Jason Hicks netted a hat-trick on Friday night during a second half onslaught which saw Melbourne Knights secure a 7-0 win over the Eltham Redbacks and a safe passage into the 5th round of the FFA Cup.
Leaving nothing to chance, Knights fielded its strongest side available, with the only change being Ivan Grgic replacing the suspended Milan Batur in defense. State League Three side Eltham came into the game in high spirits after defeating State League Two side Morwell in the previous round.
Knights goalkeeper Fraser Chalmers was called into action as early as the 10th minute, with the Redbacks’ Muratbegovic stealing possession and forcing the ‘keeper into a save down low to his left.
As the match began to settle, the home side enjoyed more possession of the ball and began to apply pressure to the Eltham defense.
In the 15th minute, Colosimo and Andrijasevic broke clear of the back line, but an errand pass ruined what was a golden opportunity to open the scoring.
Jason Hicks tried his luck from a free kick but failed to hit the target, before a bursting run and cross from Glavan just evaded Purcell at the back post.
A series of half-chances followed but lacked the clinical finishing to find the back of the net. Hicks drew a save with an effort from distance, Purcell saw his effort smothered by the keeper and Colosimo failed to generate enough power on his shot to trouble Eltham’s Dell’Aquilla in goals.
The deadlock was finally broken however with a screamer from Ben Surey on the half hour mark. Latching onto a poor clearance, Surey’s half volley from just outside the box found the top corner of the net, leaving the ‘keeper with no chance.
Taking just a 1-0 lead into the break, the Knights came out of the change rooms with a clear intent of putting the game to bed as quickly as possible.
Just three minutes in, Timmy Purcell’s cross found Andrijasevic unmarked, however instead of opting to bring the ball down, the striker could only direct his header wide of the goal.
Andrijasevic then turned provider for the second goal of the game, setting up Jacob Colosimo for a simple finish in the 53rd minute.
Eltham had their best opportunity to score in the 57th as Equipart drew a decent save from Chalmers in goals. That opportunity would have brought the State League side back into the match, however the final half hour saw the Knights run rampant against the tiring Redbacks outfit.
A one-two pass allowed Hicks to score his first goal for the club, before doubling his account just just three minutes later on the back of some good work by Andrijasevic.
The introduction of Talajic only compounded the misery for the visiting side, as within a minute of entering the field, the winger delivered a sublime cross for another substitute in Jurkovic to head home via the underside of the cross bar.
With four goals in the space of thirteen minutes, Knights suddenly found themselves 5-0 up and enjoyed playing with the luxury of a comfortable margin. Purcell attempted to out-class Surey’s opening goal with a delightful solo run and pirouette only to hit his effort over the bar.
Talajic added to the goals in the 78th minute, beating Dell’Aquiala with a low curling effort across goal after being played through by Cali. There was still enough time for Hicks to compete his hat-tick, prodding home from close range to complete the romp for the home side.
Speaking to Knights Media post-match, tireless defender Nick Glavan spoke about the match and ambitions for the Knights in the Cup.
“Considering Eltham are three divisions below us, I thought they gave us a very good game especially in the first half. We created a few chances but couldn’t put them away, thankfully in the second half we could”.
“I’m always aiming to create overlapping runs and get forward as much as I can, Stabba (Marth) is encouraging me to do that more often and hopefully I can continue carrying that on”
“Hopefully we can have a good run this year and and get a televised game against an A-League side”.
League action resumes on Thursday night as the Knights welcome newly promoted Bulleen Lions to Knights Stadium, kick off is at 8:30pm.
SHOTS: MK 20 ER 4
TARGET: MK 13 ER 3
CORNERS: MK 6 ER 2
Melbourne Knights Squad: 20.Chalmers, 3.Grgic, 4.Surey (12.Dezic 62’), 6.Cali, 8.McGarry (11.Jurkovic 58’), 9.Colosimo (7.Talajic 66’),13.Katiforis, 16.Hicks, 19.Glavan, 21.Andrijasevic, 23.Purcell.
Not Used. 1.O’Farrell, 14.Mikulic.
Goals: Surey 31’, Colosimo 53’, Hicks 58’, 61’, 82’, Jurkovic 66’, Talajic 78’.
Eltham Squad: 00.Dell’Aquilla, 4.McLean, 7.Erastus, 11.Muratbegovic, 12.John Walker, 13.Jamie Walker (19.Filonzi 65’), 14.Equipart, 15.Unwin, 17.Yates, 18.Rollins (5.Ovens 53’), 21.Colaci (6.D.Robertson 67’).
Not Used: 1.Linssen, 20.L.Robertson.