Matt Jamieson in a good position but again he fired wide.
Whelan then sent in another header from a Matt Peck corner which was saved.
But on 31 minutes Mellor finally gained parity from a left wing corner headed in by Man of the Match Whelan.
You felt Mellor would push on to take the lead.
But two muinutes later they fell behind to a bizarre and debatable goal.
Gorse Hill took a short corner with one of their players off the pitch. The ball was worked to just outside the box and a shot fired in.
The out of bounds player then entered the field of play and flicked the ball past Cooney for 2-1.
Referee Tupman, with no help from his linesman, waved away Mellor's protests.
On 41 minutes a left wing cross from a Gorse Hill forward was headed behind for a corner.
Mellor cleared the flag kick.
But on 43 minutes they nearly fell 3-1 down, a home forward being denied by Cooney in a one-on-one situation.
Mellor started the second period purposefully.
But on 50 minutes they fell two goals adrift when Tom Byrne was tempted into a rash tackle on the edge of the area and although he did not appear to make contact the body shape made it look a certain penalty.
Gorse Hill took full advantage.
Two minutes later Peck released Dom Randle in the inside right channel. He drove into the area but where a cross to the unmarked Hilton looked the best option he shot wide.
Cooney then made his second important save, one on one.
On 57 minutes Jamieson shot wide after an assist from Peck.
On 60 minutes after a foul on Peck, Jamieson had a great chance to reduce the arrears but fired his free kick a yard wide.
On 65 minutes a double change saw Adam Barlow on for Jamieson and Mark Oldham replace Dan Byrne.
Hilton and Peck went up top and Mellor again looked a threat.
With 17 minutes to go Ben Beer was fouled in the area and Dave Whelan stroked home the penalty to the keeper's left. 3-2.
Mellor pushed hard and left gaps at the back.
Whelan shot over when presented with a good chance on 86 minutes on the edge of the area.
Two minutes into injury time Cooney made his third key save, again stopping a forward who was clean through.
Matt Cotton had a header saved but Mellor could not find the equaliser.
The Seconds lost 6-1 at Eagle, Danny Hayes netting.
The Thirds lost 2-1 at Wood Lane in the quarter final of the Whitehead Cup to Cheadle Hulme Villa Thirds, James Hanson scored. Mo Roberts was man of the Match.
The Fourths lost 2-1 at Brabyns to AFC Oldham. Kye Davidson was on target. Ant Brown was Mellor's Man of the Match.
There will be no report next week as I am away.
Matt Cotton attacks a corner
Dave Whelan fires wide
Dave Whelan heads over
Dave Whelan equalises with a header
Mellor push for a goal
Matt Cotton's header is saved.