Heidelberg United came away with a narrow 1-0 win against Melbourne Knights in difficult conditions at Knights Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
With Milan Batur away on holiday, Nikola Jurkovic was tasked with the centre-back role while Nick Glavan returned to right-back duties after serving his one match suspension.
The Knights got off to a bright start with Robbie Zadworny looking lively down the left flank. It was the pacey winger which forged the first chance of the contest, whipping in a good cross for Brekalo who couldn’t direct his header on target.
O’Farrell was called into action shortly after, requiring a heroic double save firstly from an Athiu header, and then a Govas drive to keep the score level.
Early morning rain ensured the Knights Stadium pitch had seen better days, with Joshua Brekalo falling victim to injury after twisting his knee awkwardly during a challenge. With Brekalo having to be stretchered off, Andrew Marth rejigged his formation by bringing on attacker Jacob Colosimo.
In the 21st minute, a miss-timed challenge from Nikola Jurkovic saw the visitors head to the penalty spot, with Sean Ellis confidently sending O’Farrell the wrong way.
The Knights had a penalty shout of their own ten minutes later, as Marijan Cvitkovic worked his way into the box was knocked over during his shot to effect his attempt off target.
Jason Hick’s tried his luck from distance, forcing Heidelberg goalkeeper Chris Theodoridis into a fine save. The Knights continued to find themselves in dangerous positions, however a lack of cutting edge with the final pass was the main let-down for most of the home sides chances.
The Bergers started the 2nd half looking to double their advantage, with Ellis’ corner somehow evading everyone in the area, as any touch would have ended up in the back of the net.
O’Farrell continued to keep the Knights in the contest, with another double save following a Heidelberg free-kick.
Knights enjoyed its best spell of the contest in the final 15 minutes as the visitors seemed content with their lead.
Jacob Colosimo came close to an equaled in the 77th minute, seeing his long range shot clip the outside of the upright with the ‘keeper well beaten.
Just a minute later, a brilliant cross from Andrijasevic found substitute Luke Jurcic whose header forced Theodoridis into a fine save down low to his right.
Those chances proved to be the best the home side could forge, as the visitors managed to withstand any further attacks from the Knights.
The loss sees the Melbourne Knights remain just outside the top 6, with a crucial run of games coming up beginning with a visit to Northcote City on Saturday afternoon.
In the Under 21’s, Melbourne Knights continued their in-form purple patch, winning 3-1 despite falling a man down.
SHOTS: MK 7 HU 9
TARGET: MK 2 HU 5
CORNERS: MK 1 HU 4
Melbourne Knights Squad: 1.Michael O’FARRELL, 6.Damian MISKULIN, 8.James MCGARRY, 10.Marijan CVITKOVIC (3.Ivan GRGIC 87’), 11.Nikola JURKOVIC, 16.Jason HICKS, 17.Robbie ZADWORNY (2.Luke JURCIC 65’), 18.Joshua BREKALO (9.Jacob COLOSIMO 13’), 19.Nick GLAVAN, 21.Stipo ANDRIJASEVIC, 23.Timmy PURCELL.
Not Used: 20.Harry CAKARUN, 12.Anthony DEZIC.
Heidelberg United Squad. 1.Chris THEODORIDIS, 2.Josh WILKINS, 6.Lewis HALL, 7.Rueban WAY, 10.Jack PETRIE, 11.Kosta KANAKARIS (4.Johnny LAZARIDIS 75’), 12. Kenny Athiu, 13. Luke BYLES, 17. Steve PACE, 19.Sean ELLIS (15.Jordan WILKES 82’), 21.Andreas GOVAS (5.Phill PETRESKI 59’).
Not Used: 24.Emmanuel TSAKIRIS, 25.Jack EVANS.
Goals: Sean ELLIS 21’pen