A stunning performance from Northcote City condemned Melbourne Knights to their seventh loss of the season yesterday at John Cain Memorial Park.
The match was barely underway when the home side took advantage of a momentary lapse in defence from the Knights, with Braedyn Crowley taking no longer than four minutes to register his first goal of the afternoon.
Andrew Marth’s side were shaken, and lost without guidance of captain Milan Batur marshalling the back four.
It wasn’t long until Northcote pushed for a second goal, and had Michalis Karvouniaris not mis-directed his team mate’s header away from goal, they would have had two goals in ten minutes.
However, Crowley would double the advantage anyway in the 18th minute after again punishing the Knights defensive lapse. A brace coming as the striker rounded Michael O’Farrell and finished into an open net with ease.
Crowley’s hat-trick came within five minutes of his brace after being set up by Borbor Sam, who tormented the Knights on the right side of midfield throughout the afternoon.
Northcote’s advances were not heated by the Knights defenders, who struggled without captain Milan Batur and could have been worse had Crowley added a fourth before the half-time break, misdirecting a point blank header.
The one opportunity to claim consolation in a disappointing half fell to Robbie Zadworny, who was unable to lift his effort over the head of the oncoming goalkeeper.
On the other side of half-time, it took the home side another 60 seconds to register their fourth goal.
Borbor Sam’s cross was met at the back post by Crowley, again, who finished with ease.
A penalty to Northcote half-way through the second half was then saved by O’Farrell from Jonathan Bounas’ effort, with Jason Hicks spurring a rare Knights opportunity in the moments that followed.
Another mis-timed back pass had O’Farrell rushing out of goal, as Crowley capitalised and finished his fifth goal of the afternoon with 72 minutes played.
The result damaging to say the least, but fully deserved of Northcote City, who took every opportunity of the afternoon, punishing a lacklustre Knights outfit.
Knights now divert their attention away from the loss, and onto next Wednesday’s FFA Cup fixture against Port Melbourne. A win would mean entrance into the competition proper, and a shot on the national stage.
Northcote City def. Melbourne Knights 5-0 (Crowley 4’, 18’, 25’, 46’, 72’) [HT 3-0]