A sense of relief settled on Knights Stadium last night as the Melbourne Knights recorded their first win of the 2010 season. Another healthy crowd of over 1,400 witnessed the Knights concede early on through some good work by ex-Knight Daniel Visevic who finished his opportunity well. But true to form, the Knights character shone through almost immediately as Kevin Townson drilled in a corner onto the head of Jean-Charles Dubois who’s header bulleted into the net past an outstretched Stjepan Gal in the 14th minute.
The Knights controlled the tempo of the game from that point on – and the inclusion of Daniel Rocco returning from injury being key to settling a defence that has leaked some soft goals in recent weeks. It also allowed utility Liam Cannell to slot into the midfield coming out from the sweeper position.
The Knights went into the break with confidence that the goal to snatch the lead would come, while Richmond were left wondering how the second last team could be giving them such a hard time considering that up until that point Richmond had won three games out of four played.
Knights coach Ivan Duzel made a couple of changes in the second half bringing off Jean-Charles Dubois for Tommy Ples and Liam Cannell for Gazmend Ajdini. Both changes proving to be a masterstroke with Ples setting up Townson for both goals and also giving Ajdini two golden opportunities which Gal saved expertly.
The first goal came when Anthony Colosimo crossed a ball into the box which was cleared, but kept in well by Ben Surey on the opposite wing who floated it back into the box to a firm Tommy Ples who was holding off two defenders, controlled with the knee, quickly turned to offload to a waiting Townson who had the easiest of finishes. 2-1 to the Knights with Richmond looking a little shaky at the back.
Continued Knights pressure resulted in two chances for the pacey Gazmend Ajdini when Tommy Ples received the ball from inside his own half, ran at the Richmond defence before releasing Ajdini with an inch perfect pass to put the attacking midfielder clearly through on goal with only the keeper to beat – unfortunately Stjepan Gal did well to save the powerful effort. Only moments later Adrian Zahra had beaten his marker in the penalty area to cut back to Ajdini who once again had his powerful effort saved by Gal.
The Knights put the result beyond doubt in the 86th minute with Townson putting the ball past Gal in a one on one situation – much to the relief of his teammates and the fans.
Coach Ivan Duzel was delighted with the result; “I am so happy for the boys that they got their first win. It was very important for the team morale to get the first one on the board and we’ve done it. Soccer is a funny game – we performed much better against Heidelberg and the Georgies yet only came away with draws – a little bit of luck can take you a long way. The boys played for the full 90 minutes – even when we conceded the goal, they kept playing as if nothing had happened in a calm way, and it showed when we scored only 3-4 minutes later. I am happy for all the boys and wish everyone at the club a safe and Happy Easter.”
The Knights will now be hoping to build some momentum as they face a tough away match against the Oakleigh Cannons in a fortnight’s time away from home, with the next home match being against long time rival South Melbourne.
Melbourne Knights: Ante Loncaric, Ben Surey, Bryan Bran (Ryan Filipovic 45’), Daniel Rocco, Liam Cannell (Gazdend Ajdini 71’), Josip Magdic, Kevin Townson, Adrian Zahra, Tomislav Skara, Jean-Charles Dubois (Tommy Ples 67’), Anthony Colosimo
Goals: Jean-Charles Dubois 14’, Kevin Townson 68’, 86’
Richmond: Stjepan Gal, Andrew Viola, Dimitri Tsiaris, Jessie Krncevic, Daniel Visevic, David Scullion, Tomislav Uskok, Antun Kovacic, Michael Catalano, Liam Ryan, Tomislav Milardovic
Goals: Daniel Visevic 9’
Man of the match: Kevin Townson (MK)