Claudelands squandered a chance to go top of the WaiBOP W-League table, thanks to a strong defensive performance from Melville United, which resulted in a 0-0 draw.

In terms of performances, it was one of Claudelands worst of the season. They have only suffered two defeats this year against Whakatāne, and Melville United in the reverse fixture, however the performance on Sunday would rank as one of Claudelands' lowest.

Against Whakatāne the team was weakened through injury, yet there was fight. On Sunday against Melville United, Claudelands looked empty after 20 minutes. It was the first game of the season that Claudelands has failed to score.

Take nothing away from Melville United, they sit at the lower end of the table but have racked up draws against all of the league's big hitters. A strong defensive performance from them in the midfield and defence made them worthy of the draw.

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The first 20 minutes there was some good play from Claudelands. Player of the match for the home side, Lauren McErlean played a defence breaking pass over the top of the Melville defence, with Stella Neems making a good run off the ball, however the Melville defence stood strong and stifled the attack.

Charli Rose, on her first start for the premier team, made some excellent crosses and runs off the ball which will do no harm to her chances in the future.

Melville United kept Claudelands attack at bay for the majority of the match. Photo / Warren Jones
Melville United kept Claudelands attack at bay for the majority of the match. Photo / Warren Jones

After the first 20 minutes, the game began to turn flat for Claudelands. The intricate passing play that was so prominent against Pāpāmoa was non-existent, and Melville constantly made it difficult for Claudelands to play out.

When Claudelands did get their chances, they simply did not take them. Several shots in front of goals were missed, dancing on the ball, and misreading of situations made the game a scrappy affair.

For Melville United, they continue to upset the league and keep it a tight affair. Head coach Laichyn Parkinson asked his team to defend and his team rose to the occasion.

For Claudelands Rovers, they have two weeks to reflect. Pāpāmoa's draw against Tauranga means the latter only stays one point ahead of Claudelands, but this was a serious missed opportunity for Claudelands to return to the top of the table.

How Claudelands react to this slip-up could make or break their season.