It was a momentous occasion at Knights Stadium as club captain Marijan Cvitkovic celebrated his 100th appearance for Melbourne Knights FC. The stage was set as another balmy evening rolled across Somers St for the Round two NPL Victoria clash against league leaders Pascoe Vale FC. Asanovic’s men had been preparing all week for a physical match, however, things took a turn for the worst with multiple bookings and goals against the home side.
Following our round one clash against Oakleigh Cannons, Louis Fenton and Tomislav Uskok were unavailable to play, joining Ben Surey and Milan Batur on the injury list. Josh Brekalo returned from injury and was included in the substitutes for the match at hand.
— Melbourne Knights FC (@MelbKnights) March 2, 2018
The clash between the Melbourne Knights and Pascoe Vale promised to be entertaining from the outset, however things quickly soured as the Knights were reduced to 10 men within the first five minutes of the match.
After winning a free kick, Shaun Timmins instinctively reacted to a shove from Pascoe Vale’s Philippe Bernabo-Madrid, striking Bernabo-Madrid in the face, well within the referee’s sights and consequently Timmins was awarded an instant red, reducing the Knights to 10 men.
Things went from bad to worse when Knights midfielder Anthony Dezic was adjudged to have made a foul which forced down an advancing Bernabo-Madrid in the box, awarding Pascoe Vale FC with a penalty. It didn’t take much for key forward Davey Van’t Schip to convert from the spot and slot the ball past Harry Cakarun to give the visitors a 1-0 leading in the 29th minute.
Van’t Schip proved to be dangerous against the Knights throughout the match, finding his way into attacking positions in and around the 6-yard box. After receiving a deep ball from Abascal Munoz, Van’t Schip bounded his way to goal only to be meet by Knights defender Nikola Jurkovic, who made a late challenge on the forward and being presented with his first yellow for the match, giving the Knights a total of 3 yellow cards in 35 minutes.
Right before half time, in the 43rd minute, an equalizer came for the Knights, not in the form of a goal but rather a sending off for Pascoe Vale FC. A well delivered ball from Nate Foster saw Kym Harris chase the ball toward goal with barely anything in his way. However, a charge from behind by Pascoe Vales Ethan Docherty clipped Harris at the heels and forced him down. Docherty, for his efforts received a red card and an instant dismissal, leveling the sides to 10 men each.
Once the second half was underway, it didn’t take long for the Knights to equalize with a goal of their own. A loose ball crossed into the box from a corner taken by club Captain Marijan Cvitkovic, wasn’t dealt with by Pascoe Vale, and found its way to Caleb Mikulic, who back heeled the ball past Pascoe Vale keeper Yaren Sozer to give the Knights their equalizer.
The Knights took control of the game until the 75th minute, when Knights defender Jurkovic, already sitting on one yellow card, brushed shoulders with Van’t Schip, forcing him down and collecting a second yellow card for dissent, reducing the Knights to 9 men, much to the boos of the home support
It seemed like the Knights would hold on for at least a point until the 84th minute, when a poor pass from substitute Tim Purcell was ultimately collected by Van’t Schip, who was able to slot it past the Knights back line, right to the feet of Osmancevic, who passed it back to Bernabo-Madrid and then onto goal, giving Pascoe Vale a 2-1 lead right before full time.
The final nail in the coffin for the Knights came in extra time, when a last-ditch effort to level the score saw Knights keeper Harry Cakarun join his teammates for a corner set piece. Cvitkovic delivered the ball to the head of Cakarun, but the ball went loose and fell to feet Knights youngster Adrian Tardio who was dispossessed, allowing Pascoe Vale to clear the ball, forcing Cakarun to sprint towards his unattended goal. Harry’s effort, however, was in vain as the ball was ultimately tapped into the unattended goal by Van’t Schip, giving the forward a brace and rounding out the match’s final score of 3-1 to the visitors.
The Knights next face Northcote City for their first away match of the season. With a new week ahead, the lads will no doubt be looking to put this loss behind them and focus on the task at a hand: getting the 3 points on the road.