The Melbourne Knights have suffered their second defeat of the season after going down to table topping Avondale FC at the Reggio Calabria Club on Saturday afternoon.
Micky Colina made one change to his starting eleven that defeated Port Melbourne the week before.
Ivan Grgic made his first of the season slotting into the centre of defence at the expense of Luke Jurcic, a move which saw Corey Sewell shift over to left back.
The Knights got off to an unlucky start, conceding the opening goal of the game in only the 2nd minute. A smart flick on from Liam Boland found the in-form Stefan Zinni on the left-hand side who’s ball across the face of goal found Stefan Valentini at the back post who put the home side up.
The next 15 saw experienced referee Lachlan Keevers hand out yellow cards to Corey Sewell, Ayden Brice and Ivan Grgic in quick succession.
Soon after, the Knights then began to find their feet in the top table clash as Tomislav Uskok was dominating the midfield. A quick counter attack off an Avondale FC corner saw Uskok break away and put in a sublime ball into the path of Gian Albano who found himself with only Chris Oldfield to beat but Oldfield produced an excellent save to deny the Knights.
Shortly before half time, the game changed dramatically as Uskok received two questionable yellow cards two minutes apart and received his marching orders putting the Knights down to ten men heading into the half time break.
The Knights came out firing and served Avondale a little bit of their own medicine by levelling the scores within the first two minutes of the second half. A long clearance from Ayden Brice, who was having perhaps one of his best games in a Knights shirt, eluded the Avondale back line and this time Gian Albano made no mistakes in front of goal and put his laces through the shot and got the equaliser for the Knights, making it his third goal in two games.
However, just as the Knights got a foot back in the game, Yitay Towns found himself through on goal and what appeared to be a superb challenge from Anthony Duzel resulted in Keevers pointing to the spot.
As expected, Liam Boland stepped up to take the spot kick and buried the ball home to put Avondale back in front.
Despite being down to ten men the Knights made three quick substitutions all with attacking intent bringing on Atilla Ofli, Daniel Visevic and AJ Inia.
The Knights continued to pile on the pressure in the hope of snatching a late equaliser but after 90 minutes of regulation time, it wasn’t to be. The Knights now sit in 3rd spot on the table after Bentleigh Greens snatched a last gasp win on Friday night.
This week it’s the Original Melbourne Derby on Friday night at Knights Stadium as former NSL clubs Melbourne Knights face off against fierce rival South Melbourne at 7:45pm.
With the weather forecast tipping a 28-degree day and live entertainment pre and post-game in the social club and beer garden a bumper crowd is expected at Somers Street.
(Valentini 2’, Boland (P) 48’)
Melbourne Knights FC 1
Avondale FC: 1. Chris Oldfield, 17. Phillip Riccobene, 10. Jonathan Germano, 5. Matthew Reid, 2. Scott Hilliar, 3. James Riccobene, 13. Yitay Towns, 18. Tasuku Sekiya, 7. Stefan Zinni, 22. Stefan Valentini, 9. Liam Boland.
Melbourne Knights: 1. Harry Cakarun, 5. Ayden Brice, 6. Tomislav Uskok, 8. Gian Albano, 9. Hamish Watson, 10. Marijan Cvitkovic (Atilla Ofli 72’), 11. Nikola Jurkovic, 12. Corey Sewell, 13. Ivan Grgic (AJ Inia 81’), 19. Anthony Duzel (Daniel Visevic 81’), 27. Joseph Franjic