The Melbourne Knights have suffered defeat in their return to the pitch, falling 2-0 to relegation-battlers, Dandenong City in gusty conditions.
Thomas Manos (GK), Jack Marth, Ayden Brice (C), Anthony Duzel, James McGarry, Alun Webb, Gian Albano, Trevor Zwetsloot, Felipe Sanchez, Mohamad Sumaoro, Trevor Ssemakula
Nikola Jurkovic, Dor Jok, Caleb Mikulic, Daniel Petrov, Harry Cakarun (GK)
A lacklustre half saw the Knights trail two goals to nil after 45 minutes. The first coming from a mistaken Ayden Brice clearance, with Nick Kalmar meeting the ball and finding the back of the net from the edge of the area. Kalmar proved to be the culprit again, doubling Dandy’s lead with an unbeatable volley. Before the closure of the first half, Caleb Mikulic replaced Felipe Sanchez in hope of some extra attacking flair after a forgettable first 45 for the side.
At the break, Dandy dominated the stats sheet, particularly in the attacking third, with 13 shots to one after 45 minutes, leaving the Knights with much to improve on in the second half.
Another round of substitutions saw Daniel Petrov replaced Jack Marth early into the second half, in an effort to replace some overworked, defensive legs and provide some spring from the Knights half.
From an attacking free-kick, the Knights almost treated themselves to a comeback opportunity. Mikulic swung the ball into the box but Dandy’s goalkeeper – Jasko Keranovic -parried the ball into the path of Ayden Brice – who then hit the crossbar, falling into the path of Mohamad Sumaoro – who’s header was eventually saved. It was a welcomed piece of forward play from the side, but again chances went begging.
With 25 minutes on the clock, head coach Steve Bebic resorted to some more changes. James McGarry made way for Nikola Jurkovic, allowing Trevor Zwetsloot to move into a more midfield position and Mohamad Sumaoro was replaced by Dor Jok to add some fresh legs to the attack.
Despite the late changes, the match petered out, seeing Dandenong City the eventual 2-0 winners. After round 23 action the Knights are left with work to do as they slip to 8th position.
Next week the Knights have another important match, as they take on South Melbourne next Saturday night.