With the World Cup hangover well and truly over, the Knights returned to action in the NPL as they travelled the short distance to the home of neighbours Green Gully SC. After the previous weeks nail-biting draw against league leaders Heidelberg United, the Knights were looking to dish a little bit of payback to Gully, who embarrassed the Knights in Round 8, beating them 5-1 in front of a home crowd. The result wasn’t quite as large this time around, but the Knights were able to seal the win and claim a vital win away from home.
— Melbourne Knights FC (@MelbKnights) July 21, 2018
Gully came off the starting blocks with a burst of energy, firing a number of shots towards goal in the early minutes, but the Knights were able to match their efforts defensively, proving enough to nullify any threat posed by Gully’s forwards.
With both sides striving to avoid any cheap shots on goal and playing fiercely yet carefully, the Knights were the first to concede a free kick to Gully after Ayden Brice’s stray foot tripped up Gully’s Nicholas Krousoratis. Former Knight, and Gully newcomer Jason Hicks stepped up for the free kick but ultimately put it too wide for it to be considered dangerous.
Gully were the next to commit a foul, as a stray hand in the penalty box awarded the Knights a spot kick early on in the half. Leading goal-scorer Tomislav Uskok stepped up to the spot 12 yards from goal and buried it in the left-hand side as Lucas Spinella made a late dive in vein. Thanks to a composed Uskok, the Knights went one nil up, which they were able to maintain leading into the second half.
The second half saw Gully again open strongly, with a number of chances falling their way, but Knights keeper Jordan Gifkins wasn’t having any of it, making a number of daring saves to deny the home side any chance of equalising. The Cavs home fans almost had their wish granted in the 60th minute when danger man Krousoratis tapped a ball into goal, however the linesman’s flag went up immediately ruling the goal as offside.
The Knights had the opportunity to go two nil up in the second half not long after in the 62nd minute when skipper Marijan Cvitkovic delivered a through ball to an advancing Nate Foster, who found himself in a plethora of space in front of goal, but faltered at the last minute, sending the shot well over the cross bar.
Much was the case for both sides for the remainder of the match, as Gully and the Knights both had multiple chances by the end of regulation time. To the home sides credit, Gully played a fast-paced match for the entire 90 minutes, which was equalled by a fiery Knights outfit.
With the final whistle blown, the Knights left Green Gully Reserve with an additional three points in the kitty, keeping their spot in the Top 6, meaning that a finals run is well and truly on the cards. With the seasons end well in sight, the Knights currently round out the Top 6 at the end of Round 21. To keep their finals dash alive, the Knights will look to achieve some crucial wins – as any slip may mean a dip outside the Top 6, due to a highly congested mid-table.
Round 22 sees the Knights back at home this Sunday against 12th placed Kingston City FC, who claimed the win over the Knights back in Round 9. With Seniors kick-off scheduled for 3pm, and U20’s action kicking off beforehand at 12.30pm, this double header is one not to miss for all Knights fans.