The Knights had the opportunity to go four in a row last Friday night as they faced off against 12th placed Hume City FC in round 17 NPL action. With a number of key players unavailable for selection, it was a disappointing night for the home side, as the Knights narrowly fell to Hume 3-2 at the end of regular time.
With Shaun Timmins and Timmy Purcell marked as ‘out’ for selection, the round 17 side included the return of Knights veteran Milan Batur to the bench alongside newcomer Mitchell Walsh.
— Melbourne Knights FC (@MelbKnights) June 22, 2018
The first half got off to the worst possible start for the home side, as Hume were able to catch the Knights defence asleep right after the referee’s whistle blew. A long ball delivered into the Knights half by Hume keeper Michael Weier was well received by Paul Swithenbank who was able to evade three Knights defenders to lay off a pass onto John Coife, who easily put it in between the posts leaving Harry Cakarun with some serious questions for his back four.
As the half progressed, the Knights constantly found themselves under pressure by an attacking Hume outfit, with the visitors afforded an overly large amount of space in front of goal. Hume, capitalising on the Knights defensive woes, were able to add to their score line 14 minutes into the half after another long ball was able to beat Knight’s back line and pick out Hume’s Bradley Blumenthal who remained unmarked and onside. Despite Teeboy Kamara’s efforts to track back, Blumenthal fired a shot on goal, beating Cakarun and giving his side a two-goal lead.
With the match quickly escaping the Knights, the home side was able to get back into the game with a well-placed headed effort on goal thanks to Knights leading goal scorer Tomislav Uskok. Knights’ hard-man Ben Surey was able to keep a corner set piece alive after the initial shot was dealt with by Hume, by replaying it into the box and squarely finding Uskok, who was then able to put it past Weier’s reach and into goal.
Brown and Swithenbank were able to give their side some extra comfort after a quick counter-attack saw Hume go 3-1 up. After receiving a ball in the midfield, Brown was able to advance and draw defenders away from Swithenbank who was able to find himself alone in front of goal. Brown laid off a pass onto Swithenbank, who then cashed in another goal for the visitors.
With defence-line constantly under pressure, and legs tiring, the Knights found themselves unable to get back into the match from open play. Well into the last 10 minutes of the match, Hume went down to 10 men after Harry Monaghan, already sitting on a yellow for a previous infringement on Andelo Svalina, collected his second yellow and subsequent sending off after what appeared to be hand ball in the box. This afforded the Knights with a late spot kick, taken by Uskok, who was able to easily beat Weier by placing the ball low and to the left.
The last-minute revival proved to be too late for the home side as Michael Mammis blew his whistle, ending an uninspired match by the Knights.
With the match over and a new week ahead, the focus is entirely on a travelling Bentleigh Greens, who will be looking for a repeat of their hard-fought win over the Knights back in round five.