A goal from Kevin Townson was not enough for the Melbourne Knights to hold on for their fourth win of the season after two quick goals from Bentleigh closed the game.
The Knights started the more attacking of the two sides and saw chances fall to Gazmend Ajdini and Kevin Townson, although both shot just wide.
It was good work through Ben Surey which fed through Adrian Zahra on the right wing which led to the Knights first goal in the 17th minute. The agile winger sped past his marker to pin point a cross onto the head of Kevin Townson who made a superb run into the area from deep in midfield, meeting the ball at the back post to put the Knights in front. One – nil and it looked as though Bentleigh had no answers for a speedy Knights side who were attacking in droves and seemed to be opening the game up and threatening to open the floodgates. To Bentleigh’s credit though they absorbed the pressure and equalised only six minutes later against the run of play. An Alex Rojas ball floated from a set piece just inside the Bentleigh attacking half saw Knights keeper Ante Loncaric hesitate in getting to the ball to clear the danger – giving Luke Fitzpatrick the opportunity to flick his header past the Knights custodian who was stuck in no man’s land. The Knights kicked off and tried to continue with their slick possession play but it all came unstuck only four minutes later when Bentleigh leading goal scorer Dado Lokvancic shot a speculative effort from just outside the box to Loncaric’s far left corner which the keeper initially kept out – with former Heidelberg midfielder Anthony Ouliaris having the easiest of tap ins to but the Greens in front. The Knights were down 2-1 and seemingly had done little wrong. The final part of the first half saw both teams tussle for ascendancy although neither could add to the scoresheet with the Knights sorely missing the movement of Jean Charles Dubois who was out due to suspension.
The second half began with the Knights pushing forward to try and pry the game from Bentleigh’s grip who really shut down at half time in the hope of a positive result. Knights keeper Loncaric did have some work to do in the 65th when Lokvancic should have doubled Bentleigh’s lead from a low cross which he connected nicely but Loncaric’s foot kept the ball out of the net.
The Knights were then sprung into life with Jacob Colosimo coming off for Anthony Colosimo, which saw winger Ajdini take his place as the main striker but his movement was not good enough to force a mistake from a solid Bentleigh defence.
Bryan Bran should have equalled the score in the 86th minute when the ball fell to his feet directly in front of goal, his volley from 5 metres out saw Bentleigh defender Sam de Vito lunge and put his body in the path of the ball which deflected and went out for a corner.
The loss sees the Knights drop two places on the table to ninth – setting up a 6 pointer against 7th placed side Nortcote City away next week. The Round 10 match of the VPL on Sunday the 9th of May coincides with Mother’s day and as such Northcote is offering all females free entry to the game. Kick off is at 3pm at John Cain Reserve.
Melbourne Knights: Antony LONCARIC, Ryan FILIPOVIC, Ben SUREY, Anthony BRAN, Liam CANNELL, Josip MAGDIC, Kevin TOWNSON, Adrian ZAHRA, Thomas SKARA, Jacob COLOSIMO, Gazmend AJDINI. Subs: Anthony COLOSIMO, Michael GRGIC, Ivica PRAIZ, Matthew VRBEC.
Bentleigh Greens: Craig SMART, Sam DE VITO, Craig METCALFE, Taxiarhis APOSTOLIKAS, Alex ROJAS, Anthony OULIARIS, Jack WEBSTER, Dean PIEMONTE, Clifford HENRY, Damir LONVANCIC, Luke FITZPATRICK. Subs: George STAVRIDIS, Con ANTHOPOULOS, Adam FADLJEVIC, Johnny SAPAZOVSKI.