A ten man Melbourne Knights suffered its biggest loss of the season being on the end of a humiliating 6-0 thrashing from the Oakleigh Cannons at Knights Stadium.
It is two consecutive NPL losses for the struggling Knights who have been winless in the league for the past month, pushing the side just dangerously above the relegation zone.
The wet conditions on a cold Friday night made for a difficult match for both sides which led to a scrappy game of football, one which the Knights ended up practically conceding to Oakleigh in the opening minutes via a moment of madness.
It was on the 4th minute when Knights goalkeeper Fraser Chalmers misjudged his attempted clearance as he completely missed the ball, allowing Nate Foster through with only an open goal ahead of him. Chalmers cynically brought down Foster, drawing a straight red for the last man challenge and conceding the penalty. It is the second red card of the season for the Knights keeper.
Gabriel Matti was thrown into the deep end for his senior debut as he put on the gloves for the Knights, though there was not much he could do against the expertly taken penalty from Oakleigh veteran Dusan Bosnjak who gave the visitors the lead.
Despite this early setback the Knights surprisingly dominated the next 20 minutes of the game, creating a number of very good chances which could have brought them back into the match.
On the 12th minute a long ball from Jason Hicks found Elvis Kamsoba who with a brilliant touch turned his marker, giving himself space as he let rip at goal forcing a good save from the Oakleigh keeper John Honos.
Barely a minute later the Knights should have equalised as a through ball to Danny Dixon found him right in front of goal with all the time in the world, however the Knights winger sent the ball straight into the body of Honos. A Kamsoba follow up sent the ball sailing over the crossbar.
Dixon again found himself with another opportunity on the 22nd minute after being released into the box by Kamsoba. Dixon under pressure from a defender was forced into a tighter angle as his eventual shot was parried away by a diving save from Honos.
Oakleigh having survived the Knights pressure doubled their lead on the 31st minute, a defence splitting run from Bosnjak saw him send the ball across the face of goal to a waiting Goran Zoric at the far post for an easy tap in.
The second half saw Oakleigh runaway with the match against a clearly demoarlised Knights. It did not take long after the restart for Oakleigh to extend their lead further, with that man Bosnjak again causing havoc as he came out on top in a one-on-one against Matti, slotting the ball home.
Zoric almost made it 4-0 for the visitors on the 66th minute, the Oakleigh midfielder had the Knights keeper beaten as his shot slammed against the woodwork.
In the closing minutes of the match Oakleigh ran riot against a Knights side that had given up, first scoring on the 82nd minute via former Knights player Dimitri Hatzimouratis and then a 5th goal from yet another former Knights players Shayan Alinejad on the 90 minute mark.
It did not end there as one final goal came 2 minutes into stoppage time. Matti came off his line to clear the incoming ball, it ended up being a poor clearance with the ball finding its way to the feet of Bosnjak who, with a cheeky lob from outside the box, sent the ball over the top of everyone and into the back of the net to complete his hattrick.
The devastating 6-0 loss is made that much worse when placed into historical context, not only is it the biggest loss the club has ever had at Knights Stadium which opened in 1989, it is also the biggest home defeat in the entire 64 year history of the club in league football.
This poor run of form for the Knights cannot come at a worse time for the club with only a short turnaround for its next clash in the FFA Cup qualifiers this coming Wednesday against sister club Dandenong City at the Frank Holohan Soccer Complex. Kick-off is at 7:30pm.