MELBOURNE Knights ran out 1-0 winners over Richmond at Knights Stadium on Sunday afternoon courtesy of a second half Marijan Cvitkovic goal.
In a fairly lacklustre first half with minimal opportunities for both sides, Cvitkovic ensured Knights would remain in the top four with his 78th minute winner.
The hosts had the better of the opportunities in the first part of the contest although the slippery and windy conditions made it difficult for all involved on the pitch.
Sam Torrens had the first chance of the game at the 17th minute mark when he fired new signing Milan Batur’s cross straight over the crossbar.
The best opportunity of the half, however, came just before halftime when Jacob Colosimo latched onto William McLachlan’s cross, his attempt at goal sliding just wide of the upright.
At the resumption of the second half, captain Adam Zilic once again nearly had his name on the scoresheet after slipping his shot through Aaron Romein’s legs, but he was ruled offside.
Richmond tried desperately to get itself a share of possession in the second half and was close to taking a surprising lead after Thomas Cahill’s free kick from the edge of the box curled just over the cross bar.
Chris May, who was hardly troubled in the first half, managed to pull off a wonderful save at the 60th minute mark after Petar Franjic’s header looked to be heading on target.
After being unable to make the most of a number of great chances throughout the game, Jacob Colosimo was replaced by youngster Christopher Talajic who seemed to provide a breath of fresh air for the hosts.
His pace and skill caused some trouble for the Richmond defence and nearly resulted in an opener for the Knights when he sent a cross into McLachlan who shot into the side netting.
After a frustrating 70 minutes, the Knights finally breathed a sigh of relief when Cvitkovic slotted home his winner from close range following some great work from substitute Josh Berrios.
There were a few nervy final moments when Zilic gave away a free kick in a dangerous position with only minutes remaining on the clock, however Mate Eterovic’s attempt was cleared to safety by Ljubo Milicevic and the Knights were able to hold on for their sixth win of the season.
The 1-0 win saw the Knights claim the Victorian Friendship Cup, played between the two sides both celebrating their 60th year anniversaries this season.
Knights’ task gets a little trickier next week when they take on an undefeated Northcote City at Knights Stadium on Sunday, while Richmond plays host to Dandenong Thunder on Friday night.
FINAL SCORE: Melbourne Knights 1-0 Richmond at Knights Stadium.
Under 21s – Melbourne Knights 2-4 Richmond
Melbourne Knights: Chris MAY, Ryan FILIPOVIC, Adam ZILIC, Ljubo MILICEVIC, James McGARRY, William McLACHLAN, Jacob COLOSIMO (Christopher TALAJIC 67′), Marijan CVITKOVIC (Michael SIMMS 90′), Milan BATUR, Ben SUREY, Sam TORRENS (Josh BERRIOS 62′)
Unused subs: Matthew HRASTOV
Goals: Cvitkovic 78′
Yellow Cards: Milicevic 79′
Richmond: Aaron ROMEIN, Erhan KARAHAN, Petar FRANJIC, Hamlet ARMENIAN, Mate ETEROVIC, Kliment TASESKI (Josh GROENWALD 45′), Sam SHEPHERD, Enes SIVIC, Giddie SWEET (Nicholas KROUSORATIS 74′), Tim PURCELL, Thomas CAHILL (Ari RITZ 80′)
Subs: Micahel JONES, Michael STARK
Yellow Cards: Karahan 79′ Purcell 79′
MoM: Ben Surey (MK)