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NPL R22 Preview – Knights vs. Pascoe Vale

The end of the 2019 NPL season is almost upon us Knights fans! Round 22 sees the Knight face off against their round 9 opponent – Pascoe Vale FC – in another Friday night footballing clash at Knights Stadium.

With the 2019 Dockerty Cup semi-final and another OG Melbourne Derby contributing to a heavy week of football, the Knights were able to find their rhythm and have a fruitful week on the park.

The mid-week Dockerty Cup clash saw the Knights take on former NPL side FC Bulleen Lions for a spot in the final. Battling horrendous conditions including strong winds, rain and plummeting temperatures, the Lions were able to pinch the lead in the 19th minute thanks to a goal from Phil Petreski. The second half saw the Knights play with a wind advantage and they were able to immediately equalise thanks to an 18 yard bullet from Hamish Watson. Seven minutes later, Mohamed Awad was able to pick Watson out in the box, giving him the opportunity to put his head to good use and score his second of the night. With no more goals for the rest of the match, the Knights were able to book themselves a spot in the Dockerty Cup final against fellow NPL side Hume City, to be played on August 10th at Kingston Heath Soccer Complex.

With only three days’ rest, the Knights next played out another instalment of the OG Melbourne Derby, this time making the trip out to Lakeside Stadium to play off against perennial rivals South Melbourne FC. The Knights began the match on the back foot after going a goal down in the  opening minute of play. However, the side made up for their poor start after Kiwi teammates Hamish Watson and Mohamed Awad combined to equalise. The next eighty minutes saw a number of chances fall for the home side, but none ever finding the back of the net. After 90 minutes of football, both sides walked away with muddy kits and a point in hand.

With the end of season fast approaching, every point counts in the lead up to finals football. Last week’s draw sees the Knights end the round in tenth place on 27 points. To make finals, the Knights will need to break into the top six, which is currently rounded out by Oakleigh Cannons on 31 points.

This week sees the Knights come face to face with Pascoe Vale FC, an opponent they were able to get the better of back in round 9, securing a 3-1 win.

With the squad coming into more or less full fitness right in time as the Knights make a late charge towards a finals place, the squad will be aiming to repeat history this Friday night. The only major injury still lingering over the squad is prime keeper Harry Cakarun’s broken – but now healing – finger. Speaking on his injury, the younger keeper had this to say:

“The surgery went well and my rehab is coming along nicely, so fingers crossed I’ll be given the all clear in time for the FFA Cup.”

After finishing 2018 in fourth position, Pascoe Vale sit dangerously in 12th position and are currently at risk of playing in this season’s promotion/relegation play off. With only 17 points to their name, Paco haven’t been able to find their feet this season clocking in five wins, two draws and 14 losses. In the mid-season transfer window, the side brought in four new players in an effort to curb their early season lack of form and pull off a hard reset of sorts. However, since then, the side has only managed a single win.

Given the state of both team’s 2019 seasons, a win is a must for both sides, with both likely gearing up for some healthy competition come this Friday night. Kick-off is tipped for 7:45pm  with the Melbourne Croatia  Club Rooms open for dinner from 5pm and the Beer Garden from 5:30pm.

Knights fans who have pre-purchased their 2019 FFA Cup Round of 32 tickets will be able to collect these from the club’s main office or from the merchandise stand.

Round 18 Match Details

Date: Friday 19th July 2019

Kick-off: 7:45pm

Venue: Knights Stadium

Match Official: Christopher Hope

Team News
Melbourne Knights FC Squad:
1. Thomas Skoff, 2. Luke Jurcic, 4. Calvin Whitney, 5. Ayden Brice, 6. Anthony Duzel, 7. Gian Albano, 9. Hamish Watson, 10. Marijan Cvitkovic, 11. Nikola Jurkovic, 12. Corey Sewell, 13. Ivan Grgic, 14. AJ lnia, 15. Adrian Tardio, 16. Mohamed Awad, 17. Daniel Visevic, 19. Nick Glavan, 20. Jordan Gifkins, 25. Atila Ofli, 27. Joseph Franjic.

Unavailable

1. Harry Cakarun

Pascoe Vale FC Squad:
1. Nicholas Feely, 2. Adrian Talarico, 3. Jonathan Vakirtzis, 4. Matthew Hennessey, 5. Hakeem Alaraibi, 8. Joseph Youssef, 9. Dimitri Hatzimouratis, 10. Davey Van ‘T Schip, 11. Philippe Bernabo-Madrid, 12. Nicholas Georgopoulos, 13. Aisen Ishak, 14. Joshua Kelic, 15. Mohammad Naeem Rahimi, 18. Jonathan Sebastian Munoz, 20. Gonzalo Abascal, 21. Michael Ferrante, 22. Nicholas Ward, 23. Daniel Leck, 25. Luke Gavalas, 29. Matteo Ballan, 77. Stephen Hatzikostas

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