Melville edging closer to league title
Melville are closing in on their first northern league title since 2009, following a 3-2 home win over Waitemata.
Victory gave Melville a 12-point buffer at the top of the first division table – with a game in hand as well – ahead of next weekend’s away match against Forrest Hill Milford, one of three clubs separated by just one point in chasing second place.
A win against Forrest Hill would effectively secure the title by virtue of goal difference – Melville’s is 45, 20 is the next best. However Forrest Hill Milford enjoyed a 1-0 win against second-placed Waiheke to have a firm promotion chance themselves.
Melville established a handy 2-0 half time lead against Waitemata, but it was a match in which they suffered the penalty blues.
Not only did Josh Davies fail to convert a spot kick, hitting the bar, but early in the second half they conceded two penalties within 90 seconds.
Jama Boss continued his great goalscoring season with a crisp strike in the 25th minute, latching onto a partial clearance from other Melville attempts. It showed a fine striker’s instinct for a midfielder, and took his season’s tally to 18 at the head of the league’s golden boot standings.
Five minutes later Davies atoned for his prior penalty miss with a bread and butter far post header.
And after Waitemata had drawn level through the penalties – both converted by Kuyama Kanon – it was Davies who scored the winner in the 69th minute.
Defender Dilan Nanayakkara, having easily his finest game in a Melville shirt, surged forward on a mazy dribble and fed Davies who netted on the angle. Nanayakkara was later named player of the day for a performance where he effectively came of age as a northern league player.
Meanwhile Davies’ goal took his league tally to 14, drawing him level with former Melville striker Marc Who, now plying his trade at Waiheke. However Davies will now have a short holiday after picking up his seventh booking of the season.
Waitemata coach Andrew Campbell was happy despite the loss.
“We took a what-have-we-got-to-lose approach and asked questions of the best team in the league,” he said.
Melville coach Michael Mayne described a ho-hum match as “hum ho”.
“But we have one foot inside the door,” he said. “We needed a result and we got it.”
# Melville Reserves stormed to a 6-2 win over Waitemata after leading 3-2 at the break.
The goals were spread around, with Joel McMullan, Jayden Deane, Ernest Pidoke, Jacob Stevens, Kyle Wisnewski and sub Johnleo Caselli all getting on the scoresheet.
# Melville Feds beat West Hamilton 2-0 with second half goals to Ben Wheatley and Josh Nooijens. Melville are fourth in the league.
# A late goal from Kieran Frewen allowed Melville Nobs to beat Claudelands Rovers 2-1 and reach the final of the Waikato Knockout Cup.