A luckless Melbourne Knights continued its poor form on Saturday night, conceding two late goals against 10-man Green Gully in a horror final 5 minutes.
Knights went into the fixture after another short break, having exited the FFA Cup on Wednesday night. Andrew Marth made just the one change with Damien Miskulin coming in for Robert Zadworny who was named on the bench.
The Knights bench highlighted just how stretched the squad currently is due to injuries and suspension, with only 4 players named including teenager Adrian Tardio and 14-year-old Marko Bulic.
True to recent form, the visitors began the match looking the most likely to open the scoring. Danny Dixon drew a decent save from Dowisha in the 5th minute, before Jason Hicks’ quick turn and shot went just over.
Matti was called into action in the 11th minute denying Gully danger man Nick Krousoratis with a diving save to his left.
Elvis Kamsoba looked the most dangerous for the visitors, with his quick turns and change of pace leaving his opposition defenders bewildered.
A common theme during the recent form slump has been the Knights’ inability to score when on top in the contest, but it looked as though they would be gifted an opportunity to change that trend late in the first half. Luke Walker saw red just minutes before the break after the referee adjudged he brought down Kym Harris illegally as the last man.
The Knights were handed another gift just 5 minutes into the second half. Hicks intercepted a wayward pass in defence before expertly slotting home past Dowisha to give the visitors the lead.
Dowisha did well to deny Harris from increasing the Knights advantage just seven minutes later, making himself large to deny the strikers effort from a tight angle.
Despite having the lead and numerical advantage, the Knights never looked comfortable in the contest. Green Gully continued to press the nervous back four winning numerous free kicks in dangerous positions.
The home side came close to levelling the scoreline in the 75th minute. Matthew Breeze’s free kick was pushed away by Matti, before the next attack saw Alex Canigia cannon his effort into the framework.
Just moments later and the Knights spurned another chance to close out the contest. Kamsoba got himself in behind the Gully defence but was denied by Dowisha from a tight angle, the ball found it’s way back to Kamsoba who squared it for Dixon only for him to be blocked by a lunging and desperate Gully defender.
Late goals has cost the Melbourne Knights dearly this season, and they were again punished to the full extent in what can only be described as a horror final five minutes.
Nick Krousoratis latched onto Batur’s poor clearance, weaved his way into the box and finished low past Matti to level the scores.
The horror show still had one final twist in the 92nd minute, as Jay Davies low cross from the right was indadvertedly deflected into the back of the net via the shin of Batur.
This defeat leaves the Knights still stuck on 11 points for the season and currently in the relegation playoff position of 12th. This sets up a pivotal clash on Friday night, when the Knights host winless North Geelong on Friday night.
Melbourne Knights Squad: 20.Gabriel MATTI, 4.Ben SUREY, 5.Damien MISKULIN, 6.Milan BATUR, 9.Kym HARRIS (7.Rob ZADWORNY 87′), 11.Nikola JURKOVIC (2.Luke JURCIC 65′), 12.Anthony DEZIC, 15.Danny DIXON, 16.Jason HICKS, 23.Tim PURCELL, 27.Elvis KAMSOBA.
Not Used: 1.Marko BULIC, 45.Adrien TARDIO.
Goals: HICKS 50′.
Green Gully Squad:. 23.Rani DOWISHA, 4.Daniel JONES, 7.Jay DAVIES, 8.George LAMBARIDIS (10.Matthew BREEZE 58′), 11.Nick KROUSORATIS, 12.Wade DEKKER (2.Matthew REID 46′), 16.Kliment TASESKI, 17.Alex CANIGLIA, 19.Luke WALKER, 25.Jeremy WALKER, 77.Steve HATZIKOSTAS.
Not Used: 1.Andrew SCHILLE, 18.Aleks TASESKI, 14.Dion PAOLA.
Goals: KROUSORATIS 86′, BATUR OG 91′.