Melville have Springs in their step
Melville continued their promising start to pre-season by coming from behind to beat fellow northern premier league club Western Springs 3-1 at Gower Park.
UPDATE: Melville trial match 10am Saturday Feb 29, Gower Park.
It is still to early to write too much into another good result, but Melville have now beaten two of the four clubs that finished ahead of them last season, albeit with a squad which is still a broad mix of trialists, new faces, and some old stagers.
Coach Ian McGrath sported a 20-strong squad (and that was with four players from last week being unavailable) with a view towards giving everyone a chance to show their wares.
If the outcome gives McGrath a major selection headache – given a couple more players are still due to come in – it also proved a useful exercise.
“The game challenged us in a very different way to last week,” McGrath said. “With Auckland United we had to adjust to the physical challenge, whereas with Western Springs they shifted us around and we had to adapt to their movement.
“To be tested in two different ways and still manage to control large parts of the contests and come out with a win is pleasing.”
Melville conceded a worryingly soft goal in the 20th minute, with Springs having all the time in the world to tap into an empty net.
But Melville struck back five minutes later with a beautiful move involving – among others – Federico Marquez, Owen Comber and Riku Soejima, for Soejima to tap home.
“It was a textbook pass, move, and simple finish,” McGrath said.
In the second of three thirds, left wingback Campbell Brown made one of several storming forward runs, and nicely finished after the Springs defence was sprung. A member of the wider Melville coaching fraternity was later heard predicting that teenager Brown would quickly evolve as Melville’s answer to the Phoenix’s Libby Cacace.
And Comber, operating on the right flank, wrapped up the scoring late in the final period, with another crisp finish. Defender Joel McMullan was another to impress for Melville.
Melville will play an internal game next Saturday, and then face Cambridge at Gower Park on Tuesday March 3, and Glenfiled Rovers at home on Saturday March 7.