Melville’s five minutes of madness

At approximately 4.28pm on June 17 Melville conspired to play the worst five minutes of football of their roller-coaster 2017 season.

Up 2-0 at home to fourth-placed North Shore and coasting to an important victory, they indulged in five minutes of madness where they simply stopped playing, coughed up cheap possession, and conceded two soft goals, with an injury-time equaliser duly coming direct from a corner. Melville keeper Max Tommy was injured and had twice received treatment in the death throes, but could not be replaced because three subs had already been used.

But the real blame for two lost points at home was Melville’s profligacy in front of goal in the first half. They should have been 5-0 up at half time, and the game should have been effectively over.

Instead the half evolved as a horror show of missed Melville chances, even allowing for the fact North Shore keeper Ignacio Carrasco had the game of his life.

Melville finally got on the board in the 70th minute when sub Steve Holloway played in Stafford Dowling to score his ninth goal of the season (including Chatham Cup). Then when Holloway nudged home a second in the 77th minute from close range – after good work from Jama Boss – the game seemed well and truly over, given Melville’s complete dominance of the contest.

But Shore pressed harder and Melville buckled. Dowling did find the net again deep in injury time but it was ruled out for offside.

“We got out of jail by a long shot,” said Shore assistant coach Ben Wall.

“We’re a little bit disappointed,” said Melville coach Michael Mayne. “The game should have been dead at half time.

Melville remain three points ahead of Shore in third place, but the gap to second (Manukau) has increased to five points.

Melville Reserves beat North Shore remain second in their league.

Melville are at home to Franklin in the Chatham Cup on Saturday, 2pm.

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