Melbourne Knights’ finals chances took severe blow with a thumping four nil defeat to Bentleigh Greens at Knights Stadium on Sunday.
For the second straight week, Melbourne Knights ended the game with ten men as Shaun Romein was sent off for a challenge on Connor Pain as the former NSL Champions moved five points behind the top five.
Two goals in each half to Scott Bulloch, Connor Pain, Dominic D’Angelo and Evan Batsis were enough to move the visitors to fourth spot on the table.
Prior to the game, there was a touching minute silence for the passing of Melbourne Knight’s longest serving member Frank Burin along with Mate Dragovic.
After a tightly contested 30 minutes, Bentleigh’s first solid opportunity came from some good build up play by Ryan De Vries and Pain that allowed Bulloch to strike a volley that forced Aaron Romein into a terrific reflective save to his left.
Bentleigh then found the games opener after Paulo Retre played through De Vries to drive a cross across goal allowing Bulloch to put the ball in the back of the net.
Melbourne Knights were dealt a hammer blow right before the half time whistle when Pain took the Knights defenders wide and drove his shot at the near post beating Aaron Romein.
Things got worse for Melbourne Knights eight minutes into the second half when Shaun Romein was sent off for a dangerous foul on Connor Pain.
Bentleigh continued to poor the misery on the Melbourne Knights minutes later as D’Angelo finished off some great build up play by Retre and De Vries.
Bentleigh substitute Evan Batsis made it four for the Greens when he found the back of the net after a great cross from former Fox 8 Football Superstar Luke Pilkington in the 75th minute.
After the game, Melbourne Knights Coach Andy Marth shared his disappointments on the thumping loss.
“We got totally outplayed and deserved to lose. We didn’t come out to play at all,” Marth said.
“There were probably only two players that I thought deserved to wear the Melbourne Knights shirt; Ben Surey and Anthony Colosimo while Aaron Romein did ok in goals.
“But I thought the rest were second to the ball, never looked like they wanted to win, it’s very disappointing.
“In the eight weeks I’ve been here it’s the worst performances I’ve been involved in.”
Bentleigh coach John Anastasiadis said his side thoroughly deserved the big victory.
“I thought we set a precedent from the start. We got some good goals at the end of the half and that set us up for the rest of the game.” Said Anastasiadis.
Next week Bentleigh Greens have the difficult task of hosting top of the table Dandenong Thunder on Friday Night at Kingston Heath Soccer Complex while Melbourne Knights travel to Olympic Village to face cellar dwellers Heidelberg United.
MELBOURNE KNIGHTS: Aaron ROMEIN, Adam NAKIC, Ryan FILIPOVIC, Shaun ROMEIN, Jacob COLOSIMO (Brandon ZEZOVSKI 59’), Kayne VINCENT, Anthony COLOSIMO, Shayan ALINEJAD, YUSUF YUSUF (Christopher TALAJIC 4’), Jake NAKIC, Ben SUREY.
Unused Subs: Mathew HRASTOV, David KUSTURA.
Red Card: S. Romein 53’.
BENTLEIGH GREENS: Lawrence THOMAS, Nicholas CURTIS, Wayne WALLACE, Ryan DE VRIES (Nicholas ANSELL 78’), Scott BULLOCH, Paulo RETRE (Luke O’DEA 75’), Connor PAIN (Evan BATSIS 59’), Aron WILFORD, Jack WEBSTER, Dominic D’ANGELO, Luke PILKINGTON.
Unused Subs: Christopher DAVIES, Steve HATZIKOSTAS.
Goals: Bulloch 38’, Pain 45’, D’Angelo 55’, Batsis 75’.