Melbourne Knights’ finals ambitions were dealt a significant blow on Saturday afternoon after a 3-0 loss to Hume City at ABD Stadium in Broadmeadows.
The result has Andrew Marth’s men in seventh, 6 points behind the desired 6th-placed position, currently occupied by Oakleigh Cannons who also have a game in hand.
A goal just before the hour mark, a second with 20 minutes remaining and a third in the 85th minute, separated the sides in what started a tight contest and ended with a big gulf in quality.
Former Richmond SC talisman Tom Cahill broke the deadlock in the 58th minute a mere two minutes after James McGarry squandered the chance of the match for the Knights.
The Knights’ most consistent player had a game to forget, with his golden chance a summary of that. His opportunity was created by Andrijasevic, Hicks and Zadworny, with the latter placing a brilliantly weighted lobbed cross for McGarry at the back post. The midfielder couldn’t get a decent connection though, leaving Hume’s goalkeeper Chris Olfield to collect.
Knights enthusiasm didn’t change after the goal, with the away side creating some chances from outside the box and within, but a 72nd minute goal from Theo Markelis seemed to put the result beyond doubt.
A disappointing turnover from Jason Hicks in the middle of the park launched a Hume counter attack, with Nick Hegarty doing ever so well to hold up play in the wing before picking out an unmarked Markelis on the edge of the box. The former A-League player took a touch to pass his defender before blasting the ball into the back of the net from close range.
Another turnover from Hicks with 5 minutes remaining helped cement the three points for Lou Acevski’s men, when the Kiwi’s loose pass was pounced on my Cahill who doubled his tally with a strike from inside the box.
But it all could have been a much different affair was it not for the two men within the 6-yard boxes, with opposing goalkeepers Chris Oldfield and Fraser Chalmers producing a show-reel of saves from the opening half.
Chalmers looked solid from the get-go, with his first opportunity to shine coming in the 12th minute when he denied Craig Carly while one-on-one.
On the 25th minute mark, Chalmers’ counterpart produced an equally impressive parry when a defensive mishap played Damien Muskulin through go goal.
Five minutes later, and the Knights custodian produced the save of the match to keep the scores then locked at 0-0. A low ball across the face of goal picked out Cahill’s head, with Chalmers doing ever so well to tip over from point-blank-range.
But Knights head coach Andrew Marth was forced to use his bench just before the half time break when defender Damien Miskulin went down with what appeared to be a hamstring injury. Fellow youngster Anthony Katiforis was brought into the fray with the extent of Miskulin’s injury yet to be known.
The two sides went into the break at 0-0 but Hume proved to be too strong after the interval.
The Knights created a few opportunities as the game went on, but nothing was good enough to beat Oldfield, with Dezic’s last second strike from outside the box going the closest but was too little, too late.
Marth’s men now look towards mid-week Dockerty Cup action, where they travel to Oakleigh’s Jack Edwards Reserve to face Bentleigh Greens in the semi-final on Wednesday at 7:30pm.