Melbourne Knights eye 10th title

Melbourne Knights
Melbourne Knights' Hamish Watson. Picture Shawn Smits.

By Lance Jenkinson

Melbourne Knights have a chance to become the first club in the 110-year history of the Dockerty Cup to achieve 10 titles.

The Knights advanced to the final with a come-from-behind 2-1 win over FC Bulleen Lions in the semi final at Broadmeadows Valley Park on Wednesday night.

Standing in the way of the nine-time winners will be Hume City, who they will face in a mouth-watering final at Kingston Heath Soccer Complex on August 10 to decide the 2019 champions.

Knights caretaker coach Marijan Cvitkovic is proud of the work that his team has put in to reach this point of the competition.

“It’s a really good feeling,” he said.

“It’s a fantastic reward for the group.

“It hasn’t been an easy run to get to the final.

“We’ve played some really difficult teams along the way, but the boys have shown their character.

“We’re really looking forward to it.

“Hopefully we can end this cup run with a bit of silverware, which would be fantastic for the group.”

Melbourne Knights were not too worried about going into the half-time break against Bulleen a goal down.

The Knights were kicking into a forceful breeze in the first half, which played a massive part in their concession of the first goal to Bulleen’s Phil Petreski.

“They scored a freak goal from the corner that went straight in due to the wind and the rain being so strong,” Cvitkovic said.

“I don’t think it was in Jordan’s [Gifkins] control at all as a goalkeeper.

“So at half time, the message was just to stay patient and don’t get too frustrated.”

The game changed complexion with immediate effect in the second half.

Two goals in seven minutes from Hamish Watson saw Melbourne Knights take the advantage.

Once the Knights took the lead, they never looked like squandering it.

“We only had a couple of key points at half time, which was play to feet, stay patient and not to get too frustrated and the boys did that in the second half,” Cvitkovic said.

“We were playing to feet, we were attacking and we were smart with the ball.”

Watson is one of the recruits of the year for the Melbourne Knights.

Not only is the New Zealander a handful for opposition defenders, but his tireless work rate allows him to be an extra number when the Knights are on the back foot.

The former Wellington Phoenix forward’s best work is undoubtedly down around the penalty box.

Mohamed Awad was just as influential in attack for Melbourne Knights, but just could not get a goal to show for it.

The Knights will also feature in the FFA Cup round of 32, which will see A-League opponents Adelaide United visit Knights Stadium on August 7.

In the NPL, Melbourne Knights played out a 1-1 draw with South Melbourne at Lakeside Stadium on Sunday. Both goals were scored in the first 11 minutes with South’s Gerrie Sylaidos scoring in the first minute and Awad responding for the Knights in the 11th minute.

The Knights, four points outside the top six, will be desperate to secure maximum points against Pascoe Vale at Knights Stadium on Friday night.

Green Gully had a 1-0 win over Pascoe Vale at CB Smith Reserve on Friday night.

The Cavaliers are up to fourth on the ladder ahead of a date with bottom side Kingston City at Green Gully Reserve on Saturday.

In NPL Women’s, Calder United continue to firm for the premiers plate.

Calder had a massive 5-1 win over South Melbourne to extend their lead at the top of the table to 11 points.

In NPL 2 west, St Albans Saints had a superb 2-0 win on the road over Moreland Zebras at CB Smith Reserve on Friday night.

The third-placed Saints are just one point off top spot.