Nat nuts another one: Give us Mora that
WEEKEND WRAP UPDATED: Melville Premier women’s skipper, natty Nat Mora (above), nutted home a second half header to secure a hard-fought 1-0 away win over Tokoroa.
This was Mora’s fifth header from a corner this season, a remarkable record for a central midfielder who is not the tallest poppy in the Prems.
Team mate Jackie Pretswell believed Mora had taken great inspiration from being among the 95,000 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground as Argentina beat Brazil 1-0 on Friday. In that game a Higuain header hit the post to set up the win, and fellow traveller Pretswell said Mora had seamlessly channelled the lessons of Melbourne to a small rustic pitch at Strathmore Park, Tokoroa.
“It’s not easy arriving at Auckland Airport at 2am on Sunday and then having to be off again by 8am to get to Tokoroa, so full credit to Nat for keeping her head,” said a similarly jet-lagged Pretswell.
Other features of the game – which Melville could easily have lost – were three brilliant saves by keeper Yvette Stevenson, and the return from injury of Clare MacKintosh.
Victory took Melville Prems to just a point behind Cambridge in second place in the Waikato A division.
Meanwhile in an unexpected turn of events, the Melville Women’s Development team shattered the Cambridge women’s impressive winning and goal-scoring streak with a 0-0 draw at Gower Park. Cambridge had won all seven competition games by considerable score-lines prior to the match against Melville Development.
With central defender Leilani Fellowes absent, Melville Development took a risk and repositioned experienced striker Sarah Mete into the sweeper role.
Despite having never played in the backline, Sarah stepped up to the challenge and “enjoyed the satisfaction of spoiling Cambridge’s party”.
Melville Defenders, Jessie Begbie-Hall, Laura Davidson, Brig Ravera and Sharleen Murray were also merciless in breaking down the Cambridge attack.
The second half of the match was a mirror image of the first half. Both teams worked tirelessly for 90 minutes to keep possession and send quality through balls for the midfield and strikers. Cambridge were close to netting the ball on a few occasions, but Melville’s keeper, Emma Clarke and the Melville defenders were quick to cut down the angles of the shots on goal.
As Melville undertook a defensive approach, it was challenging to attack with full-force; however, strikers Summer Gunn, Jana Furlan and Victoria Hicks had a created several opportunities to score – only to be blocked by an experienced Cambridge keeper.
Although it was frustrating not to secure a win, Melville Development were thrilled to be the first team not to concede against Cambridge.
Clarke was voted Player’s Player of the Day, as well as Coaches Player of the Day.
# Melville Feds snatched a much-needed last-gasp 1-1 home draw with Rotorua United, in a game where Avi Raju was making his managerial debut in the absence of Norm Rose. Ahmed Abdi scored in the 91st minute to give the Feds their third draw of the season.
# Melville Nobs (New Old Boys) came a cropper for the first time this season, losing 5-1 away to a Matt Williams-inspired Ngaruawahia.
The result means Melville lead the division by three points, but Ngaruwahia have a game in hand.
The loss was also a blow to the coaching credentials of Gav Douglas, who had previously been mentioned in the same sentence as Sam Wilkinson and Michael Mayne, in terms of being an emerging gaffer.
“We had a lot of players out – and they had a lot of players in,” Douglas said.
# Melville Gobs (Genuine Old Boys) claimed bragging rights, though had modestly little to brag about, after a 5-2 derby win over bottom-placed Melville Knights.
While Rob Orchard was fruitful with two goals, and Matt Leaver and Brooke McDonald also got on the scoresheet for the Gobs, the real conversation piece was a rare successful free kick from player-coach Stu Timings.
Timings insists on taking all the Gobs free kicks – just because he can – and on this occasion was rewarded with what was arguably the worst goalscoring free kick ever.
Timings miskicked an inexplicable left footer, and though it dribbled towards goal, a dire goalkeeping error meant he effectively turned a lemon into lemonade, as the ball made it over the line. Rob Dunnigan scored for the Knights.
The other talking point was Tony Govorko’s colourful purple goalkeeping kit. Some spectators thought it made him look like Jeff Fatt from The Wiggles. But Detective Superintendent Neil Mouncher insisted that if he was running one of his dodgy Huntly identity parades, Tony would easily be mistaken for Tinky Winky, the oldest and largest of the Teletubbies.
Govorko took that as a huge honour, noting Tinky Winky was the only fictional character to make the inaugural “Happy List”, alongside 99 real-life adults recognised for making the world a better and happier place.
“For all of Neil’s football heritage, I don’t think anyone has ever accused him of making Gower Park a happier place,” Govorko said.
# Melville Ds continued their title charge with a 4-1 home win over Claudelands Overstayers.
The Ds are now nine points clear at the top, after second-placed Waikato Unicol lost, but with other teams having games in hand.
Mitchell Eason scored a nice second half header, while the other goals came from Ryan Watson, Henry Goodall and Sharnden Jeram.
“It was our best all-round game of the season,” said D-lighted Melville coach Alan “Hairy Javelin” Holt. He named Taylor Clement as player of the day.
# In the Federation U14 derby under lights on Gower 2 on Monday night Melville Green came from 3-2 down with seven minutes to play to win 4-3.