South Melbourne played host to the Melbourne Knights in the latest instalment of the traditional Melbourne Derby. With the Knights keeping one eye on the crucial midweek FFA cup fixture, Andrew Marth rotated a number of players with Grgic, Cvitkovic, Zadworny and Davies all out of the squad, whilst Jurkovic served his suspension.
South Melbourne began the contest on the front foot. Steve Hatzikostas had the first effort in the opening minute firing well wide from the edge of the area. Marcus Schroen was next to test his luck in the third minute, winning possession and evading a challenge before shooting high and wide.
The first chance for the Knights’ fell to Stipo Andrijasevic in the 5th minute. A delightful cross form Dezic was nodded down by Andrijasevic looking for Colosimo, with the balling deflecting back to the striker who lashed his effort well over the bar.
A quick throw-in found Alinejad in the box who quickly played in Colosimo who positioned himself just on the penalty spot, however the striker delayed his shot initially allowing for Adams to get enough of his body in the way for the effort to fall gratefully to Roganovic.
Manuel Herrero had the best opportunity to date to open the scoring in the 19th minute, with a clear sight on goal the spanish import a delayed his shot which allowed Batur to put enough pressure on the striker to shoot wide.
A swift Knights counter resulted in McGarry sending a low driver narrowly wide of the far upright with Roganovic left flat footed.
South Melbourne goal-machine Milos Lujic was kept relatively quiet for much of the opening stanza, but would still have a major say in the contest in the final moments of the half. After initially spurning a glorious chance to opening the scoring, Lujic tapped home from a Norton cross in the next attack to send the home side into the rooms with the advantage.
Jacob Colosimo almost brought the Knights level in the 55th minute, turning on a dime inside the area to beat his opponent before curling his effort just inches wide of the top corner.
Just as the Knights looked to be pushing onto the front foot, young defender Damian Miskulic received his marching orders for a second yellow card. Ironically having also been sent off against South earlier this season in his debut for the club.
The sending off didn’t do much to the Knights momentum though, as Andrijasevic won a free-kick just on the area. James McGarry expertly placed his shot under the South wall and into the back of the net to get the Knights back level in the contest.
Having the man advantage South continued to push the Knights defence further and further deeper, but lacked any potency in the final third. Frustration was going amongst the home fans and players as Lujic had a air swing from close range in the 80th minute.
The South pressure eventually took its toll as they regained the lead in the 85th minute. Millar found himself on the end of a Schroen cross to nod home from close range.
Andrew Marth and his side now turn their attention to the all important FFA Cup game against Cockburn City on Wednesday night at Knights Stadium. Kick off is at 7:30pm
Shots: MK 9 SM 10
Target: MK 2 SM 5
Corners: MK 1 SM 9
Melbourne Knights Squad. 20.Fraser Chalmers, 5.Milan BATUR, 6.Damian MISKULIN, 7.Shayan ALINEJAD (14.Caleb MIKULIC 85’), 8.James MCGARRY (13.Anthony KATAFORIS 89’), 9.Jacob COLOSIMO (2.Luke JURCIC 75’), 12.Anthony DEZIC, 16.Jason HICKS,19.Nick GLAVAN, 21.Stipo ANDRIJASEVIC, 23 Timmy PURCELL.
Not Used: 1.Harry CAKARUN.
Goals: James MCGARRY 65’
Red Cards: Damian MISKULIN 60’
South Melbourne Squad: 1.Nikola ROGANOVIC, 3.Kristian KONSTANTINIDIS, 5.Luke ADAMS, 7.Nicholas EPIFANO, 9.Milos LUJIC, 11.Brad NORTON, 15. Manuel HERRERO(27.Leigh MINOPOULOS 75’), 17.Marcus SCHROEN, 18.Matthew MILLAR, 23. Matthew FOSCHINI, 77 Steve HATZIKOSTAS.
Goals: Milos LUJIC 42’, Matthew Millar 85’
Not Used: 2.Shpetum MALA, 2. Amadu KOROMA, 14.Chris IRWIN, 21.Zaim ZENELI