Melbourne Knights defeated Goulburn Valley Suns 3-0 in their Round 24 National Premier League Victoria clash at Knights Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Goals by Michael Doyle, Marijan Cvitkovic and Milan Batur registered a third straight victory for the home side, and secured safety from relegation to NPL1. Knights are 12 points clear from the drop zone with just three games left.
Doyle, a mid-season signing from Adelaide Raiders, opened the scoring with a looping header at the back post from a corner in just the 11th minute. The goal came after a strong start to the game by the boys in red, white and blue, who created a number of chances in the opening stages.
Knights continued to dominate the game after the opener, and doubled their lead in the 38th minute through talismanic midfielder Marijan Cvitkovic. Shayan Alinejad delivered a pinpoint cross to an unmarked Cvitkovic on the six-yard line, who had no trouble turning the ball in with his head.
Milan Batur further extended Knights’ lead on the stroke of half time, bundling the ball over the line with his chest after the ball fell to him from a corner.
Keen to avoid a second half collapse like last week’s against Green Gully, Andrew Marth’s men continued to control the game in the second period without adding to the scoreline.
Michael O’Farrell was rarely troubled throughout the contest, but when called upon, the lanky shot-stopper was up to the task. His highlight of the match was a double save in the 87th minute to deny a promising Suns attack.
On a sour note, defender Antun Kovacic, a second half substitute, went down with a knee injury late in the contest and was forced off the field on a stretcher.
Attacking focal point Stipo Andrijasevic was also forced off early in the second half with an ankle injury, but early signs indicate he will be okay to play this weekend in the Dockerty Cup final against South Springvale.
Knights’ next fixture is the Dockerty Cup final against South Springvale next Sunday 31 August. Kick off at Lakeside Stadium, South Melbourne is at 5pm.