Melville Reserves power into semis

A typically mercurial forward line powered Melville Reserves to a 5-2 quarterfinal win over Central United in the Reserves Knockout Cup at Gower Park.

Melville twice came from a goal down to boss the match in the second half, with veteran Mike Cosgrave, and sweet 16-year-old Stafford Dowling scoring two a piece, while Josh Nooijens added a second half strike as well.

Teenage winger Stafford Dowling scored two great goals against Central

Teenage winger Stafford Dowling scored two great goals against Central

It means that for the second successive year Melville Reserves have made the knockout semis while the team stands eight points clear at the top of the Premier Reserve League

Melville trailed early but levelled through a nice finish from Cosgrave, only to cough up a goal to Maro Bonsu-Maro, that keeper Jacob Daly will do well to reflect upon.

But it was all Melville in the second half, as Nooijens equalised from close range, before Dowling scored a cracker solo effort in cutting in from the left wing to apply a tody finish.

Cosgrave made the game safe with his second and there was time for Dowling to add his second as well.

Delighted coach Merv Williams said his team once again showed great character after some first half setbacks.

“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,” he said.

Nooijens central

For Melville skipper Cam Olsen (below) bossed the midfield, while Flynn O’Brien had some nice touches at fullback.

Skipper Cam Olsen had an influential game in midfield

Skipper Cam Olsen had an influential game in midfield

The semis will be played on September 3, with a draw yet to be made. (Wanderers beat Ellerslie in another quarterfinal, while Forrest Hill Milford are also through and the fourth semifinals will be settled on August 10 between Onehunga and Mt Albert Ponsonby.

First team coach Steve Williams took time out from his role as Melville ambassador to the Super Rugby final in Wellington to pay tribute to the Reserves.

“They have shown a consistent ability all season to come from behind and win regardless of circumstance, and that is always sign of great character in a team,” he said. “Hopefully they can go all the way.”

Read Merv Williams’ match programme column HERE

Meanwhile the result of the most significance to Melville in the northern premier league was Bay Olympic’s 0-1 loss to East Coast Bays. Bay Olympic sit one spot clear of relegation and five pointd ahead of Melville.

But Melville are awaiting an official decision on whether they will be awarded a further 2 points from their draw with Eastern Suburbs, who played an ineligible player in Tim Payne, under the reading of a midweek memo from the AFF which basically confirmed that even though players could gain an international transfer after June 30, that did not make them eligible to play in the northern league after that date.

In the Federation League Melville’s away match against Old Blues was postponed.

Melville Old Boys won 6-1 against Waikato Unicol, with Marc Evans showing his goalkeeping skills. Gavin Douglas (2) and Josh Billman got on the scoresheet, along with Robbie Orchard. Evans also scored a goal late in the game after Douglas replaced him in goal.

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