The Melbourne Knights have secured a much needed three points at home, defeating a 10-man Dandenong City 1-0 at Knights Stadium.
Melbourne Knights Starting XI:
Thomas Manos (GK), Jack Marth, Nikola Jurkovic, Ayden Brice (C), Anthony Duzel, Mathew Breeze, James McGarry, Caleb Mikulic, Felipe Sanchez, Trevor Ssemakula, Nick Glavan
Melbourne Knights Substitutes:
Harry Cakarun (GK), Lachlan Weier, Alun Webb, Trevor Zwetsloot, Mohammed Sumaoro
The opening 25 minutes of the first half were cagey for both sides, as they found their feet and started to open up play.
Ayden Brice was booked in the 33rd minute for tussle off the ball, resulting in a free-kick to Dandenong – which came to nothing.
After three minutes of additional time, the referee blew his whistle for half-time. The deadlock yet to be broken after 45.
Early into the second half, Trevor Ssemakula received a yellow card for the first time as a Knight.
Soon after, a double change for the Knights saw Alun Webb and Trevor Zwetsloot replace Mathew Breeze and James McGarry. Not long later and the Knights had triggered their final change – Mohammed Sumaoro on for Felipe Sanchez. The substitutes would prove to be crucial in the later stages of the match.
The match entered another cagey stage, with both sides vying for an opener – and subsequently a winner.
Into the final 10 minutes, and if recent matches would suggest, there would be drama. The Knights finally took the lead through Alun Webb, after linking up neatly with fellow substitute Mohammed Sumaoro – the Knights had all three points in their sights.
The match swung wide open immediately after when Dandenong’s Marko Delic was sent off for a rough challenge, sloppily sliding into the back Ssemakula’s legs.
The fourth official signalled four additional minutes to be played after the 90. During, Caleb Mikulic saw yellow before the final whistle was blown – the Knights winning one goal to nil.
Knights coach Steve Bebic shared his thoughts on the match, describing it as “a typical derby.” He continued, stating, “I thought we deserved the victory.”
Bebic admitted he planned to bring Alun Webb and Mohammed Sumaoro at a certain point, which proved instrumental, as they were the subsequent match-winners.
With two games against league leaders South Melbourne upcoming this week for the Knights, Bebic stated the Knights will prepare “like we do every game.”
Next up, the Knights face South Melbourne away in round 5 of the FFA Cup, before they meet again back at Somers Street in round 11 for the O.G Melbourne Derby!