An inspired hat-trick from Melbourne Knights striker Kevin Townson, has secured a vital 4-2 victory over Northcote City at Knights stadium on Sunday afternoon, securing the Knights safety from the threat of relegation in the process.
It was an emotionally charged match, with high stakes on the table for the home side, and the team was led out by captain and club legend Danny Tiatto in his final game wearing the Red, White and Blue in front of an adoring crowd at Knights Stadium.
An early corner to the Knights saw Northcote keeper Chris Petropoulos fumble his catch and drop the ball right to the feet of Tomislav Skara, with his effort on goal scrambled off the line.
Northcote City are this season’s leading goal scorers, with big forward Trent Rixon leading the way, the home side paid special attention to the lanky striker from Albury allowing him little room to move, and closing him down at every opportunity. This allowed Northcote’s other attacking players more freedom, with James Kalifatidis and Bradley Norton making good runs down the wing and into the Knights’ penalty area, but failing to deliver the final ball to create the opportunity for Rixon to finish.
In the 16th minute, Kevin Townson thought he had opened the scoring, only to be denied by the linesman flag, as the Knights began to lift the tempo.
A ten minute spell of dominance from the home side mid-way through the first half broke the game wide open. A telling cross from Jean-Charles Dubois floated perfectly for Townson to hit on the half volley, bouncing over and past a stranded Petropoulos, then just two minutes later, another Dubois cross was only half cleared by the Northcote defence, as Magdic unleased a shot from outside the area that was to hot for Petropoulos to handle, and could only parry the ball directly into the path of Townson to nod home and send the home support into raptures.
It could have got even better for the Knights just five minutes later, as Ben Surey released Laim Cannell, who unleashed a thunderous shot past a hapless Petropoulos, only to see his effort cannon off the cross bar.
Northcote got themselves back into the match late in the half, with the Knights defenders focused on Rixon during a corner, James Kalifatidis found himself unmarked to head home and half the deficit to give the visitors a chance in the second half.
The Knights all but sealed the result in the 57th minute as Cannell set up Kevin Townson for his hat-trick, to the delight of the home crowd, and to Townson who was booked for his overzealous celebration.
In the 70th minute, the Knights sealed the game, with Townson this time turning provider for Adrian Zahra to net his second goal in as many matches.
Knights Coach Ivan Duzel satisfied with the game, decided to empty the Knights bench with the largest applause coming for Danny Tiatto who was forced off with a groin injury.
Mark McGough attempt for goal of the season in the 88th minute, saw his long range half volley smash off the cross bar.
A late red card to Ante Loncaric was the only blemish on a good day for the home side, as the keeper brought down an advancing Kalifatidis in the penalty area, though it did look accidental, a penalty was the correct call. Bradley Norton slotted home past Ryan Filipovic who drew the short straw to step into goals.
The final whistle also brought to the end of a stellar career of Danny Tiatto, who announced his immediate retirement, and was carried off to a standing ovation.
Tiatto is a true legend of the Knights and his dedication in coming back to the club after 14 years abroad shows his level of committment in doing his bit in giving back a little to the club that gave him his big chance way back in 1994 when he transferred over to the Melbourne Knights Golden side of 1994/1995 from Bulleen’s reserves after being recommended by Fausto De Amicis to Knights coach and enigmatic tactician, Mirko Bazic.
Next week is the final round of the Alanic Premier League, as the Knights’ make the short trip to Green Gully on Sunday 15th August 2010 kicking off at 3pm.
Melbourne Knights Line Up: 1.Loncaric, 2.Filipovic, 4.Surey, 7.Cannell, 8.Magdic, 10.Praiz (15.A.Colosimo 74’), 11.Townson, 12.Zahra, 13.Skara, 14.Dubios (9.Ples 75’), 17.Tiatto (19.Ajdini 77’)
Not Used: 21. Hrastov, 16.J.Colosimo
Goals: Townson 26’, 27’, 57’, Zahra 70’.
Yellow Cards: Townson 58’, Cannell 80’.
Red Cards: Loncaric 90’.
Northcote City Line Up: 22. Petropoulos, 2. Chiappetta, 3. Norton, 4. Jankovski, 6. Curtis, 8. McGough, 9. Rixon (11. Kinigopoulos 65’), 12. D’Agostino (14. Soares 65’), 16. Savio, 18. Kalifatidis, 19. Voulgaris (5. Papadopoulos 82’).
Not Used: 1.Gountaras, 20.Tzoulis.
Goals: Kalifatidis 38’, Norton 92’Penalty.
Yellow Cards: None
MoM: Kevin Townson (MK)
Crowd: 737 @ Knights Stadium