Oh the pain as Melville lose
Melville’s much-vaunted return to northern premier league ranks ended in despair as they were sunk by a booming 95th-minute winner from Wanderers star striker Tommy Semmy.
The 1-0 win leaves Melville as one of six teams without points after the first round of league matches – a round in which four away victories were notched.
Melville are away to Glenfield on Saturday.
The Melville-Wanderers contest had all the niggle and tension you would expect of a Hamilton derby, along with some outbreaks of fine skill, not least Semmy’s amazing winner, in which he chested the ball down, swivelled and smashed home on a tight angel.
It is a goal which will do much to boost his growing reputation as one of the best strikers to have played in this region.
Until the goal Melville defender Luke Searle had done well to contain Semmy, and he was singled out by Melville co-coach Sam Wilkinson as one of his players of the day, along with unobtrisuve midfielder Liam Steffert.
Wanderers coach Kale Herbert – among the many to race out of the coaching dug-out to celebrate the goal – named keeper Matt Oliver and John Clout as his top performers.
Earlier Melville had plenty of chances to win, with Marc Evans having a close-range header saved, while subs Federico Marquez and Kieran Richards also went close.
Wanderers utility Xavier Pratt had a free header well saved by Melville keeper Max Tommy, who also had a strong game.
Herbert was delighted with the win but also praised Melville.
“It is fantastic to have you back at premier level,” he said. “It was good for the game to have so many fans turn up.”
Wilkinson said Melville had missed some huge chances.
“That sucked. But no complaints. The last 30 was like basketball, it was so open.”
If it was Red v Blue on the pitch, there were also political parallel on the sidelines.
The crowd included Hamilton East National MP David Bennett, and Labour list MP Jamie Strange.
After the final whistle Stefan Cho from The Soccer Shop presented Wanderers with the new Challenge Trophy, along with a cheque for $250.
Melville Reserves drew 2-2 with Wanderers. They led 2-1 at half time thanks to goals from Fin Conchie and Sean Leadley but conceded an 87th minute equaliser.
In the WaiBOP federation league Melville lost 0-2 away to Papamoa.