Knights go down again in NSL - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Knights go down again in NSL

25/01/2004 10:30:58 PM Comments (0)

A hat trick by Fernando Rech led Parramatta to a late 3-1 demolition of the struggling Melbourne Knights in the National Soccer League.

Depleted by injury and sapped of morale, the second bottom Knights were reduced to ten men for most of the match but played with spirit expected from a once great NSL club before the Power's superior talent shone through.

Parramatta looked in control from the opening minute when the NSL's leading goalscorer Ante Milicic hit the post after a clever build-up engineered down the right flank by Andre Gumprecht.

He dominated the midfield along with Rech, who scored Parramatta's only first half goal heading a pin point cross from Gumprecht wide of Knights goalkeeper Vilson Knezevic in the 22nd minute.

The opening goal came four minutes after the Knights were reduced to 10 men following the send-off of teenager Bill Natsioulos for a shocking challenge on Parramatta's Matt Thompson which left referee Peter Green little option but to produce an immediate red card.

The send-off was the last thing the struggling Knights needed but they rallied in the second half to steal an equaliser when substitute Serkan Oksuz beat Power goalkeeper Clint Bolton to a loose to give the small crowd at Knights Stadium something to cheer.

The rest of the match was punctuated by a sprinkling of spirited moves forward by the Knights but a lack of a genuine finisher denied the home side the chance to cause one of the upsets of the season.

At the other end of the ground the slicker and more skilled Parramatta marched forward but they were denied certain goals from Rech and Milicic by brilliant saves from Knezevic.

It took until the 76th minute for the giant Knights 'keeper to be beaten but there was nothing he could do when a free Lucas Pantelis was given too much time to pass the ball across goal to a an unmarked Rech, who dribbled the ball over the goal line.

He was presented with his hatrick in a similarly easy way two minutes into extra time.

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