The Melbourne Knights were unable to claim points on the road against the Bentleigh Greens, losing 2-1 away from home.
Starting XI: Thomas Manos (GK/C), Andy Robertson, Jack Marth, Fuki Ishibashi, Trevor Ssemakula, Thiery Iradukunda, Joseph Colina, Anthony Duzel, Anthony Frangie, George Ott, Steve Sokol
Substitutes: Harry Cakarun (GK), Gian Albano, Mohamed Sumaoro, Jack Morton, Luka Kolic, Will Thompson
After playing two games in the last seven days, the Knights hit the road to face the Greens, enduring rotation across the starting 11 and the bench in a hope to take some points back to Somers St with them. Kiwi and under 21 newcomer George Ott achieved his first start, while Steve Bebic chose to rest Luka Celic after the previous weeks endeavours.
Despite the blistering cold and wet night, the Knights, in surprising fashion to supporters in attendance, got off to a red hot start. Within the first 60 seconds, George Ott was able to, with ease, evade the likes of Jack Webster and Ben Carrigan to fire a shot of his right foot and into the bottom left corner, catching Green keeper Pierce Clark unawares.
The lead was brief, however, as the Greens settled into the match after their shaky start. The home side found an equaliser through Tom Strickland in the 22nd minute, bringing the scores back to parity. After a fairly even further 20 minutes of play, an equal share of chances and possession meant that either side could sway the match their way.
In the second half, some familiar faces were introduced to the field in an effort to liven the field. Knights top scorer Gian Albano replaced Steve Sokol and 15 minutes later, head coach Steve Bebic opted for another double substitute, as Luka Kolic and Mohamed Sumaoro took the field in substitution of George Ott and Joseph Colina.
As the Knights edged closer to the final few minutes of the match, it all but appeared as if the score line would remain stagnant and that both teams would deservingly walk away with a point each in hand. With two minutes of regular time remaining, the Knights made their final substitution, bringing on defensively minded Jack Morton for Anthony Duzel, in hope of locking down the field until the final whistle.
As the weather become even frostier, the Knights fans in attendance would have to taste the bitter flavour of defeat in the dying minutes of the game as the Greens found their winner in the 91st minute, thanks to George Lambadaridis slipping one past Knights resident keeper Thomas Manos.
With only nine matches remaining of the regular season, the Knights sit five points from the top six. If the Knights wish to climb back into the six to make finals football a reality, claiming points from the upcoming fixtures is a must.
– Tom Hayes