Melbourne Knights succumbed to its second straight 3-1 defeat, this time at the hands of the Oakleigh Cannons on a lacklustre Friday night at Knights Stadium.
With Ben Surey and Nikola Jurkovic missing due to suspension, and James McGarry still out with a knee complaint, the last thing Andrew Marth could have wished for was an injury to goalkeeper Fraser Chalmers during the warm ups.
Despite the initial set-backs, Knights began the game creating the better of the chances. Joshua Brekelo headed an early effort wide, before Marijan Cvitkovic saw his close range effort deflect narrowly wide.
Dusan Bosnjak capitalised on a slip in the defence to slot home the opening goal past a helpless O’Farrell in the 11th minute. The goal appeared to zap any confidence the home side had, as the Cannons quickly added to their lead.
Dean Piemonte reacted the quickest following a punch clear from O’Farrell to drive home into an empty net.
Two down became three on the half hour mark. An unchallenged run from former Knight Steve Pantelidis started a swift counter attack from the visitors with another former player Dimitri Hatzimouratis volleying home from close range.
Jason Hicks almost pulled one back in the 37th minute, when his shot from the edge of the area drifted agonisingly past the far upright with the ‘keeper well beaten. Just minutes later Andrijasevic’s cut-back from the byline to Cvitkovic was thwarted by Pantelidis before the former could get finish from close range.
Coming back from the main interval, the Knights pushed from an early goal to work their way back into the contest.
A Hicks corner was headed on target from Andrijasevic with Cannons keeper John Honos unconvincingly parrying away. Andrijasevic then provided Hicks with a shooting opportunity from a tight angle inside the box, with Honos this time saving well at his near post.
Andrew Marth emptied his bench bringing on youngsters Dezic, Jurcic and Mikulic in an attempt to inject some enthusiasm into the game.
The move paid off in the 78th minute, when Dezic and Jurcic combined to set up Nick Glavan with a well worked goal.
Things could have been interesting had Katiforis’ header just four minutes later from Hicks’ corner produced a goal, however ultimately the come-back rarely looked like happening.
Andrew Marth’s men will have no time to dwell on this result, as they take on the Cannons on Tuesday night in the FFA Cup at Jack Edwards Reserve.
In the under 21’s the Melbourne Knights recorded an emphatic 5-0 win.
Shots: MK 11 OC 12
Target: MK5 OC 8
Corners: MK4 OC 6
Melbourne Knights Squad: 1.O’Farrell, 3.Grgic, 5.Batur, 9.Colosimo, 10.Cvitkovic (2.Jurcic 61’), 13.Katiforis, 16.Hicks, 18.Brekalo, 19.Glavan, 21.Andrijasevic, (14.Mikulic 76’), 23.Purcell (14.Dezic 74’)
Goals: Glavan 78’.
Cautions: Hicks, Glavan, Brekalo.
Oakleigh Cannons Squad: 15.Honos, 4’D’Angelo, 6.Georgopoulos, 8.Bosnjak (Frame 70’), 10.Piemonte (Hameed 46’), 11.Hatimouratis, 12.Topalovic, 18.Pantelidis, 19.Zoric, 21.Okud, 26.Lambropoulos.
Goals: Bosnjak 11’, Piemonte 24’, Hatzimouratis
Cautions: Georgopoulos, D’Angelo.