Melbourne Knights succumbed to a 2-0 defeat against arch rivals South Melbourne in the latest instalment of the Original Melbourne Derby.
Andrew Marth was forced into a number of changes for the fixture, with last Thursday’s extra-time win in the FFA Cup clearly taking its toll. Marijan Cvitkovic and Joshua Brekalo were missing through injury after featuring in the cup, replaced by Tim Purcell and Nikola Jurkovic.
Goalkeeper Fraser Chalmers was also feeling the effects of last Thursday’s win, and required assistance taking goal kicks. The custodian was called into action in just the 7th minute, palming away an effort from Epifano.
Melbourne Knights took control of the match from the 10th minute mark, and had numerous chances to open the scoring in a dominant opening half.
On another day Jason Hicks could have had a hat trick in 15 minutes, as the New Zealander spurned 3 glaring chances to open the scoring.
Having being played through by Kamsoba, Hicks’ option to turn onto his left foot allowed enough time for Tim Mala to deny him with a lunging block. Just five minutes later and an error from defender Michael Eagar saw Hicks win possession on the left flank before driving his effort just over the crossbar. Another three minutes later, Danny Dixon’s lung busting run down the left flank wasn’t rewarded as Hicks scuffed his shot wide.
Dixon forced Roganovic into a fine save, before Kamsoba came the closest to opening the scoring in the 40th minute striking the base of the post.
Melbourne Knights had amassed 8 shots on goal to just 1 of South Melbourne at this point and were than dealt the ultimate ‘sucker-punch’. Just as South Melbourne was camped in their own half, a clearance found its way to Milos Lujic who spotted Chalmers off his line, chipping the goalkeeper from approximately 30 yards.
The Knights still had two more chances to equalise before the break, with Jurkovic’ effort from a tight angle went agonisingly across goal, before Tom Cahill’s free kick drew a good save from Rognanovic.
If the goal in the 41st minute was disheartening, than South Melbourne doubling their advantage just 3 minutes later was demoralising. The home side won a contentious free kick on the edge of the box which was expertly slotted home by Marcus Schroen.
Schroen almost doubled his goal tally early in the second half, striking the woodwork after winning possession on the right flank.
South Melbourne were content to hold onto their lead however, as the Knights looked to tire with the aftereffects of extra time on Thursday clearly taking its toll.
Danny Dixon’s free kick in the 65th minute struck the crossbar, signalling that this wasn’t to be for the Knights despite a valiant effort.
The loss sees the Knights slip to 9th position on the table, with a crucial fixture at home to Oakleigh Cannons this Friday night.
SHOTS: MK 13 SM 8
TARGET: MK 3 SM 5
CORNERS: MK 10 SM 2
Melbourne Knights: 1.Fraser CHALMERS, 4.Ben SUREY, 5.Damien MISKULIN (7.Robert ZADWORNY 60′), 6.Milan BATUR, 11.Nikola JURKOVIC, 12.Anthony DEZIC (2.Luke JURCIC 78′), 13.Tom CAHILL, 15.Danny DIXON, 16.Jason HICKS, 23.Timmy PURCELL, 27.Elvis KAMSOBA.
Not Used: 20.Gabriel MATTI, 14.Marcelo DE LE PLAZA.
South Melbourne: 1.Nikola ROGANOVIC, 2.Tim MALA, 4.Michael EAGER, 5.Luke ADAMS, 7.Nicholas EPIFANO, 9.Milos LUJIC, 11.Bradley NORTON, 17.Marcus SCHROEN (8.Luke PAVLOU 89′), 18.Matthew MILLAR, 23.Matthew FOSCHINI (6.Liam MCCORMICK 93′), 27.Leigh MINOPOULOS (15.Jesse DALEY 79′).
Not Used: 21. Ziam ZANELLI, 26.Carl PIERGIANNI.
Goals. Milos LUJIC 41′, Marcus SCHROEN 45′.