Sean slid home the equaliser

Super stopper Sean “Slids” Liddicoat snared his first goal for Melville as the Unicorns eked out their first point of the season in northern premier league football with a 1-1 away draw to Bay Olympic.

Liddicoat, signed in February on a 10-year contract, is in his first season with Melville and made his gruelling twice-weekly haul over the Kaimais worthwhile when he starred with an excellent 85th minute equaliser at Olympic Park.

Liddicoat, playing at right back, connected with a ball rolled square from the left, and from just outside the area deftly found the bottom left-hand corner to salvage a dearly needed point for Melville.

“I just sniffed it,” Liddicoat said. “I don’t score too many and was further forward than usual, so it was great to see it go in.”

In their last such meeting with Bay Olympic the Unicorns won 2-0 to make the Chatham Cup final. While there wasn’t quite the same joy at the result on this occasion, bringing a point home was at least a small consolation after five previously barren matches.

Earlier Liddicoat could have been cast as villain after referee Allen Wilson adjudged him to have handled in the box after a cross hit him on the shoulder with his arms by his side. It was not quite in the same preposterous category as having a penalty retake turned into a defensive indirect free kick, but still an incredibly tough call for Melville.

But Max Tommy earned his corn by saving the spot kick, diving to his left midway through the first half to tip the ball onto the post and clear. Cries of “Justice” could be heard from the sidelines.

Max Tommy executes his second successive penalty save for Melville.

Tommy made several other super saves to be named Melville’s man of the match.

Bay Olympic went ahead just before halftime, when Ryan Cain turned the ball home from close range after a low cross from the left.

It was a reminder there is much for Melville to work on. A lot of the passing, particularly in midfield in the first half, was plain sloppy.

Levi Clark hit the post with a strong first half shot, and had two other good shooting chances.

Kieran Richards returned to action in a slightly deeper role, behind Jama Boss, having his first outing for Melville since 2018.

Melville Reserves lost 0-2.

Melville are at home to Waitakere City – beaten 0-2 by Western Springs – on Saturday. In the evening there is a fundraising Toga Party at the club, entry $5.

# Worrying sign for Melville’s northern premier league survival was seeing Melville Old Boys surge to the top of Waikato Men’s Div 4 with a 5-1 win over Northern United. The last time the Old Boys won a league, the first team were relegated. Feature of their latest win was Phil Wheatley scoring a penalty – only to somehow injure himself in the process and having to limp off.

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