Knights keep the W after a fiery end against Magic

The Melbourne Knights have walked away with three points in the final minutes, defeating Altona Magic – two goals to one.

Melbourne Knights Starting XI:

Thomas Manos (GK), Lachlan Weier, Ayden Brice (C), Anthony Duzel, James McGarry, Alun Webb, Gian Albano, Caleb Mikulic, Trevor Zwetsloot, Trevor Ssemakula, Nick Glavan.

Melbourne Knights Substitutes:

Harry Cakarun (GK), Jack Marth, Nikola Jurkovic, Mathew Breeze, Daniel Petrov.

The Knights have risen to fourth spot on the NPL Victoria table, following a nail-biting finish to their clash with the winless Altona Magic.

With plenty of the ball early, the Knights were able to ease themselves into proceedings. Chances from Alun Webb and Gian Albano went begging before the Knights lead was truly established.

After 29 minutes the deadlock was broken. Trevor Ssemakula won possession in a dangerous position and linked nicely with Alun Webb. Magic Keeper Chris Oldfield was able to get a slight touch on Webbs shot but he dinked the ball over the keeper for the opener. The opening goal was Webb’s sixth goal in all competitions this season.

The goal scorer was then substituted soon after with what looked to be a muscle strain. He was replaced by Mathew Breeze in the 38th minute.

Photographed by Mikko Robles

Just before the half time whistle was blown, Trevor Ssemakula nearly doubled the lead, but it was kept out by Altona keeper. The Knights went into the break with their 1-nil lead intact.

Frustrations began to kick in early in the second half for the visitors – a number of yellow cards were dished out, undesirably in favour of the Magic.

Anthony Duzel was the first Knights player to be booked in the 64th minute, for kicking the ball away in protest of a free kick.

Altona were beginning to make a challenge on the Knight’s goal, with Thomas Manos saving their best chance of the game yet. Making himself big, he was able to keep the opposition at bay.

As the match progressed, the Knights opted for a more defensive approach. Nikola Jurkovic and Jack Marth were subbed on for the earlier substitute – Mathew Breeze and Caleb Mikulic, in an attempt to keep the lead and clean sheet intact.

The match entered extra time and the clean sheet was conceded away with the Magic equalising in the 91st minute, through Chris Lucas.

Moments later, the Knights were staring down the barrel of a single point, but they were given one last chance as Gian Albano was brought down in front of goal and consequently awarded a spot kick.

Albano converted the penalty from 12 yards and the Knights took back all three points, after conceding and gaining the lead back within a matter of minutes.

Photographed by Mikko Robles

After a wild final five minutes the Knights were able to celebrate another home victory, thanks to goals from Alun Webb and Gian Albano.

Next up, the Knights will travel to Keilor Downs to face fifth-placed Green Gully in an all-important match on Friday, April 23.

– By Tom Hayes

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