Thrilling draw unfolds at Somers Street

Melbourne Knights and Avondale were forced to settle for a share of the spoils following a high octane 1-1 draw at Knights Stadium in NPL Victoria Round 20 action on Friday night.

The sides traded blows through Luka Kolic and Yusuf Ahmed as Knights halted the league leaders seven game winning run with Friday’s draw.

Kolic opened the scoring in the 21st minute when he pounced on a stray touch from Tom Manos to dispossess the keeper on his return to Knights Stadium and finish into an empty net.

The 18-year-old midfielder now has six goals across all competitions for the Knights in 2023.

Avondale found an equaliser via an Ahmed penalty in the 72nd minute when the visitors were dubiously awarded a spot-kick after Stefan Zinni went down inside the area.

From there a frantic end to the contest ensued with big opportunities to snatch all three points falling to Gian Albano and George Ott at either end in stoppage time.

Friday’s 1-1 draw leaves Knights in fourth position at the end of Round 20 as they continue in their pursuit of a first NPL Victoria finals appearance since 2015.

Speaking post-match, Melbourne Knights Head Coach Ben Cahn said he was proud of the shift put in by his players on the end of an incredibly busy month for the Knights.

“It was an eventful night. Avondale are a top side, it’s very hard to control large periods of the game against them but I through we defended our back third well, managed to press high at the right moments and had some good spells in possession,” Cahn said.

“I would have like to have controlled a little bit more of the game but that’s easier said than done against them.

“The boys gave everything, it can’t be underestimated how difficult it is to push through those mental and physical barriers three days after a big cup game and in their seventh game in a month.

“We’re obviously disappointed we didn’t hang on for the three points, it was one of those nights where all the major decisions went against us and unfortunately there’s no denying the impact those decisions had on the result.

“We’ve got a little change to rest and recover now and we’ll use it to recharge and make sure we’re ready to go hard again in training and keep improving for a big push in all competitions.”

Next up for Knights is a Croatian derby on the road against North Geelong Warriors at Elcho Park next Sunday afternoon (3pm KO).

MATCH DETAILS

NPL Victoria 2023 – Round 20: Melbourne Knights FC v Avondale FC

Knights Stadium, Sunshine North

Friday, 30 June

Melbourne Knights – 1 (Luka KOLIC 21’)

Avondale – 1 (Yusuf AHMED 72’)

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