Melbourne Knights best ever NPL Victoria campaign has come to an end at the Preliminary Final stage following a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Avondale at Avenger Park on Saturday afternoon.
A second half Kristian Trajescki goal proved decisive in a match that marked the end of a remarkable week that saw Knights pick up their first NPL Victoria finals win and reach their first Australia Cup Quarter Final.
Saturday’s defeat brings to an end the club’s best NPL Victoria season which saw them finish an equal club best fourth, while scoring a club high 51-goals along the way.
Ben Cahn’s side also set a club record eight match NPL Victoria unbeaten streak and recorded an equal best record of victory in their 5-0 Round 13 victory over Heidelberg United at Knights Stadium.
The season doesn’t end here for Knights who’s full focus now shifts to their Australia Cup Quarter Final clash against Heidelberg at Knights Stadium on Thursday, September 14.
Speaking post-match Melbourne Knights Head Coach, Ben Cahn said he was incredibly proud of his players efforts in a huge week for the club.
“Of course we’re extremely disappointed with the result and to miss out on the Grand Final. But when the emotion passes we can look back and be very proud of what we’ve achieved,” Cahn said.
“The ground was three quarters or more full of Knights supporters, the players can be very proud that they’ve given the supporters of this great club a team to believe in again.
“The reality is, it was always going to be tough, playing against the best team in the league after a few days rest is a huge task. We’ve played two big knockout games since they last played and that was always going to be a factor.
“The goal we conceded was obviously disappointing, but that’s on me, not the players. Avondale pressed very well in the first half and we had problems building up, but we changed some things at half time and I asked the boys to keep believing and we actually got out successfully every time until the goal.
“If we’re being honest, Oldy saved us on a number of occasions and we struggled to break them down. They probably deserved to go through on the day.
“It turned out to be one big game too many in a week where the squad has pushed it’s physical and mental limits and done some incredible things.
“Now we’ll focus on a full recovery and start preparing for the Australia Cup Quarter Final.”
NPL Victoria 2023 – Preliminary Final: Avondale FC v Melbourne Knights
Avenger Park, Avondale Heights
Saturday, August 2
Avondale FC – 1 (Kristian TRAJCESKI 71’)
Melbourne Knights – 0