Melville remain unbeaten in pre-season
Melville stuttered to a 3-3 draw in a northern league pre-season match against Wanderers Sports Club at Porritt Stadium, after leading 1-0, 2-1 and 3-1.
Apart from the curiousity value of having a pre-season match in June, there was the added twist of this being the first time Melville gaffer Sam Wilkinson had seen a number of his players in a match situation, so he could be forgiven for turning up with a 22-strong squad just two weeks out from the season start, at home to Central United on June 20.
Most players got a maximum of 45 minutes, with keeper Max Tommy, Logan Wisnewski and new signing Sean Liddicoat (previously Team Canterbury) being the only ones to go in excess of that.
There was the odd flourish, but mostly this was February in June, with almost everyone looking a little rusty, and struggling to get their passing right on a good deck.
In tune with this, Melville’s first two goals – from Liam Hayes and Kieran Richards – owed as much to defensive errors as astute attacking play. Wanderers opening goal also came courtesy of a deflection.
Melville’s starting XI was Max Tommy, Joel McMullan, Aaron Scott, Luke Searle, Sean Liddicoat, Logan Wisnewski, Liam Hayes, Campbell Brown, Kieran Richards, Hamish Comber and Dominic Edwards (who has returned from the UK). The likes of Mark Jones, Riku Soejima, Levi Clark and Legga Legz were among those to play the second half. Veteran Steve Kipchoge also made a 30-minute cameo.
Clark scored a fine second half goal, stroking the ball home from just inside the area, to put Melville 3-1 ahead, but Wanderers bounced back with two late goals.
For Melville, Hayes and Liddicoat were influential, McMullan continues to grow, and Brown had a couple of pacy dabs down the left flank. Searle stood out if only because of his brightly bleached hair. Joe Knowles made one great save when he came on as keeper in the second half.
The result wasn’t important, but Melville should have won this one, though Wanderers will be competitive in the league.
Melville are away to North Shore next week in their final pre-season match.