Always next year

SUNDAY: Waikato Women’s Knockout Cup Final, Gower Park, 1.30pm: Melville Prems v Melville Development.

Melville’s promotion charge came to a shuddering halt at Walter Massey Park, after a 0-1 away loss to Manukau City, who have instead confirmed they will go up to the northern premier league next year.

It was a shattering end to a worthy Melville tilt at honours, made all the more frustrating by the decisive goal coming late, in scrappy, scruffy fashion from close range following a corner.

Melville have only conceded goals 17 league goals this season – the least of anyone. But far too many of them have come from corners.

Melville had a similar goalscoring opportunity for a scrambled goal late in the piece, but could not get the ball over the line.

If Melville felt aggrieved at losing at home to Manukau earlier in the season, there could be few complaints about the result this time.

Melville seldom got going against a well-drilled and committed Manukau team. The game was a step up from Melville’s recent outings in terms of pace, physicality, pressure and tension, and too many players struggled to adjust.

Melville could rarely not settle on the ball, and did not create enough chances.

Afterwards Melville coaches and chairman offered their congratulations to Manukau City. City skipper Hone Fowler, a defensive colossus, was named Manuakau’s player of the day, as he was when the two teams clashed on May 20.

Melville are at home to Oratia in their final league match on Saturday.

Meanwhile Melville Reserves also slipped up, in only drawing 1-1 with fifth-placed Manukau Reserves. To win the title next week they will now need leaders Ellerslie to either lose or draw in their final outing with lowly Oratia.

# Melville Premier Women played some very good football to beat Otumoetai 8-0 under lights at Gower Park on Friday night. Goals came from Clare MacKintosh (2), Jackie Pretswell (2), Kelsie MacKintosh, Ali Galletly, Konagh Garrett, and a first half header-come-shoulder from Steph Murray. Clare MacKintosh and Holly Moore shared the player of the day awards.

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