Melville find that winning feeling

Melville spluttered to a 3-0 home win over a no-name Waitakere City to finally climb off the bottom of the northern premier league table.

It was a match variously described as scratchy, patchy, shabby, and scruffy. But given we are now in August and this was Melville’s first win, you might as well regard it as a brilliant and courageous victory, even if it was hard on the eye.

Because it was a most welcome outcome – and also Melville’s first clean sheet of the season.

Melville have regularly played better than this and lost, but in this instance the result was far more important than the lack of style with which it was achieved.

Before kick-off you’d have got extremely long odds on Melville’s three goalscorers being Levi Clark, Luke Searle and Sean Liddicoat, but that was how it panned out.

Clark got Melville off to an encouraging start when he scrambled the ball home in the fourth minute. During the warm-up he exclusively used his left foot to shoot, only to then immediately find the net with his less preferred right, squeezing the ball through the keeper’s legs.

But it’s hard to recall a match where so few shots have been taken by Melville.

Waitakere keeper Luca Taylor pulled the ball out of the net three times, but he never made a save of any description.

Waitakere did not have a lot of shots either, but they did command a fair share of possession as Melville coughed the ball up depressingly cheaply, especially in the front third. Waitakere did nothing – but they did it for 90 minutes.

And too often Melville’s 6-yard-box was a chaos zone. Jama Boss’ most important contribution in his first home game back was kneeing the ball off the line.

Searle gave Melville a margin of comfort in the 39th minute when he headed home at the far post from a corner.

It was his first goal for Melville since the Steve Williams era.

GOAL COMING UP: Have Melville become “set piece” specialists?

“I’d love to have had a count on how many kilometres he has run in coming up for corners for three and a half years in search of that goal,” mused still-suspended Melville coach Sam Wilkinson.

Liddicoat sealed the game with his second goal in successive games with a textbook header from another set play in the 76th minute.

But he rejected any suggestion he was on a spirited goalscoring run that may end with the golden boot.

“That’s me for the season,” he predicted. “I’m usually good for two in a row and then that’s it.”

Wilkinson named Kieran Richards as his player of the day, and also had praise for accountant-turned-painter Liam Hayes in midfield.

Kieran Richards had another strong match for Melville.

Aaron Scott came off in the 80th minute as a precautionary measure after taking a knock.

Melville are away to Western Springs (3pm) on Saturday.

# In the curtainraiser Melville Reserves upset a Waitakere team which had won its previous six matches this season. The 2-1 win came when Ryen Lawrence knocked in a 94th minute winner after Legga Legz had given Melville a first half lead.

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