A rare Sunday fixture took place at Knights Stadium as Round 22 rolled through, which saw the Knights face-off against Kingston City FC. City were able to, for the second time this season, get the edge over the Knights, first beating them in Kingston 1-0, and then following that up with a 2-1 win over the Knights this round. It was a disappointing finish for the home side, who have dropped crucial points in the lead up to potential finals football.
The starting 11 saw Jordan Gifkins return between the posts for the Knights, whilst international Andelo Svalina was again ruled out of playing contention due to an ongoing injury.
— Melbourne Knights FC (@MelbKnights) July 29, 2018
With gusty conditions present for the majority of the match, the Knights had the worst start possible, conceding a goal within the first two minutes of the match. After an ambitious long ball was launched forward onto City’s Alex Cangilia, Cangilia was able to dart past Luke Jurcic, finding some space and playing a ball forward to Oliver White, who can be said was in the right place at the right time to slot the ball past Gifkins from close range.
The visitors were able to hold their lead for the majority of the half, which was dominated by play in the midfield, followed by a short period of City possession and attacking forward plays. The home side was finally able to equalise after a string of chances thanks to a beautiful piece of build-up play, orchestrated by Nate Foster in the midfield. With the ball at his feet, Foster was able to drive the ball up into the final third, where he played the ball onto Kym Harris, who then crossed it onto skipper Marijan Cvitkovic, who was making a dash into the box at the same time. The ball fell perfectly for Cvitkovic, who placed it into goal in quick succession, giving the home side the much needed equaliser right before half time.
Much like the first half, the Knights conceded another goal in the opening minutes of the first half. A miskicked goal kick found City’s Oliver White, who headed it onto an advancing Damian Iaconis. Iaconis then chipped the ball over Gifkins to send the visitors 2-1 up early in the second half.
The Knights enjoyed bouts of possession through the half, but were unable to convert in the final third. The match was one dominated by events towards the beginning and ends of the halfs, with not much else happening during the middle portions. The loss came as a shock to home fans who are expecting their side to be fighting for a place in the finals. The lost points means the run has now become harder for the Knights who sit in 7th place, just outside the six. The coveted 6th position will be a fight between The Knights, Oakleigh Cannons, Dandenong Thunder, South Melbourne, Green Gully, Kingston City and Hume City, who are all separated by only 6 points.
This weekend the Knights face the challenge of upsetting Avondale FC at home. With Avondale essentially guaranteed a place in the finals, and coming off a fresh FFA Cup Round of 32 win, the Knights will have their work cut out for them as they travel to Avondale’s new home at the Reggio Calabria Club in Parkville.