It was a disappointing start to the tenure of newly appointed coach Eric Vassiliadis as the Melbourne Knights went down 2-1 away to Pascoe Vale on a brisk Friday night at C B Smith Reserve.
Though the Knights did take the initial lead in the match, they rarely looked threatening. Pascoe Vale would leave the Knights stuck in their own half for large chunks of the match as the home side dominated possession.
Going into the game there was only one change with Ben Surey coming back into the side replacing the suspended Jason Hicks.
The first chance of the match fell to Paco in the opening minutes. A long range effort from Gonzalo Munoz forced a diving save from Fraser Chalmers.
The Knights keeper again came to the rescue on the 15 minute mark, with a remarkable double save denying the home side in what should have been the opener.
The pressure continued when a cross into the box found Joseph Youssef at the near post. It took some desperate Knights defending to clear the ball.
Pascoe Vale’s resulting corner saw Matthew Hennessey connect with a close range header that was cleared off the line by the Knights defence. A quick ball across the face of goal was almost met by Luca Santilli at the far post. Thankfully, Tim Purcell slid in just in time to knock the ball out for a corner.
Having survived the onslaught the Knights managed to take the lead on the 45th minute. Tom Cahill with a quick turn beat his marker before delivering a curling ball from the edge of the box, sending it out of the reach of Alex Pavlidis.
In the early minutes of the second half the Knights came out looking much more energised, taking confidence from the goal. However they were not able to capitalise on the momentum and it did not take long for the home side to reassert their dominance.
On the 60 minute mark their captain Youssef had a point blank header flash wide, before winning a penalty in the minutes after. Davey Van’t Schip, the current NPL top goal scorer, calmly slotted the ball home to level the score.
With 15 minutes to go the Knights had what was only their second shot on goal for the match, with Danny Dixon’s solo run forcing a reflex save from the Pavlidis.
After having caused so many headaches for the Knights defence, Youssef found himself on the scoresheet with a perfectly placed finish into the bottom corner to make it 2-1.
The Knights had a late opportunity via Cahill connecting to a pinpoint delivery from Dixon, however he could only head wide. The loss sees the Knights drop further behind in the race for the top 6 and still leaves the club hovering dangerously close to dreaded relegation zone.
The Knights will be back at home this coming Friday, taking on the high flying Bentleigh Greens. Kick off at 8:30 pm.
Melbourne Knights: 1.Fraser CHALMERS, 2.Luke JURCIC, 4. Ben SUREY, 6.Milan BATUR, 11.Nikola JURKOVIC, 12.Anthony DEZIC (17.Patrick GERHARDT 78′), 13.Tom CAHILL (Damien MISKULIN 89′), 15.Danny DIXON, 23.Timmy PURCELL, 27.Elvis KAMSOBA, 45.Adrian TARDIO (10.Marijan CVITKOVIC 60?)
Not Used: 20.Gabriel MATTI, 32.Marcelo DE LA PLAZA SANCHEZ.
Goals: Tom CAHILL 45′
Pascoe Vale: 35.Alex PAVLIDIS, 2.Adrian TALARICO, 3.Gonzalo MUNOZ, 5.Matthew HENNESSEY, 7.Luca SANTILLI, 8.Joseph YOUSSEF, 9.Michael FERRANTE, 10.Davey VAN’T SCHIP, 16.Tomislav MILARDOVIC, 20.Luka PRELEVIC, 29.Matteo BALLAN.
Goals: Davey VAN’T SCHIP 70′, Joseph YOUSSEF 79′.