Good Evans: Marc’s got seven
All good things rise at Easter, including Melville’s northern league division one prospects, after a 3-0 away win over one-time bogey team Mt Albert Ponsonby.
After being buried by Western Springs on Good Friday, Marc Evans – or maybe we should call him Marc Heavens at this time of year – resurrected Melville’s campaign with a critical hat trick, taking his goal tally to seven for the season.
Thanks largely to Evans’ sin-free finishing, Melville found a new lease of life at Anderson Park, and are now back in third place on the table, while their spirits have risen faster than Marc’s blood-alcohol level on a Saturday night.
Evans potted a penalty on the stroke of half time, after the impressive Lachie “Birko” McIsaac had been fouled by a high tackle in the box to open the scoring. The keeper got a hand to it, but it was hit crisply enough to the corner to avoid concern.
The anoraks may have noted this is the first goal Melville have scored in the first half of any match this season.
Evans struck again eight minutes after the break, receiving the ball from Stafford Dowling, working it onto his left foot, and then shooting it across the keeper, for his first left-footer of the campaign.
And he rounded off the scoring in the 63rd minute with a tap in set up by Dowling, who was later sent off for a second yellow card.
Evans also left the pitch early, to be replaced by Eric “Jones” for the final 20 minutes.
He was delighted with the team win – and his own form – and afterwards the gospel according to Marc was worth listening to.
“I think my first hat trick of the season against Waitemata probably had better individual goals – but these ones were more important for the team,” he pontificated.
“I scored 16 first team goals last year, so I’m well on my way to beating that already this season.”
Evans attributed a lot of the momentum behind a much-needed win to the work of the back three – where Flynn O’Brien joined old hands Aaron Scott and Robbie Greenhalgh – and the touches of George Curry, playing slightly higher than in previous weeks.
However it should be noted Evans has also been born-again as a Melville player this season. Traditionally Evans has been something of a 75-per-center, but the 2017 version is making his “Marc” as a striker who is much fitter.
This he attributes to drinking less – even though this often attracts snorts – and a new fitness regime.
Marc, who is between jobs, gets up at the crack of noon each day, sidles down to the YMCA Gym and does a few sets before enjoying a leisurely stroll back to his Glenview digs, where he then has an afternoon nap before contemplating Melville training.
And it’s working.
Evans is also turning the other cheek and not taking offence from a terrible mistake in the Gower Park clubrooms on Good Friday when his birthday was celebrated and he was publicly announced as being 34 – when in actual fact he is not even 32.
“I’m actually not bothered that people might think I look older than I am,” he said. “As long as I am scoring, and Melville are winning, well, that’s the fountain of youth for me.”
Evans has also come under the positive influence of club captain Phil Wheatley this year, to the extent that some are now calling him Melville’s “vice” captain.
For his part, Wheatley said he’s been trying to mentor Evans since the end of last season, and is delighted to finally see an ugly duckling turn into a goalscoring swan.
“With Marc you have to acknowledge there are distinct cultural differences, given his Welsh heritage,” Wheately said. “I’ve found it’s not so much a question of trying to provide wise counsel as finding better ways to frame the challenges ahead to best extract his considerable talents.
“A helpful analogy is to think of truth as a beam from a flashlight. If someone shines a flashlight in your face, it’s confrontational and even threatening.
“But if a senior club member points the flashlight beam down the dark pitch you have to tread under busted floodlights, you instead get a sense of relief and gratefulness.”
Meanwhile Melville Reserves won 5-1 to stay top of their league.
Melville are at home to Ellerslie on Saturday, 2.45pm assuming the refs can get there in time.