Re-MARC-able Melville win JOMA trophy

Melville bounced back from their horror 3-2 home loss to Glenfield Rovers (it was so traumatic we couldn’t even write about it) with an encouraging 3-0 away win over Manukau United.

Victory meant Melville have earned their first silverware of the season.

The Unicorns become the inaugural holders of the Joma Trophy, a new award contested annually between the two northern premier league clubs that Joma sponsors. (Melville won 4-3 on aggregate in home and away contests in 2019).

The Hitman, Marc Evans, potted all three goals to take his tally of league and cup goals this season to 15, with 13 of them coming in his last six matches.

Evans has now scored 81 first team goals for Melville, to be rapidly closing in on a benchmark that has stood for 19 years. He sits third on Melville’s all-time scorers list in the modern era (post-amalgamation in 1996) behind Mark Cossey (84) and Steven Holloway (82).

But Melville statistician Ron Anorak said that this was actually his very first hat trick at northern premier league level and Evans – for whom English is a second language – was so emotional that afterwards he could only speak in his native Welsh tongue.

“Nid yw hyn yn ymwneud â mi,” he said. “Mae hyn yn ymwneud â’r tîm. Dydw i ddim yn poeni pwy sy’n sgorio.”

And his team mates agreed, especially those who could understand what he said.

Evans got the ball rolling from a stationary situation in bending home a sixth minute free kick.

He then finished off a sweeping Melville move that engaged both flanks from close range in the 42nd minute, and capped his performance by rolling home a left footer after breaking down the left in the 57th minute.

The win means Melville leap-frogged ahead of Manukau and into seventh spot on the table.

Evans was not the only star. Skipper Aaron Scott was superb, while Logan Wiznewski turned in another good shift and Craig Pritchard made some incisive bursts.

Melville lost Liam Steffert early, with a groin issue, but Federico Marquez came on and took over in midfield with stunning effect. It was his sixth appearance as sub this season and on this evidence, you could argue he could claim the mantle of being Melville’s all-time most talented specialist super-sub, leaving Josh Billman far in his wake.

Manukau were missing four first-choice players who were sent off last week, but did have the benefit of former Unicorn Jama Boss, who had his red card down-graded to a yellow card on appeal.

There was only one booking in the match – to Manukau’s Price Quansah following a string of clumsy fouls.

It meant Liam Hayes got through his third successive match without a booking. It’s not something stats are kept on, but this could be a record as well.

Melville now face a further run of three away games.

They travel to Fred Taylor Park for their last-16 Chatham Cup tie on Saturday, and then are away to Eastern Suburbs and Western Springs.

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