MELLOR 3 PARRS WOOD CELTIC 3 AET (Mellor win 4-2 on penalties)
Mellor Firsts reached their second Cup semi final in consecutive weeks by beating a spirited Parrs Wood Celtic on penalties in the Rhodes Cup at Newall Green.
Mellor built up a 3-0 lead.
But three goals in 18 minutes saw the Division One underdogs force extra time.
They almost caused a shock as they dominated the first 15 minute extra period.
But Mellor came back into the tie and might have nicked it before progressing via penalties.
The home side were missing regulars Chris Coram, Matt Peck and Dan Byrne.
Manager Si Dalby opted to keep the 5-3-2 formation that brought success seven days ago against Cheadle Town Reserves in the Stockport Senior Cup.
Jack Hilton was moved to left wing back with Jack Kelly and Bruce Clarke carrying the attacking threat up front.
Mellor got off to the perfect start.
In the first minute Jack Hilton crossed from the left and Adam Barlow flashed home a low drive for 1-0.
On five minutes Clarke fed Kelly who shot just wide of the right hand post.
Clarke had the game's third big chance still in the opening minutes but delayed his shot long enough for a defender to make a block tackle.
Jack Hilton raiding down the left again then sent over a teasing cross that just eluded Clarke.
The visitors tested Jamie McGregor with a powerful shot from range but the keeper held on.
Parrs Wood then penetrated Mellor's right flank and Paul Swann had to be alert to hook the ball off the goalline.
Hilton's tenacity won a corner on the left and from Barlow's flag kick Craig Fairfield made it 2-0 with a strong header.
Jack Kelly, trying to block a cross on midfield, then took the ball full in the cojones, leaving him crumpled and wincing on the astroturf.
Someone wisecracked: 'It's a good job Valentine's Day has gone.'
Dave Whelan's clever back heel gave Barlow a shooting chance but a defender booted the ball away for a corner.
Joe Dalby then found Hilton who cut inside only to fire just wide.
Fairfield came up for another Barlow corner but this time his header flew past the post.
Parrs Wood had three midfield and forward players capable of causing Mellor problems, particularly the pacy left winger who possessed a good shot, too.
Mellor couldn't fully reproduce the slick, quick passing game that undid Cheadle Town Reserves the previous week.
Players were taking extra touches and failing to play the obvious pass.
But the side looked comfortable at 2-0 at the break.
Mark Oldham denied the visitors a goal with a great tackle in the six yard box.
On 51 minutes Parrs Wood hit the crossbar with a 22 yard free kick.
Minutes later a Parrs Wood forward breached Mellor's back line and was one-on-one with McGregor but he attempted to chip the giant keeper who simply plucked the ball out of the air.
Jack Parr replaced Clarke on 64 minutes, going to left wing back and releasing Hilton to join Kelly up front.
Kelly then put Mellor 3-0 up with a rasping drive from the edge of the area.
Two minutes later the visitors made it 3-1 with a 25 yarder that flew into the top of the net.
Then Mellor allowed a defender a clear header from a corner but the ball flew over.
On 79 minutes the ball looked to have gone out of play on Mellor's left but Parrs Wood played on and after an interchange of passes a forward was clean through and made no mistake.
Barlow then put in a deep cross that Hilton missed by a whisker at the far post.
On 81 minutes Parrs Wood made it 3-3 with a low shot from 19 yards.
The momentum was now with the men in white and Mellor had to show great resolve to weather the storm.
Hilton broke away and pulled the ball back from the byline only for Paul Swann to fire wide from 20 yards.
Ben Beer's cross then found Hilton, whose header was comfortably saved by the keeper.
Extra time saw Parrs Wood still appearing the stronger of the two sides.
After 11 minutes Dave Moss replaced Kelly, going into midfield and releasing Dave Whelan to play further forward.
Whelan then had a cross-shot saved, when a better option might have been a pass to Hilton.
Mellor found a new impetus and began to push Parrs Wood back.
In the final minute of extra time Whelan hit the foot of a post and the ball came out to Moss whose follow-up shot was turned away by the keeper.
So, a penalty shoot-out.
Parrs Wood went first and scored.
Craig Fairfield stepped up and scored.
Parrs Wood missed, blazing over.
Ben Beer scored 2-1
Parrs Wood missed again, firing high.
Paul Swann scored 3-1
Parrs Wood scored 3-2
Adam Barlow netted the all important fourth penalty for 4-2.
Pictures courtesy of Alan Simmons
Dave Whelan on the ball
Jack Hilton on the attack
Bruce Clarke denied
Jack Kelly scores Mellor's third goal
Jamie McGregor saves
Jack Parr harries an attacker
Ben Beer clears his lines
Dave Whelan shoots
Whelan hits the post in the final minute of extra time
Jack Hilton climbs
Mellor Fourths drew 2-2 at home to Milton (although the game was played on Milton's plastic pitch because Brabyns was waterlogged). Chris Millward and Dunc Bray scored.