Melville Reserves – “It’s squeaky bum time” (Programme 6.8.2016)

Merv Williams

Depending on your view of Sir Alex Ferguson, he is either a football god or a relic from the past, but one thing we can all agree on is that he certainly knows what it’s like to get down to the business end of the season and have at least a couple of opportunities to win some trophies still up for grabs.

Now, the mighty Melville Reserves wouldn’t wish to compare ourselves with teams that included the likes of Cantona, Giggs, Scholes and co, but on the hallowed turf of Gower Park this Saturday we are delighted to continue our run in the Northern League Reserves Cup against a Central team who will be seeking a reversal of their recent league defeat at our hands two weeks ago.

And like the glory boys from old Trafford, we also have that fine balancing act of league and cup to contend with. The 2016 league campaign sees the Ressies sit top of the table after 20 rounds, five points clear of our opposition and with a game in hand. It all sounds very promising, but football is a strange beast and we remain well aware – “we have won nothing yet”.

That said, however the season finally turns out, we, the coaching staff will view it with a great deal of pride. Perhaps we could have seen the success coming many months ago? Our pre-season form in early February had hinted at what could come, when we took down an admittedly below strength Ngaruawahia first team and then comprehensively dismantled the Claudelands first team.

In truth the Ressies of 2016 have had a lot to live up to after the Wade/Hoad coached side of 2015 took the team to third in the league. And the lads have certainly risen to this challenge and beyond. From skipper Cam Olsen right through, the names of Cossey, Nooijens, Naidu, Williams, Clement, Dowling, O’Brien, Glenister, Brennan, O’Sullivan, Poborowski, Collins, McKay, Daly, Campbell, Fellows have all regularly and evenly been mentioned in dispatches for outstanding performances. As team Cultural Advisor and Manager Arran Clement notes – “this is a team in truest sense of the word, they have embraced all aspects of playing for each other not themselves and the results show that”.

The twin coaching set up of myself and Wytse Bouma have developed a game plan around tactical shape, with and without the ball that has been tinkered with by us both in numerous conversations and long into the night to ensure that each week we look to be better than the week before. In many respects the greatest achievement we as coaches can claim is the players have gone out and relentlessly played to a shape and a plan in every fixture, and this mixed in with their own moments of real magic has bought consistently good results.

And boy there has been magic, Naidu’s goal against Wanderers under lights at Gower is one that caused club legend Aaron Scott to claim it as one of the two best goals he had ever witnessed live, Nooijens haul of four against Central, Cosseys consistent high level poaching, Tristian Collins aerial winners or free kick legend Jordy McKay’s efforts – all spark a smile when remembered.

Add to that the real pleasure in seeing some of our young lads kick on to first team football (with much success) – we do for example still strongly lay claim to largely signposting the benefits of Jake Michell in the centre forward role, and as recently as last Saturday, seeing Stafford Dowling come so close to winning the game for the first team just reminded us that at various times this year those two along with Viviani, McIsaac and Steiffert have donned Ressies shirts with significant contribution.

So to this week and the weeks beyond. The cup is a wonderful thing and we are delighted to welcome our visitors Central to a Gower Park that we are rightly proud of. The focus today for the Melville Reserves will be on a performance, not a win – because that is always the call. Perform with absolute discipline to our tactical shape and relentless energy to the players personal responsibilities and the result with follow. It has worked so far – we hope it will do it for just six more weeks of squeaky bum time.

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