Cheadle Town 1, Winsford United 3
UNITED put one foot into the NWCFL First Division Cup final on Saturday.
They only need to formalise the result in this weekend's semi-final second leg at home.
It was a superb Blues performance and one achieved without regulars Neil Marsh, Mark Quinn, Mike Langley and Craig Robinson and after Rob Booth was sent off.
The star of the show was their youngest player, promoted reserve midfielder Tim Drohan, who edged their oldest, goalkeeper Barry Crellin, hurriedly recalled in the absence of Langley.
The youngster's first effort was blocked en route, but on 16 minutes Hutchinson repeated his long throw, Rob Hopley moved the ball on and the precocious 16-year-old Drohan headed firmly home.
Crellin had to tip a header by Dean Martin over the bar as Cheadle rallied but Winsford might have gone two in front on the half-hour when Melia met a fine Drohan cross only for the striker's shot to find keeper Troy Whittle instead of the net.
Booth was sent off in the 40th minute when he caught Martin's heel as the forward crossed in front of him and the referee adjudged it a professional foul.
The Blues were stung by what they thought was an unfair dismissal and as the first period was closing skip-per Dave Chambers produced possibly the goal of the season.
Wellstead's free kick into the box was headed across the area by Drohan and Chambers, with his back to the goal and on the right edge of the area, met the ball with an overhead kick that flew into the top left corner of Whittle's goal.
Kieron Durkan's vision led to the third goal when he set Melia away on the left to beat two defenders before having his legs whipped from under him. Penalty expert Melia
stepped up to send Whittle the wrong way with a shot that was carefully placed just inside the left hand post.
Stops by Crellin and Iain Stanton delayed Cheadle's reply, scrambled over the line in the 70th minute by Honnibud.
UNITED: Crellin; Hutchinson, Chambers, Booth, Stanton; Melia (Williams 80), Hughes, Drohan (Topping 75), Wellstead; Arnold (Durkan 45), Hopley.
Att: 47 Star Man: Tim Drohan, exciting performance Next Best: Barry Crellin Team Rating: 4 Match Rating: 4