The Melbourne Knights have recorded their first draw of the 2022 NPL Victoria season, sharing the spoils with Avondale FC.
Starting XI: Thomas Manos (GK), Jack Marth, Thiery Iradukunda, Ayden Brice (C), Anthony Duzel, Gian Albano, Anthony Frangie, Mohamad Sumaoro, Trevor Ssemakula, Jack Morton, Luka Kolic
Substitutes: Harry Cakarun (GK), Fuki Ishibashi, Joseph Colina, Luka Celic, Andy Robertson, Steve Sokol
After travelling to Avenger Park, the Knights held some weight on their shoulders. A result was a must, as they found themselves on the offset of the top six.
It was the home side who kicked things off, finding the net first. Dylan Jakupi put Avondale 1-0 inside 20 minutes. His first goal of the season gave the home side the early edge on the tie.
Luka Celic was introduced into the match earlier than expected. He replaced Gian Albano in the 38th minutes after Albano went down.
The Knights trailed at the half, but perseverance prevailed in the second half, as the Knights proved that they weren’t done yet.
Just over 10 minutes into the second half, the Knights drew level. In what has felt like an eventuality, after his last string of performances, substitute Luka Celic, scored his first goal for the club. Celic expertly twisted and turned outside the box before nailing it in the top corner, scoring an uplifting equaliser for Knights fans in attendance.
Some tweaks were made in the second half which saw Andy Robertson and Joseph Colina reinstating the energy levels around the pitch.
With both sides fighting for victory, the match ended a draw as neither were able to seal the deal for the sides, despite chances. Importantly, the Knights were able to collect a point on the road as they head into a huge round 16 fixture. Next weekend, the Knights host a big OG Melbourne Derby, as South Melbourne are set to visit Somers Street.
– Tom Hayes