Late penalty dashes Knights’ hopes

The Melbourne Knights have been upended due to last minute penalty, being defeated 2-1 by the Dandenong Thunder.

Starting XI: Thomas Manos (GK), Dylan Murnane, Taylor Schrijvers, Ayden Brice (C), Jack Marth, Luka Kolic, Thiery Iradukunda, Jack Morton, Gian Albano, George Ott, Trevor Ssemakula

Substitutes: Harry Cakarun (GK), Joseph Colina, Justin Micallef, Jason Samardzic, Mohamed Sumaoro, Steve Sokol

An entertaining half saw both sides playing composed, contained football, with neither side were able to convert their chances, until late into the first half. The Thunder broke the deadlock thanks to Scott Lochhead’s 46th minute strike moments before the referee was due to blow the whistle for half time. Despite the late deficit, the Knights remained in the match as they continued to fight towards a top six position.

What looked to be a good opportunity to throw the kitchen sink in the attack, the Knights continued to play reserved football, never really finding their footing going forward. Newly signed Thunder forward, and former Knight Anthony Frangie, tried his best to beat the Knights defence, but skipper Ayden Brice proved too much for Frangie, thwarting his former teammates advances on goal.

As the final 10 minutes approached, tensions were rising within the Knights ranks as the side looked for their maiden goal of the match. Home fans were rewarded for their patience as the Knights eventually broke through with an equaliser. Dylan Murnane opened his Knights account in the 83rd minute, giving the Knights a glimpse with only seven minutes left to play.

With heavy opposition support the Knights’ hopes were cut short as Dandenong Thunder were awarded a penalty with minutes to go. Another former Knight – Deniz Yildiz – stepped up to the spot and converted just after the regular time had expired, giving the Knights little to no time to respond.

At the whistle, the Knights were unable to make the most of their opportunities on the night, yet finals hopes still remain alive. With four games left, the Knights sit 11 points from the top six.

Next week, they face second-placed Oakleigh Cannons, it what will be make or break their finals hopes. 

– Tom Hayes

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