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Melbourne reins in the Stallions

Michael Lynch, The Age

Monday, 14 October 2002

The Melbourne Knights left once-mighty Marconi stuck on the bottom of the national soccer league table after a 1-0 win over the Stallions last night.

Knights’ wing-back Daniel Vasilevski, outstanding throughout, scored a 79th-minute winner after a goal-mouth scramble following a free-kick.

But both sides had plenty of chances to break the deadlock during an openmatch played at a rainswept Knights Stadium.

The game came to life after a dour first half-hour, with Marconi threatening through impressive midfielder Darren McDonald’s long-range effort.

The Knights’ best first-half chance came when skipper Andrew Marth hit the side netting after Marconi keeper Michael Turnbull saved Nik Sabljak’s fearsome free kick.

But then the weather turned nasty, with two severe and sustained rainstorms adding a wildcard to what had already been a freewheeling encounter.

The Knights weathered the storm best, with Vasilevski’s incisive runs down the right flank causing all sorts of problems for Marconi’s defence.

Knights’ player-coach Marth has a couple of injury concerns coming out of the match, including his own groin injury.

First-choice Knights’ keeper Martin John injured his hip during the game and both are likely to be nursed through training this week.

Meanwhile, Perth Glory yesterday took its first step towards re-establishing some authority at home with a 1-0 win over Newcastle United.

Last year’s grand finalist lost its past two matches in the west but climbedinto second spot after four rounds with its win.

A 26th-minute strike from veteran marksman Damian Mori was enough to claimthe three points and move the Glory within a point of NSL ladder leaders, the Olympic Sharks.

Meanwhile, United was left in a bunch on six points ahead of Friday’s clash against Wollongong. Coming off a hat-trick last weekend, United striker Joel Griffiths almost opened the scoring in the sixth minute, but his close-range header was well covered by Glory keeper Jason Petkovic.

And Griffiths again looked menacing only eight minutes later with an enterprising run that Perth defender Scott Miller just managed to foil.

But the Glory opened the account with the NSL’s all-time leading goal scorer Mori finishing off some neat lead-up work from German Andre Gumprecht.

The Glory plays South Melbourne at Bob Jane Stadium on Sunday.

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