The Melbourne Knights have secured another point on their trip to Oakleigh, playing out a 2-2 draw in a fiery encounter.
Melbourne Knights Starting XI:
Thomas Manos (GK), Lachlan Weier, Ayden Brice (C), Anthony Duzel, James McGarry, Alun Webb, Gian Albano, Caleb Mikulic, Trevor Zwetsloot, Trevor Ssemakula, Nick Glavan
Melbourne Knights Substitutes:
Harry Cakarun (GK), Jack Marth, Nikola Jurkovic, Daniel Petrov, Felipe Sanchez
It was 3rd v 5th at Jack Edwards Reserve and from the kick-off, plenty of chances went either way from the get-go.
The explosive match soon turned physical – as Anthony Duzel was booked in the 16th minute for a late challenge.
Not long after, the Knights won a free-kick – just outside of the box. James McGarry stepped up to the ball and nailed it into the top corner. His first goal of the season giving the Knights an early lead away from home.
After McGarry’s goal, the match slowed down with both sides leaving minimal space in front of goal. Trevor Ssemakula continued the create plenty of chances from the middle of the park, but the scoreboard remained stagnant.
One additional minute of added time had passed, and the first half was in the books. The Knights held onto a 1-nil lead in an explosive first half.
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Five minutes into the second half and the Knights lead was diminished. Matt Thurtell equalising with a neat finish.
Another five minutes later, and uniquely the Cannons coach – Chris Taylor was sent to the stands after exchanging some words with the referee. Taylor originally received a yellow, but with the argument continuing the red card was shown.
With 30 minutes left on the clock, the Cannons found the lead through Matthew Foschini. The lob over Thomas Manos was just enough to see the Cannons in front.
In the very next play, the Knights were awarded with a penalty after the ball was handled inside the box. Alun Webb stepped up the spot and converted neatly into the bottom left corner.
The equaliser from Webb enforced a more defensive approach. Felipe Sanchez and Nikola Jurkovic replaced Trevor Ssemakula and Caleb Mikulic, in an attempt to not walk away empty hand after a competitive 90 minutes. .
At the 80th minute, the match came to a halt as a match photographer needed medical attention. An ambulance was needed, giving the players an extended break late in the match. A little over 20 minutes passed before play was resumed.
With 10-15 minutes left to play, the match opened wide open as both sides searched for a winner in the dying stages.
Ayden Brice was booked for a shirt-tug, giving the opposing attack nothing to work with. Jack Marth replaced Nick Glavan to give the defence some fresh legs with only minutes left to play. James McGarry was also booked not long after, sloppily bringing his opponent down.
That was all she wrote, as referee Lachlan Keevers blew the whistle for full time, abruptly after 123 minutes of match time.
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Post-match, Knights head coach Steve Bebic praised his squad’s performance, “in the first forty-five [minutes] in particular”, highlighting the fact that the Knights seemed more dominant during this period.
Bebic described James McGarry’s goal as “ultra-important”, continuing, “like most of the players, he has had a real good start to the season.”
Bebic seemed content with the result, stating, “Oakleigh on a Friday night is always difficult…in games like this, before the season you think a point – we’ll take it.”
Catch Head Coach Steve Bebic and Trevor Zwetsloot on the Knight Train tomorrow night to hear more about Fridays game.
Next up, the Knights are back at Somers Street to take on the relegation-battling, Altona Magic on Friday, April 16.
– Tom Hayes