Knights record first win of season 2011

It was a memorable evening at Somers Street on Friday the 4th of March. The Round 3 Alanic Victorian Premier League match marked the first time Friday night football had returned to Knights Stadium since the 2001-02 season of the National Soccer League. One player accustomed to playing at home on a Friday all those years ago against the likes of Marconi and Sydney United is Martin John. Last year the goalkeeper marked his 100th game for Sunshine George Cross and as the Knights beat Gully 2-1 on a windswept and chilly evening, John was commended on his 100th league game for the Knights as well.
The game was a cracker right from the beginning. From the kick-off, Jean-Charles Dubois chipped the ball over Cameron Drake on the far wing to the speedy Daniel Dragi?evi? who beat his man, passed back to Dubois in the centre whose outstretched flick found the unmarked Mathieu Welmant on the edge of the box, his shot rocketing past Roganovi?’s left post. It was a sign of things to come as Gully were pinned in their half for the next few minutes which could have proven fatal had it not been for some fine goalkeeping and poor finishing.
Dragi?evi? was in the thick of it again as he beat Drake on a second occasion, sending in a lowly struck cross to Dubois who met the ball with the side of the boot to put it past Roganovi?’s near post from point blank range to hand the Knights an early lead.
Another two one on one chances fell to Dragi?evi? but both times the young attacker saw the ball fizzle past the post.
It took Gully to the middle of the first half to find their feet and begin putting up a fight to wave after wave of Knights attacks.
A great piece of interplay between former Hull City midfielder Graham Hockless, Jonathon Munoz and Matthew Sanders carved the way for Gully to equalise just before stoppage time in the first half. A string of quick one touch passes leading into the penalty area found Hockless alone behind Anthony Colosimo, sending in a dangerous cross along the ground to a pack of players in front of Martin John’s goal. After the initial crunch of bodies, the ball fell favourably to Jonathon Munoz who poked the ball past John to equalise for Gully.
It came at the right time for both teams. Just before half time Gully felt that they were back in the game, while the Knights headed into the belly of the Mark Viduka Stand to regroup and plan Gully’s demise, a team the Knights last beat way back in Round 23 of the 2007 season.
Ivan ?uzel’s half time speech must have been stirring as the Knights came out firing again. Mathieu Welmant released Daniel Dragi?evi? onto goal for the third time and the former Geelong man didn’t disappoint. His powerful lowly struck effort found the far bottom corner much to Roganovi?’s dismay – a Thierry Henry-esque finish.
The Knights were back on top and needed to capitalise on the chances they were getting, while Gully probed and tried their best to break down a strong Knights back four consisting of De Camargo Junior, Ryan Filipovi?, Leo Shin and Anthony Colosimo.
The last throw of the dice for Gully was a Hockless free kick from outside of the box which was cleared by the ever-present Knights captain Ben Surey who released Mathieu Welmant onto the wing who could have giving a through ball to either Josip Magdi? or Jacob Colosimo but opted to take the ball to the wing, demoralising Gully and winding down the clock, giving referee Kevin Docherty the easy job of whistling for full time.
The most pleasing aspect that could be taken from this game for Knights fans was the fact that although the lead was slender, the side held on and shut the game down – something which was a problem last year.
Next week the Knights hit the road for a tough assignment against bitter enemies Springvale White Eagles. Regardless of the Eagles’ poor form with a match of this nature you can basically throw the form guide out the window. For the record, the Knights have played Springvale twice, beating them both times in the 2007 season.
The Knights then return home in two week’s time to host the Victorian Training Centre in a mid-week fixture on Wednesday the 16th of March kicking off at 6:30pm. On Sunday 20th of March the Red, White and Blue are also at home hosting the ambitious Bentleigh Greens kicking off at 6:00pm.

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