Melville accentu-8 the positive

Melville thundered into the final 16 of the 2019 Chatham Cup with an improbable 8-2 away demolition of fellow northern premier league club East Coast Bays.

It was one of the most comprehensive wins of the round, though the Unicorns had to twice come from behind in what was a Jekyll-and-Hyde performance, as notable for inept first half passing as some excellent second half finishing.

New boy Craig Pritchard and Hitman Marc Evans both notched hat tricks, though goal of the day went to returning skipper Aaron Scott, who slammed home a stunning volley in front of a crowd which included All Whites coach Fritz Schmid and a TV One camera crew.

Scott should look to injure his glass ankle more often if this is to be the ultimate end product: perhaps the second best goal of his illustrious Melville career (according to aberrant blogger Grigor Griffin).

Melville conceded early when keeper Max Tommy was adjudged to have fouled a striker, and Bays’ very tidy import Callum Harrison converted the penalty (which you could file under “soft”).

But Pritchard struck a lovely equaliser from the edge of the area, though Melville were soon behind again when Harrison curled home a free kick.

Then up stepped centre back Scott for his first goal of the season, a beautifully judged volley from outside the area.

Melville’s coaches were a little grumpy about the patchwork display, and to use a phrase from the Michael Mayne Urban Dictionary, gave the players “a touch up” at half time.

In the second half Melville reverted to passing the ball, as opposed to kicking it in the general direction, and the rewards were obvious.

Evans scored after good work from Pritchard, Mark Jones and Logan Wiznewski (who had held a shambles together in the first half).

After that the dam broke, and Pritchard added a further two, sub Kieran Richards scored his first of the season, running through in fine style. Evans rolled a beauty in the corner of the net and then right on the final whistle converted a penalty, to take his career tally for Melville to 77 goals.

Melville were without suspended Luke Searle and Federico Marquez, but had Liam “The Mouth” Hayes back from suspension. He started at right back then moved into midfield in the second half after Mike Pritchard went off.

“It was a strange game,” said Melville co-coach Sam Wilkinson. “It was a tight contest in the first half and we were disappointed in some aspects of our game.

“We had a frank chat at half time because it was not a comfortable position to be in, then the goals went flying in, in the second half.”

All Whites coach Fritz Schmid congratulated Sam Wilkinson on his half time team talk, which could be heard throughout the complex.

Wilkinson denied Craig Pritichard a deserved man of the match award when he saw the prize was a bottle of red wine. Wilkinson, who likes nothing stronger than a cup of Bovril, thought it would be in safer hands with father-of-four Scott.

The draw for the last 16 will take place on Tuesday.

# Melville Reserves were beaten 2-0 by Wanderers on Saturday. Melville feds lost 0-2 to Papamoa.

# Melville are at home to Glenfield Rovers on Saturday.

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