Knights v Sharks

Round 20 report by Paul Jefferies
Melbourne Knights v Sydney Olympic

This game came to life as early as the 3rd minute when the visitors from Sydney went in front with a scrambled goal from Zenon Caravella. A good run from the Sydney striker who collected the ball just outside the penalty box and ran at the Melbourne Knights defence, then his shot from just inside the penalty area was deflected off a Knights defender and the ball trickled over the line.

This was only Sydney Olympics 7th goal away from O.K.I stadium this season. So this was not going to be the highest scoring game of the season.

The first attack from Melbourne Knights came on 10-minute mark of the game when Kris Trajancush found himself unmarked on the six-yard line with time and space, but his weak header only just managed to reach the goalkeeper.

After that chance to the Knights, each team created good chances to score but could not convert any of their opportunities.

Michael Baird the former South Melbourne striker was causing the Melbourne Knights a few probloms but the experienced central defender Andrew Marth held the Knights defence well together at the back.

At the start of the second half Knights coach Ian Dobson tried to add some power to his forward line by putting centre half Marth up in the forward line. The Knights came out well at the start of the second half and had most of the possession but still they could not make the most of the chances that came there way.

As the match went on you could feel the frustration within the crowd as each time both midfields had the ball they just seamed to give it away for no reason more than just not concentrating.

Then just as we all thought the game was drifting to a One nil victory to the team from Sydney, the Melbourne Knights were awarded a penalty for dangerous Play. Captain Andrew Marth scored from the spot, but Goalkeeper Brett Hughes in the Sydney Goal was a little unlucky when he did get a hand to ball only for it to just slide underneath his hand for the home team to draw level. Coach for the Knights Ian Dobson had no doubts it was a penalty "as well as that penalty.

I thought there was another good shout for handball after we drew level " he said. " We had six teenagers on the pitch at the at start of the game tonight and in the first half we seemed to be frightened and negative", he added. The two strikers just did not create enough chances that is why I tried to change things around at the start of the second half by putting Andrew Marth up front. Overall I was happy with the performance of the players and we will try and finish as high as possible in the league", he said.

Yet again the one player to stand out for the Knights in this poor game was youngster Billy Natsioulas who's work rate as well as his skill level must not be going unnoticed by coaches and onlookers each time he plays.

The coach of Sydney Olympic Peter Papanikitas was not a happy man about some of the refereeing decisions that were taken during the game. "The referee was very inconsistent tonight, and no way in the world was that a penalty. When we were 1-0 up we should have gone further ahead but the referee was not consistent at all for us. He added I have not given up hope of a top six place for us just yet", he said.