A ferocious attacking display has seen the Melbourne Knights record an impressive 3-1 victory away to league leaders Bentleigh Greens on Friday Night.
Andrew Marth made but few changes to his side from last week. Tim Purcell replaced Anthony Dezic, whilst Kym Harris earned his first full start for his new club, and captain Ben Surey slotted back into the center of defence alongside Damien Miskulin.
The first chance of the night fell to Tom Cahill in the 7th minute, with the Englishman’s shot well saved by Bentleigh goalkeeper Ryan Scott. Bentleigh turned up the pressure with a run of three successive corners, forcing the Knights to camp inside their own half.
Ross Honos then took full advantage of an errant pass, running clear on goal and slotting past Harry Cakarun to hand the Greens a 12th minute lead.
This sparked the visitors into action with Jason Hicks hitting the crossbar direct from a corner, before Kamsoba was denied by a good save from Scott.
Hicks was involved with the equaliser for the Knights’ in the 28th minute, swinging in a perfect delivery for Tom Cahill to head home. Honos continued to be a danger for the home side, and had an opportunity to retake the lead with a shot from just inside the area. However Cakarun was this time equal to the task.
A double-save by Scott followed, to deny Danny Dixon and Harris, and Knights from going into the main break with the lead.
Marth’s half-time instructions had the desired effect, as the visitors unleashed wave after wave of attacks on the Bentleigh goal. Goalkeeper Ryan Scott continued his fine form, twice denying Tom Cahill in the space on 8 minutes, before Dixon’s deflected effort drew another top class save from the Bentleigh custodian.
The Knights’ continued to pile on the pressure, with Elvis Kamsoba terrorising the opposition fullback with his pace. Scott was again on hand to deny a golden opportunity for Harris to score in the 75th minute, it appeared there was nothing the Knights could do to capitalise on their dominance.
Although just one minute later, a Tim Purcell run was brought to a halt with a mistimed challenge inside the area, earning the visitors a spot-kick. Jason Hicks confidently slotted home his 2nd penalty in 3 weeks to give the visitors a well deserved lead.
Having dropped points late in the first 2 games of the season, Knights fans were understandably nervous in the last 10 minutes of the contest. Young keeper Cakarun helped ease some of the nerves with a reflex save to deny a point blank header.
The Knights would seal the result in the 86th minute as substitute Caleb Mikulic unleashed a low bullet into the back of the net from outside the area, before darting off in the direction of the large contingent of travelling fans sparking wild celebrations.
Speaking to Knights Media post match, full-back Tim Purcell shared his thoughts on the result.
“We worked hard. We looked back on the previous two games and were disappointed not to get maximum points, so whoever we had to play today our goal was to get the three points.”
On our relentless pressure…
“This is something we have been aiming towards, the blueprints were there in our first game of the season, and tonight we set the standard in what we want, and now the goal is to stay there.”
“Obviously you’re not happy when you’re not playing but I knew my time would come, and when you do come into the team, you do your job and try to get a result.”
Melbourne Knights return to Somers Street next Friday night, when they welcome newly promoted Kingston City to Knights Stadium.
Melbourne Knights: 20.Harry Cakarun 4.Ben SUREY, 5.Damien MISKULIN, 8.Jake BARKER-DAISH, 9.Kym HARRIS (14.Caleb MIKULIC 85’), 13.Tom CAHILL, 15.Danny DIXON (7.Rob ZADWORNY 89’), 16.Jason HICKS, 18.Joshua BREKALO, 23.Tim PURCELL (12.Anthony DEZIC 78’), 27.Elvis KAMSOBA
Not Used: 30.Gabriel MATTI, 3.Tomislav FADJEVIC
Goals: Tom CAHILL 28’, Jason HICKS 76’, Caleb MIKULIC 86’.
Bentleigh Greens: 1.Ryan SCOTT, 5.Jack WEBSTER, 6.Troy RUTHVEN, 7.Kieran DOVER (23.Trent CLUCOW 65’), 9.Ben LIFTON, 10.Tyson HOLMES, 14.Marco JANKOVIC, 18.Matt THURTELL, 19.Nick GLAVAN, 24.Luke PILKINGTON (25.Keanu MOORE 82’), 26.Ross HONOS.
Not Used: 20.Jordan GIFKINS, 3.Joe O’CONNOR.
Goals: Ross HONOS 12’