Jon Mellish plans to give the match ball from his sensational Carlisle United hat-trick to his two-year-old son Oakley.

The Blues favourite scored the first treble of his career in the remarkable 3-1 victory at Peterborough United.

It was a stunning afternoon for Mellish and, after the game, he told the News & Star he had plans for the match ball which he was proudly holding.

“My son’s only two but he’s loving his football already. I’ve just been watching a video of him celebrating my hat-trick, so I’ll get it signed and it will be something for him to keep growing up,” said the 26-year-old.

News and Star: Jon Mellish with son Oakley, pictured last AprilJon Mellish with son Oakley, pictured last April (Image: Barbara Abbott)

Mellish headed Paul Simpson’s United in front in the first half before netting two volleys in the space of four second-half minutes.

He brought up his hat-trick in the space of 35 minutes and a Harrison Burrows goal was a slim consolation for Posh.

It saw bottom-placed United turn the tables on their promotion-chasing hosts and Mellish was delighted.

Speaking about his third goal, he said: “I’ve hit it and seen it go towards the goal…maybe it was because I was knackered, but I was thinking, ‘Has it definitely gone in?’

“I ran off, looked back – and everyone was celebrating. It’s just a nice feeling.

News and Star: Mellish, third left, is mobbed by team-mates after his third goal at PeterboroughMellish, third left, is mobbed by team-mates after his third goal at Peterborough (Image: Barbara Abbott)

“A hat-trick’s something I’ve never done before but most importantly for the team as well, I think we all enjoyed and deserved it.”

It was only United’s sixth win of the season but one they earned via Mellish’s inspired finishing and some excellent defensive efforts against League One’s top scorers.

Relegation remains highly likely – Carlisle are 13 points from safety with six games to go – but it was a positive afternoon which can boost United for the run-in and also as they look to next season, added Mellish.

“It’s been a very hard season, the jump up has been hard from League Two and it hasn’t gone the best, obviously,” said Mellish.

“We had [the 3-1 win at] Bolton, which was a very good day, but it seems a long time ago.

“Days like this make it worth it, with the fans travelling in their numbers and as a team, we just have to enjoy it and keep going.

“There’s sort of no pressure now. We just need to finish positively, get out of that losing mentality and build for next season.

“We’ve been in a rut of losing and not playing very well, then we put in a good performance against Stevenage but let it slip [in last weekend’s 2-2 draw]. We conceded this time as well, but to see it out was very positive – it shows we’ve learned from last week.”

News and Star: Jon Mellish volleys his third goalJon Mellish volleys his third goal (Image: Richard Parkes)

Mellish inspired United after being handed an attacking midfield role against Darren Ferguson’s high-fliers.

Simpson said he had told the Wearsider to give Posh problems with his “crazy legs” and energetic style.

Mellish said: “That was the message in the meeting before – he singled us out, and said, ‘I can see you making those runs in behind, do your own thing’.

“Sometimes I don’t know what I’m doing – just run about and cause a bit of chaos, and you never know what can happen.

“For all the goals I’ve just taken up a position and taken chances. The first one’s a great cross by Gibbo [Jordan Gibson] and the second one…it’s fallen again nicely, I just ran in and thought I’d hit it early and it might catch the keeper by surprise. Luckily it’s dipped over him and gone in.

“Same with the third one – it’s landed nicely and I just decided to put my foot through it, and I’ve hit it nicely and it’s gone in the corner.”

Mellish, United’s longest-serving player, admits this season’s struggles have hurt but he holds out hope and belief that the Cumbrians can eventually grow again.

“It means a lot, playing for the club,” he said.

“I’ve been here five years now. I’ve moved to the area, I’ve moved my girlfriend over and my son, so it’s part of us now.

“They’re fans, my whole family are fans. It means a lot.

“As much as last year was unbelievable, this year hasn’t gone how we wanted, but we’ve got new owners and it looks very positive.

“We’ve got to take this season for what it is but in the long run it can be a positive thing and we have to go again.”