Oh brother – Richards boys rack up goals

The Richards brothers potted a goal apiece as Melville gave themselves a much-needed injection of confidence with a 5-0 home win over first division Waitemata in the second round of the Chatham Cup.

It was Melville’s biggest home win since beating Claudelands Rovers 7-0 at the same stage of the Cup in 2019. It was also Melville’s first win of any description in six weeks and their first goals for four weeks.

And there were plenty of other milestones notched in the process.

Right back Raheem Hunter-Ali scored his maiden goal – close range from a free kick – to settle Melville nerves and establish a 1-0 half time lead.

Perhaps more notable though, Kieran and Ethan Richards became the first two brothers in the history of the club to both come off the bench, score cracking goals – and be booked.

For 17-year-old Ethan, a product of the Melville Academy, it was a wonderful goal on debut. Waitemata cleared the ball from a corner to him just outside the area and he fired it home first time with a low right-foot volley in the 77th minute, five minutes after being subbed on.

Two minutes before Ethan’s goal, 20-year-old Kieran also netted a classic, lobbing aptly-named Waitemata keeper Lobsang Sherpa from wide on the left. It was his first goal of the season.

Kieran Richards, right, is congratulated on his goal by Quinton Kipara.

Ryen Lawrence also nabbed his first goal for Melville with a neatly taken right-foot effort after cutting in from the left flank.

Ryen Lawrence (right) opened his goalscoring account with a very tidy finish.

Melville’s other goal came with Moh Reynolds tapping home from close range.

Goalkeeper Joe Knowles became one of Melville’s younger first team debutants, when he started in goal, aged 16 years, 7 months. He kept a clean sheet, with top top-drawer saves and words of praise from usual numero uno, Max Tommy, who was on the bench.

Joe Knowles kept a clean sheet on debut in goal.

“It’s a big deal to keep a clean sheet on debut,” Tommy said. “One of his saves was the equivalent of saving a penalty.”

Waitemata gave a good account of themselves considering they are in the bottom third of the first division and for a spell in the first half even dominated possession.

Melville coach Sam Wilkinson was pleased with his team.

“The cup can be a great leveller,” he said, in noting how Ngaruawahia had toppled West Coast Rangers, and another premier league outfit, Wanderers Sports Club, needed penalties to get past east Coast Bays. “We’ve scored five crackers and that is something we can take into the next few games.

“The league is our focus but a good cup run can assist.”

Melville are away to Manukau United on Saturday. Manukau play Claudelands Rovers in the Cup at Galloway Park on Monday

Melville: Joe Knowles, Raheem Hunter-Ali, Aaron Scott, Campbell Brown, Quinton Kipara, Liam Molloy (Leslie Kivolyn), Logan Wisnewski, Ryen Lawrence, Lachie McIsaac, Joel McMullan (Kieran Richards), Moh Reynolds (Ethan Richards).

# Former Melville AFC striker Thomas (Tommy) Finnegan has died in Tauranga after a long illness. Finnegan, 69, was a striker with electrifying pace who played for Melville in the late 1970s and early 80s alongside current team manager Steve Bettis. He was a member of the Melville squad which first contested the northern league in 1982. A minute’s silence was held at the start of Melville’s Chatham Cup tie, also noting the recent death of Stu Rose, father of former Melville first-teamer Harry Rose.

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