Melbourne Knights let slip a two-goal lead as Oakleigh Cannons claimed a late 2-2 draw at Knights Stadium on Tuesday night.
Tomislav Uskok, back in midfield as Ivan Grgic returned at centre back, opened the scoring for the home side in the 17th minute. The captain’s fourth goal of the season came as Grgic headed the ball deep into the penalty area where Uskok was waiting to tuck it home from close range.
Andrew Barisic was also back on the score-sheet as he capitalised on some indecisive defending by Oakleigh to smash a strike into the far corner and put the Knights 2-0 ahead in the 51st minute.
Substitute Liam Boland pulled one back for Oakleigh with 20 minutes remaining as a long free kick into the box was held up by the wind. The tall striker read the ball best to head it into the bottom corner.
The equaliser was again scored by Boland in the 80th minute. Fellow substitute Ben Clarke found him with a pinpoint cross which Boland nodded back across Chris May to give the visitors a share of the points.
In Andrew Marth’s absence, Frank Juric’s men started the match brightly and took a deserved lead. Dominant possession led to the first real chances in the 16th minute, as Adrian Del Monaco had a header cleared off the line by a defender before Stipo Andrijasevic’s volley thudded back off the crossbar. The same passage of play led to the opening goal.
Oakleigh almost had an equaliser just before the half hour mark from a corner, but Anthony Colosimo was situated at the post to block the powerful header.
The Knights looked to be cruising after scoring their second goal and had chances to make it three, as McGarry’s 68th minute strike was tipped just wide of the upright before Adrian Zahra’s volley flew wide of the target.
But Oakleigh’s first goal gave Miron Bleiberg’s players confidence and May pulled off two great saves in he 75th minute, first to deny Boland’s low effort and then to dive and parry a header from the resulting corner.
Both sides had one clear chance to grab the winner when the score was level. First John Honos pulled off a spectacular save to deny Uskok’s header before Colosimo again came to his side’s rescue with a minute remaining, clearing Boland’s shot off the line after it had beaten May.
The point took the Knights ahead of Bentleigh Greens at the top of the table.