Cup dream alive... just
11.5.2013: Melville United stumbled into the second round of the Chatham Cup with a less than convincing 2-1 win over a hard-running but slightly agricultural Ngongotaha team.
But the win has come at a cost to Melville's northern league campaign, with several injuries - in
cluding the knockout concussion to Tewi Te Pou who was later taken to Waikato Hospital by ambulance - and the late sending-off of leading goalscorer Jordan MacCarter for foul language.
Flashpoint came in the last couple of minutes, with Melville having already come from behind to lead.
Te Pou copped an ugly elbow to head, which totally floored him.
"I saw what you did, you dirty c...," MacCarter yelled at the Ngongotaha defender. While referee Stu Black did not punish the elbow beyond a free kick, he red-carded MacCarter for his outburst. Melville captain Gavin Douglas was then yellow carded for asking what MacCarter had been sent off for.
Te Pou was assisted from the field, but an ambulance was called after he started convulsing.
Ten minutes earlier MacCarter had finally put Melville ahead with a fine individual goal, running down the left flank, cutting in, and slamming the ball homeon the narrowest of angles.
Melville enjoyed about 80 per cent possession in the first half but did little with it. By contrast, Ngongotaha had just one shot on goal, but scored from it, through Dean Williamson in the 35th minute.
Te Pou drew Melville level with a header following a corner in the 55th minute. Seconds earler
Ellis Appleton - playing at left back in a reshuffled backline with Josh Billman injured - had hit the post when faced with heading into an open goal.
It looked like being the story of the day for Melville against dogged, committed opponents.
Melville assistant coach Kit Fagan spoke at the aftermatch.
"The Cup can be a blessing or a devil in disguise," he said. "Promotion is the main thing for us, so while we are happy to still be in the cup, it does bring its difficulties with injuries and suspensions and the like.
"We are struggling along and just winning by the skin of out teeth, but we will take that."
Player of the day for Melville was Scott Hilliar, who impressed in centre midfield, despite playing with a mask protecting a broken cheekbone.
Ngongotaha manager Eamon O'Donaghue said it had been a great game, and his team thought they had it after going ahead.
Melville are away to North Shore United next SUNDAY, 2.45pm. it will be a case of all hands on deck.
Meanwhile the Melville Reserves beat Onehnga Mangere 2-0, the Melville C team lost 0-6 to Claudelands Rovers, and the Melville D team beat Cambridge 2-1.
Super Gav gets Melville home amid the mayhem
4.5.2013: This was a madcap, roller-coaster, incident-packed home 3-2 win over a Metro team which started level on points at kick-off.
It was definitely the most entertaining and exciting effort of the season at Gower Park - and arguably the most stressful - as Melville displayed both a mercurial inventive streak and plenty of brittleness before summoning the character to come from behind to win after coughing up an early lead. It was as exciting as other home matches have been dull.
Evergreen fullback Gavin Douglas - 10 years on from when he led Melville to the Chatham Cup final - scored an early opening goal and then a second-half winner as he showed the way for a Melville team which is continuing to grow and take shape.
It was the first time an all-female trio of officials had controlled a Melville match - possibly even a northern league match - and it slowly spiralled downwards on the discipline front as too many fouls were not picked up and players took matters into their own hands. Indeed, nobody could have complained if Jordan "The Tractor" MacCarter and Tewi Te Pou had been sent off twice each.
However by the final whistle the only casualty was a fractured halfway flag, victim of a frustrated Metro coaching boot, though from the other coaching dugout Steve Williams received a rare reprimand from the assistant referee for being "rude". Perhaps a first also.
It must be said Williams really earned his corn on the bench, and he should have been exhausted as any player by the final whistle. There was a time when Williams said less than Marcel Marceau, but today he issued more instructions than you'd get on a debut skydive, as a handful of players mercilessly teased him throughout with dodgy option-taking.
Douglas put Melville ahead within three minutes with a header from a corner, but Metro bounced back with two quick goals from Kellen Ganiko and Sebastian Egana Vera within the first 15 minutes. Six minutes later MacCarter drew Melville level with a good finish in ploughing a straightened furrow through the middle. It was MacCarter's fifth in a season where he is aiming for 20.
Melville dominated possession in the second half and in the 62nd minute Douglas surged forward from left back to get on the end of a good cross from Scott Hilliar and apply a textbook header. Last season Melville didn't know what a header was - this year they have four goals from them already.
Three minutes into stoppage time Metro looked to have snuck an equaliser in a goalmouth scramble from a free kick, in a rare foray forward. But referee Anna-Marie Keighley ruled keeper Ally Houston had been fouled. From the sideline it lookad at if Houston had simply mishandled and fumbled the ball over the line - but he later agreed he had been impeded.
While Douglas was an obvious man of the match - he looks set to take over from Jason Chewins as the Peter Pan of Melville - good shifts were also put in by Jama Boss and a returning Hilliar (after 4 weeks off), who played on the right flank. Boss is technically excellent, and like Hilliar, full of running and purpose.
It was the first time this season Melville had won when the opposition had scored.
Williams described the game as a "difficult" contest, in which "the lines got quite blurred". Rising young Metro coach Jacob Mathews said he was very disappointed in the result but acknowledged the game had been a thriller.
With most other matches abandoned through torrential rain in Auckland - the only other completed fixture was Takapuna 1 Ngaruawahia 0 - Melville moved into third place on the table.
Melville Reserves had a good 3-0 win, with Tom Wade putting them ahead in the first half. Jake Bayliss and Dan Gardener added further goals in the second spell, with all goalscorers being Knights players from last season.
Melville C beat Cambridge 3-1 and the Knights lost 1-4 to Claudelands Rovers.
Melville have a home Chatham Cup first round tie against Ngongotaha next Saturday, 2pm kick-off.