Melville claim 2nd big pre-season scalp
Melville wrapped up their 2017 preseason campaign with an impressive 3-0 home win over Glenfield Rovers.
It was their second successive pre-season victory over premier league opponents, following on from a 3-1 win over defending champions Central United.
And it was the perfect dress rehearsal before facing Waitemata AFC in their northern league opener at Gower Park on Saturday March 25, 2.45pm.
Marc “Hitman” Evans netted two slick first half goals, and Birkenhead youth product Lachie McIsaac added a third in the second half.
Glenfield had the rare treat of playing the match on Gower Park No 7 after pitches 1 and 2 were out with renovations, the Melville U14 tournament was being contested on pitches 3 & 4, and lacrosse had booked pitches 5 and 6.
While they provided robust opposition, Glenfield just weren’t at the races in terms of goalscoring. Which was ironic because that was exactly where they were later in the afternoon, as they attended Waikato Racing Club’s Hooves, Grooves & BBQ’s at Te Rapa Racecourse as part of team bonding.
Melville co-coach Sam Wilkinson said it had been a very valuable outing.
“It was a game in which we really had to focus on other areas,” he said. “Because of the surface, we had to be safer at the back.
“But we out-scrapped a very strong team and showed we had the ability to vary how we play. And there were times when we played some very good football.”
One of those times included a brilliant second goal, finished superbly by Evans with a curling right-footer.
“It was a great team goal,” Evans said. “We’ve gone down the right, come back, gone down the left, Lachie (McIsaac) has played a ball in, Stevie (Holloway) has killed it dead for me and I’ve hit it first time just inside the post from the edge of the area.”
With Eric “Jones” injured after sanding one of his legs too deeply on a painting job midweek, the goals will have done much to secure Evans’ place in the starting lineup.
George Curry added the dominant flavour in midfield, but there was also a very strong showing from young Liam Hayes and Patrick Hinchcliffe. Robbie Grenhalgh anchored the defence (Aaron Scott and Stafford Dowling were still tied up with summer commitments) and McIsaac made a good fist of his work down the left flank.
# East Coast Bays won the 1-day Melville U-14 Football Festival, beating Melville Black 3-2 on penalties in the final, after it had been locked 2-2 at full time. Melville had led 2-0 midway through the second half, but conceded two late goals to allow Bays back into contention. Both teams had been unbeaten in pool play.
# Gower Park No 1 has finally been scarified, seeded and sanded, and will be out of commission for about three weeks, with the Waitemata season opener due to be played on Gower No 2, which is also recovering from renovation work. No training is permitted on Gower No 2 for the next week at least.