Derby draw disappoints
Aaron Scott turned 30 and smacked one from 30m as Melville battled to a 2-2 draw with Tauranga City United at Gower Park.
It might have been skipper Scott’s birthday but he was the one bringing the biggest present as he scythed forward in the second half with his team trailing 1-0. Veering sllightly left, he conjured up a left-footed shot which curled perfectly into the far top corner.
It wasn’t his best Melville goal – that honour remains with his 2005 effort from halfway away to West Auckland – but it was more vital in other respects.
It gave Melville a sniff of victory, which grew when Marc Evans turned home on the line a shot from Jordan MacCarter for a 2-1 lead after 75 minutes. However Tauranga pulled a goal back shortly afterward through William Clague, and later had a couple of chances to win it themselves.
It was also the birthday for Melville keeper Scott Reid – who had a good game – and the two Scotts socialised into the night at a football shirt party at Gower Park.
The match result was a disappointment for both camps, but Tauranga captain added much entertainment with his passionate post-match speech.
He dispensed with the usual platitudes (“Nice pitch”, “we like coming here”, “hope you don’t go down”) and instead lashed out at a programme editorial which questioned whether the match really qualified as a “local derby”, given it was so hard to dislike Tauranga these days.
“I was disrespectful to say today’s match was not a derby,” O’Regan complained. “Do you expect us to have our derbies with Fury, with Rotorua?” he asked in proudly recollecting how Tauranga has battled up the leagues in recent years.
“I don’t know who wrote it,” he said, having somehow not noticed the byline. “But that was definitely a derby.”
Melville chairman Bruce Holloway asked for an extra round of applause for O’Regan’s speech, calling it the most heartfelt he had heard from an opposing team since the mid 1990s when a West Auckland coach said he would bare his bum in Farmers’ shop window if Melville got promotion (they did, he didn’t).
Holloway said the programme was now a collector’s item and ordered copies now be priced at $5 each at the bar.
Later he added he was fascinated by Tauranga’s underlying zeal over the importance of declaring the match as a derby.
“There is such a perverse irony in complaining of disrespect in not recognising a match as a local derby – when one of the key elements of a derby is having a healthy degree of disrespect for your opponents in the first place. This is definitely one for Desmond Morris and the other football psychologists and socio-biologists.”
O’Regan also brought up the fact that people should stop banging on about how Tauranga lost their bar licence earlier this year.
“There’s a delightful little irony there too if you think about it,” Holloway said.
Melville coach Steve Williams, who never reads the programme, soothed frayed Tauranga sensitivities by referring to the match as a derby.
And to further cheer up the visitors he invited Eddie Edge from the audience to have his say. It was the first time Williams has ever sought Edge’s view on anything. “It was a good bottom of the table derby,” Edge said.
Williams finished with a nod to the coming weeks.
“Leagues are won and lost in the last six matches of the season,” he noted.
Melville are away to Central next week.
Meanwhile the Reserves won 2-0 with goals from Szymon Poborowski and David Brennan.
Melville As won 3-2 over Matamata but a depleted Melville Feds lost 0-6 to Cambridge (where former Melville man Jason Chewins took his goal tally for the season to 10 from centre back to be in the running for golden boot).