Melbourne Knights picked up their eleventh win of the 2023 NPL Victoria season with a 3-0 triumph over North Geelong Warriors in Round 21 action at Elcho Park on Sunday afternoon.
A trio of first half goals from Luka Kolic, Anton Kinnander and Ivan Franjic did the damage as Knights completed a league double over their Croatian rivals.
Kolic put Knights ahead in the eleventh minute when he forced a turnover high up the pitch before pouncing to finish at the back post after Hamish Flavell got a hand to Kinnander’s initial effort.
After netting his seventh goal in all competitions for 2023 Kolic then won a spot-kick for the visitors when he played a one-two with Kinnander before being chopped down by Ibrahim Mohamed whilst baring in on goal.
Kinnander made no mistake from the resulting penalty, coolly placing his effort into the bottom corner for his second goal in four appearances since joining Knights in the winter transfer window.
Knights skipper Ivan Franjic rounded out the scoring in the 45th minute when he rose highest to nod home from a Gevaro Nepomuceno corner for what was his second goal of the season.
Sunday’s win leaves Knights in fourth position on the NPL Victoria ladder with just five rounds remaining of the 2023 regular season.
Knights currently sit on 38 points, seven clear of seventh placed Green Gully as they aim to lock in a first NPL Victoria finals appearance since 2015.
Speaking post-match, Melbourne Knights Head Coach Ben Cahn said his side were pleased to have put in another strong performance ahead of Wednesday’s Dockerty Cup Semi Final against Oakleigh Cannons.
“It was a good win and a very important three points,” Cahn said.
“The game was difficult, the pitch was bad and the weather made it a bit chaotic but aside from a few moments early on, we controlled it all and did what we need to do to leave with a win,
“Again, I’m proud of players, the whole squad is contributing and doing well with the games coming thick and fast.
“We’re looking forward to Wednesday, it’s great to have big games back at Somers Street and we’ll be ready to give it everything and try to get the club in to a cup final.
Ben Cahn’s side face another short turnaround in a schedule that shows no let up with Wednesday’s Dockerty Cup Semi Final against Oakleigh Cannons looming.
Knights and Cannons have already met twice this season with each of the previous meetings between the pair finishing as draws.
Knights next NPL Victoria match is at Somers Street on Sunday afternoon against Moreland City.
NPL Victoria 2023 – Round 21: North Geelong Warriors v Melbourne Knights FC
Elcho Park, Lara
Sunday, July 9
North Geelong Warriors – 0
Melbourne Knights – 3 (Luka KOLIC 11’, Anton KINNANDER 26’, Ivan FRANJIC 45’)