Melbourne Knights coach Micky Colina has declared his side “fear no one” after its upset 2-0 win over Bentleigh Greens in the National Premier League.
The Knights have burst out of the gates this season with three wins from four starts to sit pretty in third spot.
This win was the pick of the bunch so far as the Knights brought down the previously undefeated top-of-the-ladder Greens at Knights Stadium on Friday night.
“We respect Bentleigh Greens, they’re one of the best NPL sides in the country, there’s no doubt about that, but at the end of the day we fear no one,” Colina said.
“The boys were great, they were honest, they worked hard and it’s a reflection on how they’ve been since day one.”
Melbourne Knights withstood an early threat from the Greens, but once they found their own way to goal, there was no turning back.
Hamish Watson broke the deadlock just before half-time to give the Knights a crucial one-goal lead at the break.
Watson was played through by Anthony Duzel, who burst into the front third after intercepting a loose pass in the midfield.
“It was a relatively even affair in the first half so it was nice to go in at one-nil,” Colina said.
Melbourne Knights grew in confidence the longer the game went on.
The Greens left themselves stretched at the back in search of an equaliser.
In the 72nd minute, it was Watson who found the back of the net again for the Knights.
Similar to his first goal, Watson was the beneficiary of some fine Knights pressing in the midfield.
This time it was Tomislav Uskok who pounced on the turnover and served up a delightful through ball to Watson, who needed no second invitation to power the ball low and hard for his second goal.
“He definitely gives us the outlet that every team strives for in the top third,” Colina said.
“Both of his goals were the last piece of two well-anticipated moments by the team.”
Colina believes the Melbourne Knights are on the right track.
He conceded it was too early to assess where the Knights fit into the pecking order, but he is pleased to have seen improvement on a game-by-game basis.
“They went away [the previous round] and lost to Heidelberg, which was a tough one to swallow because we made a couple of errors and got punished, but we learnt a lot from that game and to show the character to bounce back against a side like Bentleigh was great,” he said.
Melbourne Knights will hit the road to play Dandenong City at Frank Holohan Soccer Complex on Friday night and the Knights are calling on their “12th man” to come out in full force again.
“Our supporters have been fantastic,” Colina said.
“With their support, it’s like having a 12th man.”
Meanwhile, Green Gully Cavaliers are licking their wounds after a 3-2 loss to Dandenong City in a spiteful game at Green Gully Reserve.
Both teams were reduced to 10 men by half-time after City’s Iqbal Jawadi and Cavaliers captain Nick Kalmar were issued red cards.
Jay Davies and Timmy Purcell scored for Green Gully, but it was City’s hat-trick hero Anthony Poljak who decided the game with the only goal of the second half.
The fifth-placed Green Gully will face Port Melbourne Sharks in a crucial game at J.L. Murphy Reserve on Friday night.
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