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Knights take three points in bizarre contest

The Victorian Premier League Round 15 encounter between the Melbourne Knights and Hume City had it all. Two penalties and three red cards went against Hume City while the valuable 3 points were taken by the Knights.
Two expertly taken penalties by the diminutive Kevin Townson were enough to cancel out Ross Thompson’s penalty five minutes into the second half.
The Knights arguably started the game the stronger of the two, although Hume did probe deep into the Knights’ defensive line and executed some pressure of their own.
The first real chance fell to Josip Magdic in the 15th minute when a cross from the lively Adrian Zahra bulleted in front of the ex-Perth Glory attacking midfielder. His outstretched leg didn’t connect to the ball, much to the relief of former Knights NSL keeper, Lupce Acevski.
Zahra was causing major problems for the Hume City left side and was checked on a number of occasions. Likewise, the Knights’ other winger, Anthony Colosimo was causing problems on his right side though his tough tackling, simple passing and speed.
Hume’s attacking duo, including Andy Vlahos who returned from injury and Zoran Petrevski was looking sharp, although were well covered by the tallest defence in the league, with Skara, Bran and Filipovic expertly soaking up the pressure from Hume’s counter attacking play.
The first half ended in a stalemate, as the midfield tussle led by Danny Tiatto and Ben Surey became all the more important to gain ascendancy in the game.
The second half came with the Knights simply instructed by coach Ivan Duzel to continue pressuring the ball and breaking away in droves when attacking. Hume was up to the challenge, playing some nice one touch football, with only the final pass letting them down.
A dangerous run by Alfonso Opazo ended in the former Altona City frontman earning his team a penalty courtesy of a somewhat crude tackle by Ryan Filipovic just inside the area.
Up stepped current VPL Gold Medal winner Ross Thompson and slotted the penalty low and to the right. The referee deemed that a Hume player entered the area before the spot kick was taken meaning Thompson would need nerves of steel to convert again. Thompson sent Mattei in the opposite direction, with the keeper obviously anticipating that the midfielder would go the same way as only moments earlier. Hume were up, albeit fortuitously after 50 minutes of play.
It was from here that the game took a turn for the worst for Hume City.
The Knights picked themselves up and continued to press for the equaliser. In doing so Kevin Townson and Bryan Bran both went up to win the ball in the air inside the area with Hume keeper Acevski doing well to pluck the ball out between both of their heads. With the ball distributed, Acevski lost his nerve and attempted to punch Townson behind play. The referee saw the incident and awarded Acevski a red card and a penalty to the Knights.
Hume replaced Acevski with Marijo Roza who was tasked with saving a penalty in his first minute on the field. Townson sent the keeper the wrong way and the Knights had a sniff of victory with half an hour to play.
The Hume players were furious. First of all for the red card and second of all because of the penalty. This obviously had an adverse effect on their collective mental preparedness for the game and concentration levels waned. Ross Thompson received two unecessary yellow cards in quick succession in the 68th and 69th minutes to leave Hume with 9 men on the field.
The Knights continued to press on while Hume’s midfield retreated into defense leaving a massive void in the middle of the park while Vlahos and Petrevski stayed on up front in the hope of snatching more than a point from the game.
The pressure began to stretch the Hume defence and a through ball to Jacob Colosimo onto goal looked a golden opportunity to steal the lead, but the young striker was pulled down by the shirt courtesy of Isyan Erdogan who was shown his second yellow of the game. Townson made no mistake and blasted the ball into the roof of the net gifting the Knights the much needed three points.
First placed Richmond lost in their Round 15 match against bottom side Heidelberg who have now climbed to ninth spot, blowing the whole league wide open. The Knights sit just behind Heidelberg on 15 points but with a worse goal difference in 10th position.
The Knights travel to Richmond next Friday night and will be looking to secure a third win on the trot, a feat the side has not achieved this year. Kick off is at 8:30pm.

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