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Knights dig deep to go two from two

The Melbourne Knights have continued their great start to the 2019 season with a last gasp 4-3 win over Altona Magic in an enthralling game that will go down as one of the games of the season.

The Knights made no changes to the starting 11 that comprehensively defeated Oakleigh last week.

A slow start to the game saw the home side quickly punished by the visitors as former Knights’ player James McGarry waltzed his way through the Knight’s defence and slipped through 2018 player of the year and new recruit Dusan Bosnjak, who coolly finished to put Magic 1-0 ahead in the 5th minute.

The Knights worked their way back into the game slowly and should have been awarded what looked like a clear penalty when Ross Archibald brought down last week’s hero, Hamish Watson in the 15th minute but the referee wasn’t having any of it.

However the Knights were rewarded with a penalty shortly after as Luke Jurcic’s long throw was headed into the path of Watson who was held back in the area.

It was Watson himself who stepped up to take the spot kick in the 21st minute and equalized for the home side.

Despite taking control of the game after they drew level the Knights would fine themselves 2-1 down just before the half time break when some great build up play allowed Robert Stambolziev to put the visitors back in front.

Micky Colina made one a change at the break replacing Luke Jurcic with Tom Podaridis.

The second half begun much the way the first 45 did with youngster, Harry Cakarun being called into action on numerous occasions.

Against the run of play, a lofted ball to Watson was controlled well and laid off to an oncoming Tomislav Uskok who hit a sensational strike from 35 yards out to draw the Knights’ level for the second time in the 54th minute.

However, 5 minutes later magic hit the lead again after a sensational cross from Stambolziev was headed in by Dutch striker, Michiel Hemmen giving Cakarun no chance.

The Knights’ would find themselves level again when Duzel’s well weighted corner was met brilliantly by Nikola Jurkovic in the 70th minute to head the home side back on level terms.

Despite being on the back foot for most of the game, it was the Knights’ who were pushing for the winning goal.

As the home side continued to throw numbers forward a potential counter attack was broken down by a professional foul by Anthony Duzel who received his second yellow card for the match and was given his marching orders in the 89th minute.

Just when it seemed the sea-sawing affair would end in a draw, deep into added time a brilliant corner by Gian Albano found the head of young gun AJ Inia who made no mistake from 6 yards out and sent the boisterous home crowd of over 1500 into delirium as the Knights’ took all 3 points at the death.

The Knights now travel to the 2018 NPL champions Heidelberg Untied on Saturday night in what looms to be yet another mouthwatering encounter.

Match Stats

Melbourne Knights 4
(Watson 21’(p), Uskok 54’, Jurkovic 70’, Inia 91’)

Altona Magic 3
(Bosnjak 5’, Stambolziev 45’, Hemmen 61’)

Attendance: 1500

Lineups

Melbourne Knights: 1. Harry Cakarun, 2. Luke Jurcic (Tom Podaridis 45’), 6. Tomislav Uskok, 8. Gian Albano, 9. Hamish Watson (Atilla Ofli 70’), 10. Marijan Cvitkovic (AJ Inia 59?), 11. Nikola Jurkovic,, 12. Corey Sewell, 13. Ayden Brice, 19. Anthony Duzel, 27. Joseph Franjic

Altona Magic: 1. Daniel Collison, 2. Lirim Elmazi, 4. James McGarry, 5. Troy Ruthven, 6. Johnny Stojcevski, 8. Robert Stambolziev, 10. Dusan Bosnjak, 15. Ross Archibald, 19. Sami Nour, 20. Sam Mitchinson, 23. Michiel Hemmen.

It was a night of highs and low but ultimately the Knights prevailed over the Magic with a nail-bitting 4-3 win at home in front a large home crowd.

Posted by Melbourne Knights FC on Saturday, 23 February 2019

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