It was a tale of two halves for the Knights, as the side fell short and suffered back-to-back losses over the weekend, this time at the hands of Avondale FC. After a strong second half showing, the Knights were unable to recover from a poor first half, as the Avengers claimed all three points, giving them the coveted second place position as the race towards the finals really ramps up.
Jordan Gifkins returned between the sticks for the Knights, with reserve keeper Thomas Skoff getting a call up to the senior side, as Harry Cakarun was ineligible for selection after sustaining an injury during training.
— Melbourne Knights FC (@MelbKnights) August 4, 2018
Gusty conditions present for the entirety of the match made it difficult for both sides to get a proper handle on long range balls.
With the whistle blown, the Avengers looked to dominate early in the match. The Knights were able to catch the home side unaware right after kick off thanks to a well-timed play between Tomislav Uskok, Kym Harris and Nate Foster, which saw the latter in front of goal unopposed. Foster launched a shot on goal, but the shot went well above the crossbar and out of danger for the home side.
The opening minutes went by without much fanfare for the Knights, who conceded their first of three goals in the first half, in the 20th minute, thanks to a bullet by the likes of Liam Boland. Knights keeper Jordan Gifkins made the leap but it was all in vein as Boland put his laces through the ball with purpose, giving his side the lead.
The Knights looked to quickly counter with a goal of their own as Foster made a dash onto goal after being released by a long-range ball from skipper Marijan Cvitkovic. Foster crossed the ball in, but the ball was taken out of play quickly by Avondale.
The home side caused further insult to injury by going three-up in the span of four minutes, as former Knight Elvis Kamsoba and Kaine Sheppard proved to be a deadly forward combination. In the 30th minute, Kamsoba delivered a through-ball to the feet of Sheppard, who was composed and put it between the posts. Four minutes later, the duo teamed up again, as Kamsoba and Sheppard made a run forward, with Sheppard virtually unopposed in front of goal.
To the delight of Knights fans in attendance, Knights were able to at least salvage a goal right before half time, as Cvitkovic tapped a ball in after being fed by Harris who was cutting in from the wing.
The second half was an entirely different matter. Whatever coach Aljosa Asanovic said to his men during the half time break obviously had severe effect, as the Knights bursted off the starting blocks with a dominant second half showing. With a mountain of work in front of them, the Knights got themselves back into the match after an expertly struck free kick by none other than club captain Marijan Cvitkovic, giving keeper Chris Oldfield no hope of saving the shot.
With the Avengers lead slipping, Boland again found himself on the scorecard after being in the right place at the right time, receiving a pass into the box from Evan Christodoulou, and tapping it into goal.
The Knights had a final reply to their hosts after Tommy Uskok found the back of the net in the 71st minute. However, it was all too late as Avondale’s first half showing proved to be too much for the visitors to overcome.
With a stroke of luck, by rounds end the Knights have not slipped down the ladder, remaining in 7th position, just one spot outside the top six. With only three matches remaining, the Knights will have to fight hard and get the results in their remaining games in order to be seriously considered for finals.
Round 24 sees the Knights back at home, this time to face off against Port Melbourne SC, who will be looking to dish some revenge on the Knights after losing to them at home 2-0 back in Round 11.
Please note that this weekend’s clash has been changed from Sunday afternoon to Friday night at the family-friendly hour 7.30pm. Come along and support the Knights as the season enters its final stages.