A local derby was upon those in attendance at Knights Stadium last Friday when the Melbourne Knights hosted neighbourhood rivals Green Gully SC in round eight of the Victorian NPL. With the Knights looking to jump up the ladder to sixth position and Kym Harris still sidelined, the task was up to the team to give Green Gully only their second loss of the season.
— Melbourne Knights FC (@MelbKnights) April 20, 2018
The opening minutes saw a fairly even contest between the two sides, with captain Marijan Cvitkovic making his presence known on the field, setting up a few pieces of attacking play and even just missing a diving header on goal in the 22nd minute. Similarly, Green Gully had their fair share of chances in the opening minutes, including an open shot on goal from Sam Mitchinson, with the ball luckily rebounding off the top of his boot away from goal, giving the Knights a temporary sigh of relief. Despite the number of chances, both teams were unable to find the back of the net.
This was set to change in the 23rd minute when Green Gully’s Calum Richardson, formerly of Melbourne City FC, slipped a ball in between Ayden Brice and Shaun Timmins to an advancing Nick Krousoratis who then took his chances against Knights keeper Harry Cakarun and won in the form of a goal, giving the visitors an early one-nil lead.
A goal down, the Knights attempted to get back into the game with various chances, the most impressive coming yet again from Captain Cvitkovic in the 31stminute, when he received a well-placed ball from Luke Jurcic in the middle of the 18 yard box and attempted a side-angle bicycle kick, only to have Cavs keeper Lucas Spinellablock the shot.
Soon after, in the 35th minute, the Cavs went two-nil up after a corner kick into the box saw Cakarun make the save, only to let the ball slip out of his gloves and fumble it into goal.
With the night potentially slipping away from the Knights, Green Gully took another opportunity to punish the home sides porous defence in the 44th minute when Jonathan Bounas was able to hold on to the ball despite being surrounded by a sea of red shirts. It didn’t take much for Bouras to find enough space to launch a bullet onto goal to send the Cavaliers three-nil up.
Just when the Knights thought that half-time salvation was at hand, things quickly went from bad to worse in added time. Gully again made a show of Knights’ lacking defence when Krousoratis was able to slip a ball in behind six Knights players without much effort to Joshua Barresi, albeit him being potentially offside. One-on-one with the Knights keeper, Baressito opened fire into the back of the net. A wounded Knights side would enter the change rooms at half time down by 4 goals to none.
With the second half underway, to say the Knights had an up-hill battle on their hands would have been an understatement – it could have been considered more of an up-mountain battle. The mountain got a little higher in the 59th minute, when substitute Brody Taylor’s untucked hand met the ball in Knights’ 18-yard box, awarding the visitors with unnecessary penalty, with Jay Davies converting to give his side a five-nil lead.
The home side were finally able to have a goal of their own thanks to a Shaun Timmins bullet in the 70th minute, however the effort was in vein, with the match ending one-five in favour of the visitors.
The defeat marks yet another dramatic turn of events for an already roller coaster start to the season for the Knights. With another away trip on the horizon against tenth placed Kingston City next week, the Knights will need nothing short of a win if they hope to stay afloat in this competition.