Melbourne Knights produced a strong performance but had to settle for a 1-1 draw with Port Melbourne at SS Anderson Reserve on Friday night.
Despite enjoying a large share of possession and creating chances, Andrew Marth’s men went behind in the 27th minute against the run of play, as Brent Fisher poked home Julius Davies’ cross.
Returning to the starting line-up, striker Andrew Barisic brought the visitors level from the penalty spot just before the hour mark, sending Michael Stark the wrong way after Tomislav Uskok was brought down in the area.
The Knights had multiple chances to score a winner in the final half an hour of play, but couldn’t convert despite dictating proceedings.
It was fourth versus fifth and quality was on display from both sides throughout the night. As early as the first minute, Port star Kamal Ibrahim drew a save from Chris May who showed quick reflexes to keep out the winger’s free kick.
From there the Knights began to make their mark, with debutant and midseason arrival Robbie Zadworny causing plenty of problems with his pace down the left of Marth’s attack.
On 12 minutes Barisic hit a dipping strike that bounced just in front of Stark as the keeper awkwardly parried the ball to a defender.
Shortly after, Ibrahim earned himself some space in the box and hit a low shot, but May had his near post well covered.
The best chance yet fell to the Knights in the 23rd minute when Ben Surey played Chris Talajic through on goal. Stark saved the winger’s strike from a tight angle, but the ball looped up to Barisic who improvised to send a wonderful scissor-kick onto the crossbar.
The home side then took the lead and grew in confidence to go into the break with the advantage.
The home faithful were ready to celebrate five minutes into the second half, but Davies could only shoot straight at May from ten yards out and spurned a golden chance to make it 2-0.
After finding the equaliser, the Knights came painfully close to going ahead themselves. Barisic and Ivan Grgic both had powerful headers saved and cleared off the line, before substitute Anthony Colosimo’s effort was diverted just wide by Stark’s fingertips.
In the end the Knights took a point home and confidence from an improved display.