A Nick Glavan strike was enough for Melbourne Knights to secure its second victory over Port Melbourne in the space of five days, with a professional 1-0 win over their 10-men opponents on Sunday afternoon.
Andrew Marth made just 1 forced change to his side which defeated the same opponents on Wednesday, with the suspended Stipo Andrijasevic replaced by mid-season recruit Shayan Alinejad.
After a subdued opening ten minutes, the game suddenly burst to life with as both sides spurned glaring opportunities to break the dead lock.
Wednesday night’s hero Marijan Cvitkovic drew a top draw save from Luke Gavalas, after a low shot from outside of the box was destined into the bottom corner. In almost an identical position just a minute later, Port’s Tyler James struck a low shot through sea of bodies only to be denied to by an outstretched Chalmers in goal.
Jacob Colosimo created the best chance for his side in the 13th minute. Latching onto a though ball form Alinejad the striker weaved his way in to the box, cut back to beat his marker, but could only place his curling effect inches wide of the far upright with Gavalas well beaten.
Colosimo looked lively for the home side, creating another opportunity with a neat flick on into the path of Zadworny who unfortunately couldn’t react in time with Gavalas well placed to mop up the danger.
Port Melbourne finished the half stronger, and could have stolen a late lead if not for David Stirton and James Riccobene mis-placing their efforts over and wide of Chalmers goal.
The home side lifted their intensity early in the second stanza with Shayan Alinejad and Robbie Zadworny worrying the visitors defence with their pace.
It was Zadworny’s pace which ultimately turned the match in the favour of the home side, drawing a crunching and reckless challenge from David Stirton who was immediately shown the red-card by the official.
It took the Knights ten minutes to take advantage of their numerical supremacy. Marijan Cvitkovic picked out Alinejad with a diagonal ball who in turn laid off for Nick Glavan on a surging forward run and wrong-footing the keeper to finish into the bottom corner.
With a player and goal advantage the Knights’ looked comfortable, holding possession well to restrict the visitors to the rare counter attack.
A second goal would have put to bed any nerves the home fans had, with Damian Miskulin somehow heading wide from only yards out after a sublime ball from McGarry.
Ultimately the Knights prevailed to secure a vital three points to keep in touch with the top six.
Speaking to Knights Media post match, goalkeeper Fraser Chalmers spoke about his return to the starting line-up, two clean sheets in a row and the importance of the win to Knights’ finals hopes.
“To come back into the side and keep two clean sheets in two games is what any goalkeeper would dream about, I couldn’t really ask for more then that”
“It’s a combination of everything, last two games I haven’t had much to do with the boys really working hard and organised well’
“This league is all about momentum, everyone in the middle of the table is bunched together and we were tied with Port coming into the game. Its vital now we go on a roll and start picking up more wins, and i’m more then confident we can do that.”
The Knights will now have a welcome eight day break before taking on the Bulleen Lions at the Veneto Club on Monday Night.
Shots: MK 12 PM 6
Target: MK 4 PM 2
Corners: MK 9 PM 2
Melbourne Knights Squad. 20.Fraser CHALMERS, 3.Ivan GRGIC, 6.Damian MISKULIN, 7.Shayan ALINEJAD, 8.James MCGARRY, 9.Jacob COLOSIMO, 10.Marijan CVITKOVIC (15.Julius DAVIES 83’), 16.Jason HICKS (11.Nikola JURKOVIC 17’), 17.Robbie ZADWORNY (2.Luke JURCIC 79’), 19.Nick GLAVAN, 23.Timmy PURCELL.
Not Used: 1.Michael O’FARRELL, 14.Caleb MIKULIC,.
Goals: Nick GLAVAN 68’
Port Melbourne Squad: 18.Luke GAVALAS, 2.Andrew VIOLA (8.Bonel OBRADOVIC 79’), 3.James RICCOBENE, 4.James KARVELIS, 7.Jamie DE ABREU, 9.Adrian ZAHRA (16.Alan KEARNEY 73’), 10.David STIRTON, 12. Alec GOODWIN (5.James GOULOPOULOS 59’), 19. Shaun KELLY, 20. Tyler JAMES, 23. Jacob ELIOPOLOUS.
Not Used: 1.Michael STARK.
Red Cards: 10.David STIRTON 56’