Melville enjoy the gulf at the top

Melville have moved five points clear at the top of northern league division one after a stirring come-from-behind win away to Waiheke United out in the Hauraki Gulf.

It was Melville’s first-ever visit to Waiheke Island for a northern league match and the win was reputed to be the first time Waiheke have been beaten at home in five years – though in gauging the significance of this, it needs to be remembered Waiheke were out of the northern league for 20 years before last year finishing runners-up in division two.

For Melville it was a most satisfying conclusion to a day where things did always go to plan with the challenging logistics of getting from Hamilton to Onetangi, and the home support was either fervent or obnoxious – depending on how you see these things.

The full benefit of the win was underlined when fellow title challengers Fencibles could only draw 0-0 with lowly Ellerslie, and early-season leaders Forrest Hill Milford were held to a 2-2 draw at home to Tauranga – even though they had an Auckland ref (an omission they believed was their undoing a week earlier in losing to Melville).

Melville were rocked early when the club’s former Golden Boy, Marc Who, smashed home a shot in the 14th minute.

But Jama Boss struck back 15 minutes later and was again on hand with the winner in the 83rd minute. It means Boss has taken his season tally to 11 goals from eight matches, with Josh Davies and Marc Who back on seven goals. Davies also had a couple of chances to net against Waiheke, though the Islanders defence was generally tenacious.

Federico Marquez finally made his Melville debut, coming off the bench in the second half.

# Melville Reserves defaulted to Waiheke. This was due to more than 20 Melville players being unavailable because of Waikato Secondary Schools’ one-day Referees Trophy tournament. Melville were caught out at late notice because Hamilton Boys’ High Second XI were also competing in what is otherwise a Waikato First XI tournament. Through Auckland Football, Melville offered to play the game on an alternate date, but the AFF offered no response to the suggestion, so the default took effect without further sanction. Melville first team players Logan Wisnewski and Levi Clark were among those unavailable.

# Melville are away to Lynn-Avon United in the Chatham Cup at Ken Maunder Park at 2pm on Saturday. Lynn-Avon are mid-table inn the AFF/NFF Men’s Conference league.

# In the coming weeks Stafford Dowling will be rejoining Melville during his US University break, while the club has also signed Dylan Morris, formerly with Eastern Suburbs.

# Melville Feds remain top equal in the Loaded WaiBop Premiership after a 2-1 home win over third-placed West Hamilton. Subesh Naidu gave Melville a first half lead and David Brennan added a great second half header, before West Ham pulled one back. Melville Feds are at home to Matamata Swifts at 2.45pm on Saturday.

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