Knights defeat tricky Thunder side
By Lou Verga (@Lou Verga)
Photo Steve Starek
Melbourne Knights have defeated Dandenong Thunder 2-1 on Saturday night in a free-flowing affair at George Andrews Reserve.
The Knights went into half time with a 2-0 lead courtesy of James McGarry and a Stipo Andrijasevic penalty. An improved Thunder display in the second half, which included a sublime Brodie Paterson lob, was not enough as the visitors held on for the win.
It was an action-packed night from the very beginning, as a bright run from Yusuf Ahmed set up James Goulopoulos, whose cheeky chip landed just above the crossbar onto the roof of the net.
Tomsilav Uskok nearly opened the scoring at the other end after five minutes, as his header from a corner was well saved by an outstretched Zaim Zeneli.
On ten minutes Ahmed again provided a chance for Goulopoulos with a smart cut-back, and the forward should have done better from ten yards out, scuffing his shot towards Chris May.
Ahmed looked dangerous down the wing and his speed got him in behind in the 27th minute, but he poked his shot wide of the post.
The Knights were to make the home side pay right on half an hour, as McGarry met Robbie Zadworny’s cross with a perfectly timed header to open the scoring.
It got better for Andrew Marth’s side one minute before half time. Zadworny and Andrijasevic exchanged a silky one-two, with the latter forcing a save from Zeneli and causing a moment of chaos in the Thunder box, during which the referee pointed to the spot for handball.
Andrijasevic stepped up to double his team’s lead on the stroke of half time despite Zeneli getting a hand to the ball.
The Thunder found a lifeline just five minutes into the second half in spectacular fashion.
Paterson picked up the ball just ahead of the centre circle and swept a huge looping drive over a scrambling May who couldn’t get back in time to keep out the excellently executed effort.
Three minutes later, Ahmed found himself through on May with a chance to equalise, but the Knights keeper made a strong save to keep it at 2-1.
Despite continuing to throw numbers forward, Stuart Munro’s side couldn’t create anymore clear chances as the Knights held on at the back.
Dandenong Thunder 1 (Paterson 51’) defeated by Melbourne Knights 2 (McGarry 30’, Andrijasevic 45’) at George Andrews Reserve, Dandenong South
Thunder: 1. Zaim ZENELI, 2. Jarryd BARNES, 3. Ramazan TAVSANCIOGLU, 4. Adam PETKO, 5. Faisal SAFA, 7. Yusuf AHMED, 9. Veton KORCARI,
11. Timmy PURCELL, 12. Brendan ELMAZOVSKI, 14. Brodie PATERSON (27. Kieran CRITCHLEY 76’), 22. James GOULOPOULUS (15. Eric HOWSER 68’)
Unused substitutes: 20. Anthony SARIC, 17. Fitim IBRAIMI, 24. Viktor MUJEDINOVSKI
Yellow card(s): Korcari 44’
Red card(s): None
Knights: 1. Chris MAY, 4. Ben SUREY, 5. Milan BATUR, 6. Tomislav USKOK, 7. Chris TALAJIC (2. Luke JURCIC 85’), 8. James McGARRY, 10. Marijan CVITKOVIC (14. Rodrigo COVARRUBIAS 58’), 11. Anthony COLOSIMO, 12. Ivan GRGIC, 17. Robbie ZADWORNY (13. Anthony KATAFORIS 90+1’), 21. Stipo ANDRIJASEVIC
Unused substitutes: 25. Michael O’FARRELL, 15. David HERRERA
Yellow card(s): Surey 71’, Uskok 90+2’
Red card(s): None