A piece of Jean Dubois brilliance has earnt the Melbourne Knights a draw against a resilient Dandenong Thunder lineup.
The Knights, as with most games – controlled the tempo of the encounter with their well oiled passing game. It was the inclusion of that man Dubois into the first eleven which really changed the dynamic of the squad, together with fellow countryman Damien Gleize who arrived from France earlier in the year but has been hampered by injury.
The Knights went on to the attack immediately with the diminutive Kevin Townson proving a real headache for the Dandenong back four, almost making his way past the entire defence in the eighth minute.
Dandenong also had chances of their own in the first stanza. Hamlet Armenian could have opened the scoring only minutes later when he received a great ball at the far side of the box, but debutant Knights goalkeeper Sebastian Mattei read the play expertly to meet Armenian on the bounce and smother the ball out for a throw.
Dandenong did end up drawing first blood in the 14th minute when a Scott Bulloch shot was parried by Mattei into the path of an advancing and unmarked Korcarevski who slotted past the outstretched custodian who did well to recover but was not expected to save from such close range. The Knights defence were left flat footed from the shot which gave the Thunder captain all the time in the world to pick a side and put his team in front.
The Knights woke from their slumber and in doing so forced Dandenong to retreat into their defensive third, giving the Knights much of the possession. The majority of the ball however did not equate to a Knights equaliser and Dandenong went into the break 1-0 up.
The Knights came out from the break intent to steal the draw, but more importantly the win. Coach Ivan Duzel’s intent was clear to see when substituting winger Gleize for striker Jacob Colosimo in the 70th minute, as well as taking off sweeper Daniel Rocco for attacker Gazmend Ajdini in the 81st. The gamble had paid off and the momentum had well and truly swung into the Knights’ favour in a flurry of activity in the closing stages of the match.
Ajdini could have scored against his old side with his first touch, advancing towards goal and a looping Dubois through ball. It would have taken the slightest of touches to redirect the ball into the net but the attacker read the ball poorly and missed completely.
It was the never say die attitude of Dubois and the Knights which sealed the final goal of the match and ultimately, the draw. A hopeful ball from Kevin Townson into the box was cleared, then sent back into the box by Ben Surey. It was almost in slow motion as the hopes of so many Knights fans hinged on the slim chance of an opening to goal. Cult-figure Dubois, with his back to goal, instinctively scissor kicked the ball past Thunder keeper Webster to send the Knights fans in raptures – while Dandenong’s usually vocal faithful were relegated to leaving early after seeing their side lose two points in such heartbreaking fashion.
The Knights take on Heidelberg this Sunday, away from home at 5pm in yet another 6 pointer for both sides. Heidelberg beat fellow struggler Sunshine George Cross 2-1 at home to make it two wins on the trot. The Knights now move to 9 points on the table, ahead of Dandenong on goal difference and currently sit in 8th spot on the ladder.
21. Sebastien Mattei, 4. Ben Surey, 5. Anthony Bran, 6. Daniel Rocco (19. Gazmend Ajdini 83’), 7. Liam Cannell, 8. Josip Magdic, 11. Kevin Townson, 12. Adrian Zahra, 13. Thomas Skara, 14. Jean Dubois (15. Anthony Colosimo 91’), 18. Damien Gleize (16. Jacob Colosimo 68’).
Goals: Dubois 90’.
30. Stuart Webster, 6. Levent Osman, 15. Noel Bahnsen, 17. Jeff Bright, 13. Shane Rexhepi, 14. Aron Wilford, 16. Ryan Davidson, 20. Scott Bulloch, 18. Ibraim Ibraimi (3. Marcus Storgiopoulos 75’), 9. Veton Korcarevski, 7. Hamlet Armenian.
Goals: Korcarevski 13’