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Knights fend off persistent Hume City

MELBOURNE Knights had to tame a fast finishing Hume City, which almost came from behind to sneak a point in the Knights 2-1 win at Broadmeadows Valley Park on Sunday afternoon.
Hume came into the match with very little confidence, having seen its season falter calamitously in the past month.
Making matters worse were the late withdrawals of Turhan Sumbul, Josh Turner, Ersin Kaya and the suspended Nick Hegarty, which made the prospect of taking on a rampant Knights a frightening one.
Emin Sele was rewarded with a first team place after performing well in the reserves in recent weeks.
He lined up at the top of a midfield-oriented formation, which was in contrast to the Knights whose formation suggested they were coming to Westmeadows to take the game to their opponent.
It took until the second half for their attacking intent to be rewarded, when James McGarry popped up with the opening goal.
Following a bright five-minute spell for the Knights, they eventually struck the first blow when McGarry looped a marvellous aerial shot across ‘keeper Chris Oldfield and into the back of the net.
The game was seemingly put to bed when a delightful cross from Nicholas Jurcic from the right-hand side found an unmarked Jacob Colosimo, who made no mistake nudging home.
Hume wasn’t quite finished and reignited some hope of claiming a point late on when substitute Kaan Kormaaz provided a splitting through ball which found Steven Pace.
The former A-League defender found himself with space and time, before rocketing the ball into the roof of the net.
It was not to be enough though as the Knights held on to secure the points and ensure Hume fans would again leave their ground desolate.
Opportunities were few and far between in what was largely an even first half between two visibly motivated sides.
Hume faced the task of negotiating the ground’s traditionally strong breeze and did so competently in a half where it thwarted many of the Knights’ breaks.
The Knights were left discontented on a number of occasions as they vehemently contested a number of offside calls.
The shouts were to be in vain, as Hume created the first notable opportunity on the quarter of an hour mark.
Jarryd Barnes’ lead-up work with Devon Bonne saw the latter close in on goal as he pressed down the right-hand side.
Instead of shooting, he opted to cut the ball across goal to Sekulovski, with the former Perth Glory talisman hitting his shot over the bar to the dismay of the home fans.
Shayan Alinejad’s lightning runs down the left-hand flank were causing problems for City’s defence, and eventually the speedster was involved in creating the Knights’ best sight on goal five minutes from the interval.
It was McGarry who on this occasion skyed his shot over the cross bar.
Hume rounded off the half going close to scoring, as Sekulovski got on the end of a Barnes cross. The Knights’ defence was too sharp, adequately catering for the former’s shot.
Hume began the second half the brightest and almost broke the deadlock shortly after the restart through Steven Pace.
Bonne’s accurate corner was met by a high-flying Pace, with the ex-Melbourne Victory defender directing his header wide.
Barnes had a superb chance to net the first only moments later in a half which was significantly more open than the first.
He once again beat Ivan Grgic to attack the goal, failing to get enough power on his drive to beat Christopher May in Melbourne’s goal.
Andrew Barisic would have felt as if he should have scored as he charged in on goal, as the Knights number seven shot straight at Chris Oldfield, making for a regulatory save.
Shortly after, an Alinejad scuttle saw him split City’s defence, which prompted Oldfield to come out and expertly smother the ball and run.
They weren’t to be denied for much longer as the goal soon came.
This sparked a reaction from the home side, whose bench was bewildered when Bonne snubbed his side’s best opening to date.
Scott Muirhead’s wonderfully curled cross found Bonne free at the back post, with the striker failing to nod home and instead missing the ball altogether.
Hume was made to pay for its inability to capitalise minutes later in what was ultimately a setback from which it could not fully recover.
Pace’s finish was nothing more than a consolation and notwithstanding Erdogan’s header hitting the cross bar in the final minute, the Knights for the most part comfortably withstood a barrage of late attacks to hold on for a vital win.
Their coach Andrew Marth was satisfied with his young players in particular, who stood up and did what was asked of them.
“We had a lot of kids in today and blooded quite a few,” Marth said.
“They did exceptionally well.
“We had a lot of injuries and to come here and get a 2-1 is very good. Now we’re just one point behind Northcote, so with it coming down to the last round, it’ll be interesting.”
Hume boss Lou Acevski lamented his side’s poor finishing.
“We do well first half and then we come out and get punished in the second half,” Acevski said.
“Again, I think I said it a couple of weeks ago. It’s the story of our season – we miss our chances and gift goals.
“And that’s why we’ll finish where we will.”
Acevski will be hoping that his side can complete the season on a high note when it travels to Northcote to face the table-topper, while the Knights will be counting on Acevski’s men to do them a favour and halt their rival in the race for top spot while they take on Oakleigh.
Match Details
Hume City: Chris OLDFIELD, Shaun ROMEIN, Scott MUIRHEAD, Devon BONNE (Baki EFE 64’), Isyan ERDOGAN, Jarryd BARNES, Ersin KAYA, Steven PACE, Craig SIVES, Naum SEKULOVSKI, Emin SELE (Kaan KORKMAZ 57’).
Unused subs: Martin JOHN.
Goals: Pace (85’)
Yellow cards: Nil
Red cards: Nil
Melbourne Knights: Christoper MAY, Ryan FILIPOVIC, James McGARRY, Andrew BARISIC, WIiliam McLACHLAN, Jacob COLOSIMO (Anthony DUZEL 90+3), Milan BATUR, Ben SUREY, Ivan GRGIC, Josh BERRIOS (Nicholas JURCIC 35’), Shayan ALINEJAD (Nikola SRBINOVSKI 82’).
Unused subs: Matthew HRASTOV.
Goals: McGarry (58’), Colosimo (73’)
Yellow cards: Nil
Red cards: Nil
Referee: Bruno D’Aniello
Under 21s: Hume City 3-2 Melbourne Knights

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