Knights stumble at Final hurdle

Northcote City have won the Mirabella Cup with a 2-0 victory over the Melbourne Knights at AAMI Park on Saturday afternoon.

The Knights followed on from their second half performance against Oakleigh on Wednesday and pressured Northcote with the majority of the possession and territory for the first 25 minutes.

The Knights created their first real chance of the match in the 18th minute when a Josip Kozic cross found Brandon Zezovski in the six yard box. Zezovski, under pressure, couldn’t get a decent header on the ball and saw his shot trickle wide.

Northcote broke through in the 40th minute, courtesy of Glen Trifiro. A low Jonathon Voulgaris cross was cut off at the near post, before Rixon pounced and laid it off to Glen Trifiro, who had no trouble putting the ball into the back of the net.

Northcote went into half time with a deserved 1-0 lead, after producing the better of the few chances of the first half. Although the Knights did control the first 25 minutes, they struggled to look threatening up front, lacking a target in their attacking third.

Northcote had a scare in the 52nd minute when Charles Treacey dropped a Craig Sweeney free kick in front of Adam Zilic, but Zilic couldn’t get a shot on goal before it was desperately cleared out of danger.

Jonathon Voulgaris made a mess of a brilliant opportunity for Northcote to go 2-0 up in the 56th minute. A Glen Trifiro through ball allowed Voulgaris to go one out with Romein, but he opted to go around the keeper instead of unleashing a shot, and played the ball straight to Romein.

As the Knights pushed numbers forward in search for an equaliser, they continued to look vulnerable on the break.

In the 65th minute Northcote spoiled yet another golden opportunity to score a second. This time Leon Shin turned the ball over in the box and gave Trent Rixon the chance to either shoot from close range or cut the ball back into the path of James Kalifatidis, but he waited far too long and allowed Romein to clear the ball from danger.

The Melbourne Knights came close to equalising in the 67th minute through Yusuf Yusuf, who hit the side netting with a vicious strike from outside the area.

Northcote finally capitalised on the Knights’ vulnerability up back when Nick Curtis doubled their lead in the 71st minute after being played through by Kristian Konstandinidis.

The Knights strived at a late charge, but they couldn’t break down Northcote’s defence. The final whistle was welcomed by wild celebrations by the Northcote city faithful, their first major trophy in the club’s 51 year history.

Northcote’s captain, Trent Rixon, was ecstatic in the team’s achievement. “We knew the Knights were going to come hard at us, but at the end of the day we absorbed the pressure for the first 25 minutes and started playing some good football, so we’ll take the win”.

Josip Kozic expressed his disappointment in the side’s performance, but held their lack of preparation and match fitness accountable for the loss. “I think it came down to a lack of fitness. We haven’t played for the last four weeks, and that has to be the biggest factor. We also lost a couple players to overseas, so we had to fill our side with a couple of reserve players”.

Northcote City: 1. Charles TREACEY (GK), 2. Adrian CHIAPPETTA, 3. Kristian KONSTANDINIDIS, 5. Nick TZOULIS (18. James KALAFATIDIS 59’), 7. Jonathan VOULGARIS (19. Dean PIERMONTE 80’), 8. Nicholas CURTIS, 9. Trent RIXON (15. George MC HEILEH
90+2’), 10. Glen TRIFIRO, 11. Harry KINIGOPOULOS, 12. Hayden D’AGOSTINO, 23. Jason TRIFIRO (16. Paul SAVIO 86’)

Billy Vojtek Medal: Glen TRIFIRO

Yellow card:  James KALAFATIDIS 77’

Goal scorer: Glen TRIFIRO 40’, Nicholas CURTIS 71’

Unused subs: 22. Chris PETROPOULOS (GK)

Melbourne Knights (MK): 1. Aaron ROMEIN (GK), 2. Shaun ROMEIN, 3. Ryan FILIPOVIC, 5. Leo SHIN, 8. Stefan BARCIEVIC (15. Yusuf YUSUF 46’), 9. Brandon ZEZOVSKI, 10. Josip KOZIC (7. Ridvan SAGLAM 88’), 11. Anthony COLOSIMO, 19. Adam ZILIC, 20. Jacob COLOSIMO, 22. Craig SWEENEY

Yellow card: Adam ZILIC 23’

Unused subs: 21. Paul MONACO (GK), 14. Julian CASSANO, 17. Anthony BORAS

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