A week is a long time in football. Melbourne Knights put last week’s shocker behind them to record its first win of the season – a 2-1 victory – over Northcote City on Friday night at Somers Street.
Andrew Marth made significant changes to the starting eleven with Surey, Brekalo and Chalmers free from injury to make their first starts of the season. Youngster Anthony Katiforis also had an opportunity to slot into the back four at the expense of Ivan Grgic.
In search of an early goal, the Knights immediately had their visitors on the back foot. Jason Hicks’ curling free kick from 25yards in the 7th minute forced a good save from Petrovski in goals. Four successive corners followed with Petrovski called into action another two times to parry away opportunities, before a Andrijasevic penalty claim was turned down.
Sustained early pressure was eventually rewarded in the 15th minute. James McGarry’s free-kick fell invitingly for Stipo Andrijasevic to head home unchecked from close range, with last season’s top goalscorer opening his account for the season.
Northcote’s first opportunity came in the 18th minute as Bounas’ free-kick drew a good save from Fraser Chalmers, deputising in goals for the Knights.
Jason Hicks’ signing has already proven to be a revelation amongst the home faithful, with the Kiwi pulling the strings in the heart of the Knights midfield. A sublime cut back in the 23rd minute set up Andrijasevic in the box, however the striker’s initial hesitation eventually saw his shot blocked. Minutes later Hicks drew a reflex save form Petrovksi after combining well with McGarry to fashion an opportunity.
In the 33rd minute the Knights doubled their lead on the back of a fantastic flowing team move. James McGarry received the ball on the left wing, before beating a man and cutting into the middle of the park. An initial one-two with Andrijasevic beat another defender, before another one-two with Hicks saw the midfielder now clear on goal on the the adjacent wing. With still a rushing Petrokski still to beat, McGarry kept a cool head to sublimely chip the goalkeeper to round off the play.
The deficit sparked the visitors into action. A Cunningham cross was met by Handakas at the back post who could not direct his volley on target, before Rizk’s long range attempt drew a top save from Chalmers.
A half time substation saw Dekker enter the fray for Northcote, and the move paid dividends immediately when the attacker was brought down in the box by Chalmers for a penalty. Bounas sent the custodian the wrong way and the visitors were suddenly back in the game.
It could have been a horrendous start to the second half just five minutes later as Makalovski latched onto a long ball clear of the defence, however Chalmers was equal to the task saving down low to his right to thwart the attack and end Northcote’s momentum.
The home side had opportunities to bury the game, with McGarry seeing his shot deflect wide before Milan Batur’s header was cleared off the line. The missed opportunities set up a nervous final ten minutes of the game, however any chance of a late goal was all but extinguished when Josh Berrios was forced off with what looked like a serious leg injury after Northcote had already made their three substitutions.
After the game goal scorer James McGarry described how the team were looking for redemption.
“We definitely owed the fans who travelled to the game last week, and its good feeling to have a win.”
“I don’t get too many goals so I probably should score a few more, but its nice to get on the scoresheet.”
Attention now turns to next Friday where Knights make the trip over and under the Westgate bridge to face the Port Melbourne Sharks.
In the Under 20’s game the Home side also secured their first win of the season with a 3-1 win.
SHOTS: MK 13 NC 8
TARGET: MK 6 NC 4
CORNERS: MK 9 NC 3
OFFSIDES: MK 3 NC 1
FOULS: MK 12 NC 20
Melbourne Knights Squad: 20.Chalmers, 4.Surey, 5.Batur, 6.Cali, 8.McGarry (11.Jurkovic 90’), 9.Colosimo (14.Mikulic 69’), 13.Katiforis (3.Grgic 78’), 16.Hicks, 18.Brekalo, 19.Glavan, 21.Andrijasevic.
Not Used: 1.O’Farrell, 17.Purcell.
Goals. Andrijasevic 15’, McGarry 33’.
Cautions: 20.Chalmers, 4.Surey.
Northcote City Squad.1.Petrovski, 2.Wilkes (16.Sifiros 75’), 4.Lombardo, 7.Cunningham (15.Dekker 45’), 10.Makalovski, 11.Rizk, 17.Handakas (8.Berrios 59’), 19.Go, 20.Tzoulis, 21.Karvouniaris, 23.Bounas.
Not Used: 12.Said, 25.Gavalas.
Goals. Bounas 49’pen