For the second time in a week Melbourne Knights left it until the 90th minute to secure victory, with a last gasp strike from Jason Hicks earning his side all three points against Melbourne Victory’s Youth side.
Andrew Marth made just the one change from Tuesday night’s cup win, with James McGarry slotting back into the midfield at the expense of Marijan Cvitkovic. There was also the welcome sight of Robbie Zadworny on the bench for the first time this season following a lengthy injury layoff.
Jason Hicks had the first opportunity on goal in the 4th minute, requiring a last ditch block from defender Damien Miskulic to prevent an early opener.
A slightly late challenge from Ben Surey caused minor heart palpitations as the referee accidentally brandished a red card, before realising his mistake and correctly downgraded the punishment to just a caution.
Kieran Dover spurned a golden opportunity for the home side on the 22nd minute mark, volleying over from close range after a good cross from Maclean.
On the half hour mark, Ben Surey was forced off with a potentially serious knee injury after coming off second best in a challenge. Marth then opted for the youthfulness, bringing on Jurkovic as his replacement.
The injury didn’t damper the Knights’ spirits who deservedly took the lead in the 35th minute. Jacob Colosimo’s cross was initially mis-hit by Brekalo, but some desperation from Andrijasevic kept the ball in play and allowed Brekalo a second opportunity to tap home from close range.
The Knight’ came out of the interval immediately looking for a second goal. Jason Hicks saw his shot deflect wide for a corner, with the resulting set-piece being headed narrowly wide by Andrijasevic.
Another Knights corner found its way to defender Ivan Grgic at the back post, who could only header his effort over the bar.
With the Knights unable to put away their opportunities, the Victory youth side capitalised and found an equaliser in the 73rd minute. Stefan Nigro’s run into the box was unchallenged with the midfielder coolly slotting past O’Farrell and into the bottom corner.
The final 10 minutes saw the game open up as either side sought out a winning goal. Knights ‘keeper O’Farrell was called into action on numerous occasions to scramble off his line and prevent any serious Victory threats.
It was the Knights that would find the winner in the 90th minute. A cross from out wide was flicked on by Andrijasevic finding Hicks at the far post, with the Kiwi composed to slot past a despairing Spinella and send the large contingent of Knights fans into raptures.
Speaking to Knights Media post match, goalkeeper Michael O’Farrell spoke about the last minute win, his form improvement and the fight for the number 1 shirt.
“It’s not always ideal to have to battle out until 90th minute to get a result, it should be over and done with well before that, but a win’s a win and it showed great heart from the boys to keep going until the last minute to get the win.”
“It wasn’t easy to play ninety minutes twice (Oakleigh game), but it had to be done. There is always room for improvement and I can only hope to keep getting better”.
“A bit of competition is always good, it makes training harder as we are both fighting for that number one spot, but its food to have.”
Melbourne Knights are back at home next Friday night when we welcome traditional rivals South Melbourne to Knights Stadium. Kick off is at 8:30pm.
Shots: MK 12 MV 6
Target: MK 5 MV 2
Corners: MK 7 MV 2
Melbourne Knights Squad: 1.O’Farrell, 3.Grgic, 4.Surey (11.Jurkovic 20’), 5.Batur, 8.McGarry, 9.Colosimo (10.Cvitkovic 74’), 13.Katiforis (17.Zadworny 62’), 16.Hicks, 18.Brekalo, 19.Glavan, 21.Andrijasevic.
Not Used: 20.Cakarun, 23.Purcell
Goals: Brekalo 35’ Hicks 90’.
Victory Youth Squad: 1.Spinella, 2.Vakirtzis, 3.Xydias, 4.Hennessey, 5.Miskulin, 6.Nigro, 10.Dover, 11.Maclean, 13.Lambert (8.Duzel 67’), 15.Hope (14.Pasquali 53’), 33.Katebian (9.Holden 61’)
Not Used: 20.Chant, 7.McNamara.
Goals: Nigro 73’