Melville coast to 5-0 away win
A free-wheeling Melville team breezed to a 5-0 away win over Hibiscus Coast to extend their winning run to 15 matches and their unbeaten 2018 run to 18 matches.
They then celebrated with their now-customary post-match midwinter soak in Stanmore Bay, immediately behind the pitch at Hibiscus Coast.
Melville’s coaches had identified this match as a potential banana skin, but for the second successive year they scored within the first minute away to Hibiscus Coast. Mark Jones netted directly from a free kick, his seventh goal of the season, though his day finished soon afterwards when he retired to rest a potential injury.
Jones was replaced by Harry Christensen-Rose, who has previously made a Chatham Cup appearance, but was on debut in the northern league, and celebrated by scoring immediately after half time.
Josh Davies scored two goals, to take his season tally (league and cup) to 15. And Federico Marquez scored for the second match in succession.
Melville rested Jordan Lamb, while Luke Searle was out with an injured ankle, Liam Steffert has an ongoing groin issue, and Stafford Dowling did not travel following the death of his father. It meant Logan Wiznewski and Dilan Nanayakkara got starts.
Co-coach Sam Wilkinson was delighted with the win.
“Scoring early settled things down and we were never in danger of conceding,” he said.
The win was perhaps too comfortable to serve as a solid preparation for Saturday’s tough home Chatham Cup tie (2pm) against cup-holders Onehunga Sports.
“But we are happy to take three points at this stage of the season, with just a further two wins required to guarantee promotion and probably three wins to claim the title.”
it was the sixth time this season Melville have scored five goals or more. And potting five away from home meant the player of the day was always going to be a defender. This time the honour went to Flynn O’Brien, who really stepped up in Luke Searle’s absence in the back two.
Melville’s 2pm Chatham Cup tie at Gower Park will be preceded by an U13s match v Onehunga Sports, 1pm.
There will be either a gate charge or a match collection to cover costs of the tie (with a hosting fee payable to NZ Football).
# A Melville Academy fundraising breakfast is being held at The Helm, 6am on Thursday, which coincides with the World Cup semifinal featuring England. Come along to watch, have a good feed & support the future of the club.