Melbourne Knights got off to a disappointing start on Sunday evening in Round One of the 2012 Victorian Premier League, conceding 2 goals late in each half at home against Hume City.
In what was ultimately a scrappy encounter, goals from Steven Pace and Bobby Vidanoski late in each half proved to be the difference for Hume, as the Knights were left to rue their lack of concentration.
Knights’ coach, a dissatisfied Paul Magdic, can only look to the rest of the season in what wasn’t an encouraging start.
“At the end of the day, a defensive error in stoppage time cost us the game, and it’s very disappointing because we definitely didn’t deserve to go 1-0 down at half time,” he said.
“It’s hard when you cop these kinds of goals and have to chase your tails. When you’re leading 1-0 and you’re gifted a goal, I wish I was in that situation, but unfortunately we weren’t.”
Knights legend Billy Vojtek tossed the coin to mark the 50th anniversary of his playing debut, but the opening exchanges provided little in terms of his trademark attacking verve.
The first 20 minutes set the tone for the match, with little chances created and numerous stray passes from both sides, as Hume made a concerted effort to put ten men behind the ball.
Playing Zoran Petrevski as the target man, Acevski seemed content to have Hume sit on their own penalty area against his old side and hit on the counter, but it did nothing to inject the contest with any life as the whistles started to sound out at Knights Stadium.
Hume though, eventually found the breakthrough after a lapse in concentration from the Knights in the dying stages of the first half, with Steven Pace putting his side in front.
Tomislav Uskok’s ineffective clearance from a corner found its way to Pace, who had enough time to compose himself and rifle the ball through the crowded area, and into the net.
Hume went into the break a goal to the good despite neither really looking dangerous at all, but they came out of the half-time interval full of momentum, and stamped their authority on the second half immediately.
Petrevski should have doubled his side’s lead straight after the restart after he was played through by Pece Siveski, but Aaron Romein did well in the one-on-one situation.
With only the younger Romein to beat, Petrevski was forced to try and lob the ball, but he scuffed his side-footed attempt as it floated over the bar.
Minutes later, Ofli found himself in another one-on-one situation ten minutes into the second half but his attempt was also forced off target by Aaron Romein, who was under considerable pressure at this stage
Both coaches looked to make changes to their respective sides at the hour mark, with new signing Jake Nakic coming on for the home side to replace the lackluster Craig Sweeney, while the visitors’ Cem Cil made way for Howard Fondyke.
Nakic’s introduction meant little for the lacklustre Knights, as Hume sealed the victory late.
With Siveski’s through ball beating the offside trap, unmarked substitute Bobby Vidanoski settled the result for Hume with a goal in the 84th minute, slotting the ball into Romein’s top left hand corner to wrap up the victory, much to the dismay of the Knights faithful.
“When you are chasing your tail like that, you can leave yourself open at the back and although there were a few of the boys that said the second goal was offside, the fact is we shouldn’t have gone down in the first half,” Magdic said after the game.
“I was really hoping that we’d get a good start to the season, and unfortunately it didn’t go our way today. We can’t dwell on it too much, though. We have to regroup and look forward to next week.”
In contrast, Hume coach and former Knight Lou Acevski was delighted with the result.
“It’s important to come away with the three points in Round One, home or away, but it’s always tough to travel to Knights Stadium. To score two goals and come away with the clean sheet….we’re all very happy,” he said.
“I thought we were a totally different team come the second half. In the first we were a little bit sloppy, a bit hesitant. It might have been first game jitters, but once we scored we were a lot more composed and could have even killed the game off early in the second.
Next week sees both sides playing at Epping Stadium, with Hume taking on Dandenong on Friday evening, and the Knights going up against Moreland Zebras on Sunday afternoon at 3pm.
Melbourne Knights 0-2 Hume City
Goals: Steven Pace 45’, Bobby Vidanoski 84’
Melb Knights: 1. Aaron ROMEIN, 2. Hrvoje SIBENIK, 4. Adam ZILIC, 6. Tomislav USKOK, 16. Marijan CVITKOVIC (Anthony Colosimo 72’) , 7. Shaun ROMEIN (Joseph FRANJIC 72’), 12. Shayan ALINEYAD, 10. Josip KOZIC 8. Craig SWEENEY (Jake NAKIC 58’), 9. Jacob COLOSIMO, 19. Yusuf YUSUF
Yellow Cards: Craig Sweeney 23’ Shaun Romein 34’, Aaron Romein 48’, Adam Zilic 80’
Hume City: 1. Chris OLDFIELD, 3. Ben HARRISON, 4. Isyan ERDOGAN, 5. Steven PACE, 7. Atilla OFLI (Bobby Vidanoski 68’), 9. Pece SIVESKI, 11. Nick HEGARTY (David CHICK 78’), 15. Zoran PETREVSKI, 17. Phillip Riccobene, 20. Archie Tomic, 41. Cem CIL (Howard FONDYKE 58’)
Yellow Cards: Cem Cil 33’, Phillip Riccobene 38’, Chris Oldfield 73’