Peter Desira, Herald Sun
Monday, 14 October 2002
Daniel Vasilevski scored his first goal yesterday to finally lift the early-season gloom in Melbourne soccer. And it gave Melbourne Knights their first win of the season.
They beat Marconi 1-0 in the wind and rain at Sunshine with Vasilevski heading home at the third attempt after Marconi had blocked initial shots from Lubo Lapsansky and Steve Horvat in a free-kick situation.
“It was a messy goal, but we were playing in very difficult conditions and we’ll definitely take it whichever way it comes,” Knights skipper Steve Horvat said.
Vasilevski, in his third season at the Knights, had a touch of luck with his finish, his header coming off the post before the ball landed in the back of the net beyond Michael Turnbull’s reach.
The free kick was one of the rare occasions the Knights menaced Marconi’s goal on a shocking night where a slip on the greasy surface always threatened to be the difference between two desperate sides hovering near the bottom in the early part of the season.
“We played three good games and we’ve virtually got nothing to show for it. I felt we were good enough not to leave empty-handed, but you need to score goals and we didn’t,” Marconi coach Raul Blanco said.
Marconi played the better soccer for most of the game and created the chances, but walking away with the points proved to the Knights that they are reaching their main objective for the season: tightening up their backline.
Horvat was outstanding sweeping behind Marth and Roddy Vargas and the Knights even survived losing keeper Martin John, who left the field with a hip injury seven minutes into the second half.
Substitute keeper Adam Hrehoreshin’s only previous NSL experience was a 6-1 hiding in Perth three seasons ago, so the youngster will gain enormous confidence from surviving his second outing with a clean sheet.
Before going off, John made an excellent save from Darren McDonald, who finished off a run from deep with a shot from outside the penalty area that was destined for the top corner before Johns tipped it away for a corner.
The win lifts the Knights up to five points, just one behind the group of four chasing leader Olympic Sharks.