Spirits were high on Friday night at Somers St as the Knights faced a travelling Port Melbourne Sharks SC in Round 24 of the Victorian NPL. The grandstand was upstanding before kick off as the club payed respects to the unexpected passing of clubman Leo Stolica, by observing a minutes silence; with the thoughts and prayers of the club and fans going out to the Stolica family during this solemn time.
This weeks starting 11 saw international Andelo Svalina
— Melbourne Knights FC (@MelbKnights) August 10, 2018
Officiating the match was regular Perry Mur and as soon as he indicated play to begin, the Knights found themselves on the backfoot. In a scene that is uncomfortably familiar for Knights fans, the home side found themselves trailing after only four minutes of play, as the Sharks were able jet through the porous Knights defence with a passage of play between Sam Smith and Francisco Stella, the latter finding himself unopposed in front of goal. It didn’t take much else for Stella to slot the ball past Knights keeper Jordan Gifkins to send his side up with a whole half still to play.
Like the playbook from the Knights’ Round 22 match against Kingston City, the first half was bounded by a goal from each side, with a middle section of back and forth play. For the Knights, Teeboy Kamara was influential on the left wing, constantly being involved in either setting up goal scoring opportunity or having a shot himself.
Despite the opportunities falling to the home side, the Sharks constantly found ways to cut through the Knights defense and keep the squad in their toes. For the most part, Port Melbourne had a more productive first half, often just missing out on a second goal as shots travelled just wide of the sticks. To the displeasure of the home fans in attendance, the Knights found themselves playing catch up for the majority of the first 45. It wasn’t until the 42nd minute that the deadlock broke and the Knights found themselves a crucial equaliser right before half time. A low cross into the 8-yard box from Luke Jurcic on the right wing fell right to the feet of Harris, who was in front of goal and was able to slot it past Matthew Symes.
With an important equaliser before half time, Perry Mur signalled for a break and the Knights retuned to the change rooms.
The Knights rocketed out into the second half with a goal right after the whistle. A defensive mishap saw Port Melbourne’s Michael Eagers turn over the ball in the 18-yard box to skipper Marijan Cvitkovic, who had a good look towards goal and saw Teeboy Kamara cutting in with time and space to spare. Kamara took no chances and put it past the goal line, giving the Knights the lead early in the second half.
With a more tenacious attitude, the Knights kept applying the pressure, but the visitors were able to find a way back into the match after Francesco Stella was once again able to deliver for the Sharks after firing a shot just outside of the 18-yard box, over the defence and past Gifkins into goal.
As the match played on, a number of chances fell to the Knights. With 90 minutes fast approaching and the scores level at 2 apiece, it seemed likely that the spoils would be shared between both clubs, despite the Knights having a stronger second half showing over their opponents.
With only three minutes of extra time, the moment was now for the Knights if they wanted to have a serious shot at playing finals football. After committing numbers forward, the Knights were able to find the answer they were looking for thanks to a final ball at the feet of Kym Harris.
Luke Jurcic was able to pick out an onside Harris, who drove the ball forward into the 18-yard box and took a shot on goal, beating a outstretched Symes
With the three points safely in the bank, the Knights live to fight another day. Next week sees the side travel for the last time this season, this time to the Veneto Club to face off against FC Bulleen Lions.
It was a nail biter right till the very end as the Knights deservedly claimed all 3 points against the Sharks in round 24 of the NPL.Photos: Mikko Robles#itsyourclub #mkfc
In other club related news, come and support our Melbourne Knights Football Club and it’s players in the annual golf day being held this year at Medway Golf Club in Maidstone.
Join the club for a spirited golf fuelled day in a 4-man Ambrose format, designed to ensure golfers mix and play together with equal enjoyment irrespective of ability. Tee off is penciled in for 11:30am, but please arrive at the golf club by no later that 11am for a prompt start.
There will be prizes up for grabs and a post-fairway dinner to be held back at Melbourne Croatia Soccer Club.
Further details coming shortly.
Places are limited so please book your team ASAP by contacting Rob Spoljar on 0415 586 269