After a barren spell Mellor Thirds overcame a dangerous Whalley Range side to return to winning ways.

On the wet 3G surface, where accurate passing was key, they created numerous chances and should have won by a bigger margin.

The game got off to an explosive start, with Mellor quickly into their stride.

On three minutes Tom Bright's quick turn gave him a shooting opportunity but the Range keeper saved with his legs.

Bright's shot is saved by the keeper's legs


Two minutes later Bright rounded the keeper only to be brought down as he prepared to tap into an open goal.

Bizarrely, referee Mike Gouldin waved away penalty appeals.


Range's keeper palms away a corner


Range's reprieve was short lived.

In the very next attack Rick Axford got his toe onto a pass and the ball flew into the Range net for 1-0.

Range came close on seven minutes when a failed overhead kick saw the ball run to a fellow attacker who drove wide.

But a minute later Range were level with a high quality turn and shot from distance that gave Andy McFall no chance.

Baguley and Jeffs at the back for Mellor began to impose themselves and there was good link up play from Rick Axford and James Hanson feeding both Fred Keyte and Matt McNulty on the flanks.

Bright, against a tall centre half, worked hard all game and often turned lost causes into half chances. He was rightly given the Man of the Match award.

Matt McNulty shoots



On 17 minutes Matt McNulty's shot was deflected to James Hanson whose drive might have been going wide but cannoned off a defender into the net for 2-1.

Two minutes later Mellor seemed to have the result sealed when a flowing move involving Hanson, Matt McNulty and Rick Axford teed up Bright whose low shot made it 3-1.

McFall then had to make a terrific save to deny Range and Mo Roberts' clever footwork tidied up the loose ball.

Bright missed a sharp chance at the far post after a free kick.

Then McFall palmed away a dangerous left wing cross that might easily have sneaked in.

McNulty in again but the keeper saved


On 28 minutes Bright broke clear again and tried to chip the keeper who was alert to the ruse and palmed away for a corner.

From Hanson's flag kick, however, Bright should have added to his tally but missed from two yards.

Mellor were dominating now and on 32 minutes Matt McNulty opted for a chip rather than power in a one-on-one and the keeper again got a flailing hand to the ball, this time relying on his defender to head over for a corner.

On 35 minutes Range were awarded a free kick and took it quickly, lobbing McFall from 25 yards. 3-2.

Just before the interval a quick Mellor counter attack saw the ball fed to Keyte who dummied the last defender brilliantly by switching the ball from his right foot to his left but the resulting shot went over.

There was still time for Matt McNulty to hit the bar from 30 yards.

Range came out for the second period full of intent.

They hit the bar on 47 minutes and a minute later equalised for 3-3.


Mellor on the attack in the second half


James Hanson then fired just over with a long range free kick.

On 65 minutes Nick Broadway and James Adamson replaced Matt McNulty and Fred Keyte.

Adamson went into the back four, releasing Jeffs into midfield.

But after a couple of clever runs Jeffs' day was ended by a crude challenge and he limped off with a swollen ankle to be replaced by James Rayner.

Rayner went to full back.

On 77 minutes Marcus McNulty went on a powerful left wing run, cut inside onto his right foot and squared for James Hanson to drill the ball right footed low inside the left hand post for 4-3.

Jack Kuehl replaced Andy Kuehl at right back on 83 minutes.

Mellor might have added another after a bad kick out by the Range keeper. Bright moved the ball quickly to Rick Axford whose deep cross was just too high and James Hanson, stretching at the back post, could only head over.

The games involving the Firsts and Seconds were both rained off.

The Fourths went to Parrs Wood and lost 1-0 with a below par performance.



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James Hanson....scored the winner for the Thirds
Tom Bright...Thirds' man of the Match

Andy McFall....key saves for the Thirds

Steve Baguley....solid at the back