Mistakes cost Melville
Melville coach Sam Wilkinson offered a vote of confidence in his keeper, Max Tommy, after an unfortunate first half goal-line gaffe which ended up being the difference between his team and Auckland United in a hard-fought northern premier league match at Keith Hay Park.
In the 45th minute Tommy inexplicably failed to collect a dribbling innocuous shot on the angle and it slipped between his legs and into the net in what was the only goal in the 1-0 loss to second-placed Auckland.
“Max Tommy has been our best player this season week in and week out,” Wilkinson said in his aftermatch speech. The comment was met with applause, which would have been welcomed given Tommy’s parents and brother were present.
Tommy also made three fine saves with his legs in the second half, but by then Melville’s fortunes had already been coloured by the 15th minute send-off of Liam Molloy, for a 15th minute tackle. Referee Hayden Tutbury initially yellow carded him for a tackle where he was deemed to have left his feet and made contact above the ankle, but after assistant referee Tanvir Bhamji intervened he upgraded it to a red card.
Melville seemed to be coping effortlessly after going a man down, but were up against it once the goal was scored, though finished strongly.
Auckland United had to endure a nervous final five minutes as Melville searched for yet another stirring late equaliser.
Player of the day for Melville was Campbell Brown, who turned in a typically athletic showing at the back.
Despite the loss Wilkinson was pleased with the manner of his team’s play and the fighting spirit they showed to make a contest of it.
But Melville have slipped to seventh on the table.
The match represented Melville’s first visit to Auckland United’s impressively swish new clubrooms.
In the second half Davis Vhava and Sean Leadley came on and made their northern premier league debuts, while Ryen Lawrence started in place of the injured Kieran Richards, having his first run for Melville since April 2. Leadley became the 22nd player to take the pitch for the Melville first team this season. Jordan Shaw and Adam Luque have returned to Wanderers Sports Club after failing to nail down places in the starting line-up.
Melville are at home to Bay Olympic on Saturday.
# Melville Reserves lost 2-0, with assistant coach Harry Trethowan called upon to have a run in the final 20.
# Melville Nobs beat Melville Mighty As 3-2 with two goals from Mitch Hyde and one from Gavin Douglas. Hyde’s first goal was a cracker as he brought down a typical Nobs long ball and finished at the near post. Douglas was more fortuitous with his goal, according to team spokesman Raj Nobdu, with a dodgy bounce putting him through one on one before finishing between Matt Wheatley’s legs. Mighty As remain second on the table, with Nobs improving to third. Richard Newell and Devon Williams scored for the Mighty As.
Melville Old Boys scored a much-needed 3-0 win over Cambridge under lights. Club secretary Scott Clark administered two first half goals with the same exactness that he shows with his outwards correspondence. But most talked about goal afterwards was Phil Wheatley’s second half effort, though the big man played it down, saying he wasn’t a hero – he was just doing his job up front.