Last time Steelers under 14s met Mellor there was plenty of action and excitement. This meeting was equally exciting and would have been worthy of a cup final match had semi-finalists Mellor not been knocked out by Cheadle Hulme.
As usual, Sheffield went ahead in the first minute with a Nat Hardy run behind, slotting the shot round the left post. Mellor were soon on level terms with a quick attack that split the Sheffield defence and a shot that came out of the mist to beat goalie Jon Furley. A perilous trip over the Snake Pass in dense fog had not affected Mellor and they were soon two goals clear with another two shots of equal difficulty for Furley. Long Pole Shea Brennan soon got the measure of the speedy Mellor attack and frustrated their moves with his strength and accurate checking. Elliot Ogle took the ball and hooked it past the Mellor keeper, but Mellor were playing with more energy than Sheffield and got another goal before quarter time.
Sheffield midfielders started to regain possession with hard work shown by Matt Howorth and Reece Davies. Ogle was the first to strike in the second quarter with his trademark shot from the left side, and scoring another two similar goals with Mellor only able to respond twice to his Quarter Hat-trick.
Mellor struck first in the second half, but Steelers replied with a Tom Dale ‘disguised pass’ that ended in the Mellor goal behind the bewildered keeper. Mellor fired in one more shot to maintain their two goal lead.
Never write-off Sheffield under 14s when they are only two goals down and there is still a quarter to play. Ogle netted yet again then Brennan shot through the Mellor defence to level the scores for the first time since the first quarter. Long Pole colleagues Ajay Bowry and Robbie Hobson defended with heart and soul to prevent the Mellor advance; receiving concurrent penalties for their efforts. With Sheffield two men down and needing one goal for the win, Silas Burke battled past three Mellor players and shot at the Mellor goal, missing only by an inch. It was a book-end performance by Nat Hardy to put the Steelers ahead again - once the squad was back to full strength. With only two minutes left on the clock Steelers kept possession and a final minute Time-Out called by Sheffield coach Ethan Jeffrey prolonged the tension, bringing this exciting and evenly fought match to a thrilling conclusion.
Scorers, Elliot Ogle 5, Nat Hardy 2, Tom Dale, Shea Brennan
Man of the Match Matt Howorth
Coaches; Ethan Jeffrey, Nicky Furley and Danny Chambers
Referee, Ian Warwick
Caterers, Lorraine Aspin and Assistants