The Melbourne Knights have escaped Avenger Park with a point, following a nail-biting 1-1 draw against Avondale FC.
Melbourne Knights Starting XI:
Thomas Manos (GK), Jack Marth, Ayden Brice (C), Anthony Duzel, James McGarry, Alun Webb, Gian Albano, Caleb Mikulic, Trevor Zwetsloot, Mohammed Sumaoro, Nicholas Glavan.
Melbourne Knights Bench:
Harry Cakarun (GK), Lachlan Weier, Nikola Jurkovic, Daniel Petrov, Trevor Ssemakula.
In the closest game of the season so far, the Knights grinded hard to achieve a 1-1 finish away from home, to stay atop of the league.
The first half was nothing but cautious – both teams appeared organised, and each side only had a handful of chances.
After 20 minutes, Avondale was forced into an early change when their captain, Jonatan Germano went down with a groin injury following a clash with Alun Webb.
The second half held all the action, as Avondale began to get a better grip in the match. Several attempts on goal for Avondale; hitting the post, shooting over the crossbar, forcing saves from Thomas Manos and still the match sat at nil all.
Into the final 20 minutes, Trevor Ssemakula and Daniel Petrov replaced Gian Albano and Nicholas Glavan. The tension began to grow as Ayden Brice was involved in a head clash with Avondales’s Liam Boland, both received treatment and continued.
Minutes later, Avondale broke the deadlock, deservedly. Yusef Ahmed blasting the ball past Manos, leaving him next to no chance at his near post. Avondale’s goal forced another defensive change for the Knights, as Lachlan Weier replaced Jack Marth.
As extra time arrived, it looked as if the Knights were destined for their second loss of the season. In the 92nd minute, the ball was swung in towards Caleb Mikulic in the box, his header edged it past Rory Brian in net for the latest of equalisers, which had the away fans in raptures.
The late, late equaliser kept the Knights perched on top of the table for another round, one point clear of South Melbourne FC in second.
Next round, the Knights have a midweek fixture against Heidelberg United FC, currently in 9th position on 5 points. The Knights will be back at Somers Street on Wednesday, March 31 for a 7:30PM kick-off, come and cheer the boys on in hope of staying at the top of the league!
– Tom Hayes