Melbourne Knights luckless run continued on Friday night, with South Melbourne visiting Somers Street in another instalment of the Melbourne derby.
With Elvis Kamsoba away on international duties, Kamal Ibrahim made his long awaited return to Ben Surey’s starting line-up, acting as a like-for-like change on the right wing. Youngster Luke Jurcic continued to hold his position at fullback in place of the injured Milan Batur.
Whilst the Knights would continue to create chances and show attacking intent as they have all season, the final pieces would go missing, as a Jason Hicks run towards goal found no outlet at the end of a confident move after twenty minutes.
Tom Cahill remained isolated with Kym Harris in support, and the creativity expected from Kamsoba also would be missed in the final third, as South Melbourne took advantage through Marcus Schroen on 27 minutes.
A neat pass forward unlocked the Knights midfield, with Schroen obliging to take on the shot from thirty yards out, finding the top corner.
The goal didn’t force Knights away from attacking, as they forced a number of corners thereafter.
South too continued to apply pressure to the Knights back four, and through a corner almost had a second. Danny Dixon’s goal-line clearance avoiding any chance of two quick goals from the visitors.
The best chance for Knights would fall on the stroke of half time, as Tom Cahill saw his efforts smothered by the oncoming Nikola Roganovic.
Ten minutes after the re-start and Kym Harris spurned an opportunity to turn it in at the near post after a good passing move by the home side. It would be another missed opportunity as a number of corners that followed would pile the pressure on South Melbourne throughout the second half.
A plethora of corners culminated in the cross bar being hit, again, for the second time in as many weeks, as the Knights continued to press for the important equaliser.
Dixon then went on to test Roganovic in goal with an effort from range that skimmed past the side netting, before another major talking point in the derby would unfurl.
A penalty decision was reversed by the referees, after it was initially thought that Ben Surey had deliberately handled the ball in the Knights area. Indeed he had, but only because of Milos Lujic’s handball that preceded his own, in trying to illegally register a shot on target. With Surey adamant that Lujic had handled the ball first, the Knights player/manager stopped the ball with his hands to set the free-kick, whilst the referee pointed to the spot. After minutes of remonstrating, the referees reversed the decision in one of the more bizarre incidents to play out at Knights Stadium this season.
However, Lujic would eventually have his derby goal in the 88th minute, rising highest at the back post to nod down in customary fashion.
That goal would seal South Melbourne’s derby delight and further compound the issues for the Knights, who now travel to Oakleigh next Friday night.