Melbourne Knights’ fine form continued on Thursday night with a hard-worked 1-0 victory over the Bulleen Lions at Knights Stadium. Jason Hicks was again the hero getting on the scoresheet, but the result was down to a great team effort, in particular the defense.
Captain Milan Batur missed again, this time due to injury while Joshua Brekalo came into the side for the departing Stefan Cali.
A cagey opening 20 minutes saw little action in front of goal as both sides focused on establishing a foothold of the contest.
Despite this there were some decent half chances, with the most notable being a Hicks cross just evading Purcell at the far post, and a weaving run by Glavan that required a late clearance before Andrijasevic could pounce.
Fraser Chalmers was to thank for keeping the Knights level on the half hour mark. A run from Ballan from out wide created a shooting opportunity from just inside the penalty box, and through a sea of bodies Chalmers reacted just in time to sublimely tip the ball over the cross bar.
The importance of the save was highlighted a minute before half time. Nick Glavan pass to Jason Hicks on the edge of the area, which allowed last week’s hat-trick hero to spin onto his right foot and slot past a despairing McMaster in goals.
Bulleen came out for the second half looking to beat the Knights with pace. Takanori Nishimoto and former Knight Shayan Alinejad spread wide and looked to create goalscoring opportunities.
In the 54th minute, Alinejad tried his luck from just outside the box only to shoot just wide, before a mazy run from Abbott was well smothered by Chalmers.
Knights really should have doubled its lead in the 62nd minute. Stipo Andrijasevic did well to hold up the ball inside the area before setting up Hicks for a clear strike on goal. On this occasion the goalscorer failed to hit the target from close range.
Another glorious opportunity presented itself in the 85th minute when a Talajic effort from a tight angle required a smart save by McMaster at the near post.
Poor finishing was the main downfall for the Lions, as only 1 of their 12 shots on goal managed to hit the target. The Knights managed to hold their lead with little trouble but not before a final attempt from Covarrubias skied over the bar.
Speaking to Knights Media after the game, Goalkeeper Fraser Chalmers spoke about the important win, clean sheet and ‘that save’.
“I think we dominated quite well, Bulleen are definitely a good side, but our efforts today were really good and we probably had a chance to put another one or two away”.
“The young boys have down a really good job recently, they know they are required to step up especially as Milan was absent, and I think they did really well and will make things difficult for Marth in his next squad selection”.
“Yeah: didn’t know too much about that save, just flung my arm up and got to it luckily”.
In the under 21’s the Knights drew 3-3, having played with 10 men for the majority of the contest.
Our next fixture will will be away to Richmond at Kevin Bartlett reserve on Friday Night. Kick off is at 8:30om.
SHOTS: MK 9 BL 12
TARGET: MK 3 BL 1
CORNERS: MK 6 ER 7
Melbourne Knights Squad: 20.Chalmers, 3.Grgic, 4.Surey, 8.McGarry, 9.Colosimo (14.Mikulic 87’), 13.Katiforis, 16.Hicks, 18.Brekalo (11.Jurkovic 61’), 19.Glavan, 21.Andrijasevic, 23.Purcell (7.Talajic 73’).
Not Used. 1.O’Farrell, 12.Dezic.
Cautions: Surey, Hicks, McGarry, Talajic.
Goals: Hicks 44’
Bulleen Lions: 1.McMaster, 2.Luttmer, 3.Abbott, 6.Hysolli (22.Lorenzi 74’), 8.Ballan, 10.Nishimoto, 11. DeNittis (3.Waddell 67’), 17.Nour (12.Covarrubbias 84’), 18.Rosman, 19.Alinejad, 20.Mullett.
Not Used: 4.Borghesi, 21.Banfield.
Cautions: DeNittis, Abbott, Alinejad.