Waiheke were hit hard by illness and injury before travelling to Gower Park, Hamilton, to take on high-flying Melville United. Three weeks ago Waiheke produced a sensational upset away over Melville in the Chatham Cup but sadly there was no repeat of those heroics. From the opening whistle it was clear Melville were primed for revenge and although Waiheke’s makeshift team battled hard they trailed 3-0 at the break.
Melville had attacked with verve and precision and, in the 55th minute the hosts rubbed salt in Waiheke’s wounds with another well-worked team goal. Two minutes later midfielder Gaspar Mena gave Waiheke hope of an unlikely comeback with a sweet strike from outside the box – but sadly it wasn’t to be.
The 4-1 loss leaves Waiheke needing a miracle in their last five league games to avoid relegation but for the moment the team will focus on this Saturday’s mouth-watering home Chatham Cup quarter-final against Eastern Suburbs.
It was also a tough day at the office for the Reserves as they were hammered 8-1 by their Melville counterparts.
The first half was tight and keenly contested, and a fine goal from captain Claudio Amad left the match evenly poised at 1-1 at the halftime break. Unfortunately, the second half was one-way traffic as Waiheke simply had no answer to Melville’s pace, power and poise in front of goal. Despite the scoreline there are still plenty of positives for the Reserves. This young team fought to the end, showed bravery against tough opposition and will have learned a lot about the step up to Senior football.