A Round 10 NPL Victoria clash that saw Avondale FC back at last season’s home turf. A different feel for the players and staff returning for Season 2018. With the inconsistent form of Melbourne Knights FC, the encounter was very difficult to predict.
An injury to Joey Katebian in Round 9 saw Stefan Zinni return to the starting XI, and young winger Christian Inglese returned to the matchday squad after impressing with his performance against the U20 table leaders Northcote City in place of Jonatan Germano who continues to battle with full fitness.
The crowd built in anticipation for the match, and a win for Melbourne Knights FC would see their return to form and get their season on track against a top of the table side.
The first half started poorly from the top of the table side and a clear intent from Melbourne Knights to press and win the ball back in their attacking third was evident. In the 18th minute, Melbourne Knights were able to capitalise on a fast break with a ball put in across the box and a finish at the far post gave the hosts a 1:0 lead. With a back and forth half with neither side able to control possession, the score remained at the halftime break.
After a slow first half for Avondale FC, the intent was clear at the start of the second half. A couple of chances early for the visiting side showed the ability to break down the Melbourne Knights defence and the momentum swinging in favour of the Avondale FC team.
In the 55th minute, a delightful ball from Liam Boland gave in form striker Kaine Sheppard the opportunity to header the ball back across the keeper and he duly delivered to give a scoreline of 1:1.
With all the possession and momentum, it was that man again, Kaine Sheppard in the 67th minute he was able to fire a long-range stinger outside the box into the bottom left corner of the goals to send the Avondale FC team up 2:1.
As the chances continued to mount, Avondale FC had a lot of chances to put the Melbourne Knights FC to rest but a corner in the 77th minute led to an unmarked Knights player in the box and he was able to header to ball home and send the game to a 2:2 scoreline against the run of play.
With all Melbourne Knights FC behind the ball in the last 10 minutes of the game, it was all Avondale FC. A chance in the 91st minute to an ex-Knights player in 2017 Elvis Kamsoba seen the ball put across the keeper and with all hearts in mouths from both sets of supporters, the ball ricocheted off the post and a Knights defender was there first to clear the danger. The game finishing 2:2 in a difficult draw to take such was the domination in the second half from Avondale FC.