A 92nd minute goal from Ken Athiu rescued a point for Heidelberg United, in an enthralling 2-2 draw at Knights Stadium on Friday Night.
Andrew Marth made just the one change to his starting eleven, with central defender Damien Miskulin replacing fullback Tim Purcell. Ben Surey shifted back into the midfield, whilst youngster Anthony Dezic slotted into right back. Nikola Jurkovic who had missed the past month due to injury was named on the bench.
The Knights enjoyed early possession of the ball, however neither side threatened their opposing goalkeepers in the opening 20 minutes of play.
Heidelberg’s main threat up front Ken Athiu had already notched up 5 goals heading into this contest, and showed exactly why he is one of the league’s most lethal strikers. Winning possession just outside the 18 yard box, Athiu left Chalmers flatfooted with a left foot curling shot into the top corner.
However the lead would last for only 90 seconds. Jason Hicks’ corner was put back across goal by Batur with Tom Cahill on hand to finish from close range. The goal taking the Englishman’s tally to 5 for the season.
Suddenly the match opened up as chances fell to both sides to break the deadlock before half time.
Fraser Chalmers was alert to prevent Athiu from restoring Heidelberg’s advantage, coming off his line quickly to deny the striker in a one-on-one. Chalmers was also grateful for his upright, which denied Kanakaris from the resulting rebound.
Hicks & Kamsoba were unable to capitalise on an error from Steven Pace, with their efforts denied by some desperate Heidelberg defending.
The last opportunity of the half fell to the visitors after a long throw found its way to Athiu, only for the strikers effort from 8 yards to be denied by a Chalmers reflex save.
On the hour mark pressure from Elvis Kamsoba on the Heidelberg back four forced a turnover. The winger taking full advantage with a composed finish into the bottom corner. The South Australian signing has fast become a fan favourite, taking his goal tally to 5 whilst celebrating with a number of somersaults and backflips.
Heidelberg piled on the pressure in search of an equaliser, while a number of decisions and non-decisions from the official added to the frustration for both sides.
In the 80th minute, Ken Athiu looked to have impeded Brekalo with shove from behind, however play was allowed to continue as the striker darted into the box and cut back to Zahra who skied his effort over the bar.
Heidelberg who a fortnight ago overturned a two goal deficit in the last eight minute’s to defeat Green Gully, continually pilled on the pressure and were rewarded in the final minute of stoppage time.
A route-one long ball found Athiu inside the area, and despite a tight angle and pressure from a defender was able to take one touch before clinically volleying past Chalmers and into the bottom corner.
The two points dropped leaves the Knights on the verge of falling outside the top six after the completion on the round, while a busy Easter period starts this Thursday with a trip to the Eltham to face Banyule City in the FFA Cup, before a Easter Monday clash away to bitter rivals South Melbourne.
Melbourne Knights: 1.Fraser CHALMERS, 4.Ben SUREY, 5.Damien MISKULIN, 6.Milan BATUR, 9.Kym HARRIS (10.Marijan CVITKOVIC 77′), 12.Anthony DEZIC, 13.Tom CAHILL, 15.Danny DIXON (7.Rob ZADWORNY 92′), 16.Jason HICKS (11.Nikola JURKOVIC 94′), 18.Joshua BREKALO, 27.Elvis KAMSOBA.
Not Used: 30.Gabriel MATTI, 23.Tim PURCELL
Goals: Tom CAHILL 22′, Elvis KAMSOBA 62;.
Heidelberg United: 1.Christopher THEODORIDIS-PETROPOULOS, 2.Joshua WILKINS, 3.Leslie DOUMBALIS, 6.Lewis HALL, 9.Adrain ZAHRA, 11.Kostas KANAKARIS (5.Philip PETROSKI 80′), 12.Ken ATHIU, 13.Luke BYLES, 14.Harry NOON, 17.Steven PACE, 19.Sean ELLIS
Not Used: 23.Christian PAVLIDIS, 4.Jordan WILKES, 15.Paul O’BRIEN
Goals: Ken ATHIU 20′, 92′.