Amidst eerily foggy conditions at the Veneto Club, Melbourne Knights and Bulleen Lions played out an entertaining 1-1 draw on Monday night.
Andrew Marth made just the one change from his side that defeated Port Melbourne, with Nikola Jurkovic slotting into the heart of defense in place of the suspended Damian Miskulin.
With both sides desperate to keep in touch with the top 6, it was the home side which took the early ascendency of the contest.
Captain Matteo Ballan, Christian Cavallo, Michael Dsasi and Andreas Govas spurned opportunities within the opening 20 minutes failing to hit the target from good positions.
The Knights lacked the cutting edge in the final third, with a Shayan Alinejad poor touch whilst through on goal summing up the visitors start to the match.
Bulleen caught the Knights defense napping and deservedly took the lead on the 25th minute mark. Cavallo was followed up on a freekick which struck the post to tap home easily whilst the Knights were left ball watching and flat-footed.
Some heroics from Chalmers in the visitors goals prevented the Knights falling even further behind, first saving from Cavallo, before spectacularly keeping out Govas and Dsasi with reflex saves.
A Zadworny strike in the 33rd minute was agonizingly wide of the far upright, however it was a sign that the Knights were working their way back into the contest.
Just five minutes later and the Knights did find an equalizer. Andrijasevic picked out Zadworny down the left flank, who crossed for Cvitkovic to tap home at the second attempt.
Buoyed by the goal, the Knights started the second half with increased confidence levels. Zadworny had an early chance, cutting in from the left and hitting his shot just wide of the near post.
The Knights thought they had grabbed the go-ahead goal on the hour mark, McGarry whipped in a cross which was nodded home by Grgic, however the lineman ruled out the goal for offside.
Chalmers again was called into action in the 71st and 80th minute, saving from a low drive from Ballan and a half volley from substitute Sam Nour.
The Knights finished the game on the front foot and looked more likely to grab a late equalizer. The best chance coming in the 91st minute as Timmy Purcell cut in from left back and combined with Colosimo, the substitute provided for Hicks who could only direct in effort straight at McMaster in goals.
The draw does little favors for the Knights ambitions of a late top 6 surge, with this Sunday’s fixture against Richmond as Knights Stadium a pivotal game. Kickoff is at 3pm.
In the Under 21’s the Knights fought back from a 3-0 deficit to earn a creditable draw.
Shots: MK 6 BL 18
Target: MK 2 BL 7
Corners: MK 10 BL 6
Melbourne Knights Squad: 20.Fraser CHALMERS, 3.Ivan GRGIC, 7.Shayan ALINEJAD, 8.James MCGARRY, 10.Marijan CVITKOVIC (9.Jacob COLOSIMO 73’), 11.Nikola JURKOVIC, 16.Jason HICKS, 17. Robbie ZADWORNY (15.Julies DAVIES 78’), 19.Nick GLAVAN, 21.Stipo ANDRIJASEVIC, 23.Timmy PURCELL.
Not Used: 1.Michael O’FARRELL, 2.Luke JURCIC, 12.Anthony DEZIC.
Goals: Marijan CVITKOVIC 38’.
Bulleen Lions: 1.Griffin MCMASTER, 3.Will ABBOTT, 4.Samm BORGHESI, 6.Bardi HYSOLI (33.Davide CARDAMONE 85’), 8.Matteo BALLAN, 9.Michael DSASI, 12.Christian CAVALLO (5.Alon BLUMGART 78’), 18.Felix ROSMAN, 20.Andrew MULLETT, 23.Ersin KAYA (17.Sam NOUR 65’), 30.Andreas GOVAS.
Not Used: 21.Tom BANFIELD, 16.Nathan TIDMARSH.
Goals: Christian CAVALLO 25’