Image: Smile for Peter
Kingston City have secured their top-flight survival thanks to a stunning 4-0 triumph away from home against the Port Melbourne Sharks while the Oakleigh Cannons have all but condemned the Melbourne Knights to a relegation play-off spot following their 1-0 victory over the fallen giants.
Last night’s results mathematically ended the Sharks finals hopes as the Cannons surged into the top six at the expense of early front-runners Avondale who have two games in hand on them.
At JL Murphy Reserve, Nick Tolios’ men got off to the perfect start inside the game’s opening minute as makeshift centre-back Hamish Millar netted a looping header from Ali Sulemanovski’s free-kick.
The lead was doubled in the 16th minute when 20 year-old forward Damian Iaconis notched up his 10th league goal of the campaign after being played through by veteran Nick Stamatiou.
Former Dandenong Thunder wideman Daniel Bennett then scored a screamer from range for what was his maiden Kingston goal having had an injury-disrupted this term.
Fellow Canberra-product Mouad Zwed sealed the win in stoppage time with a delightful chip over stranded Sharks stopper Brendan White to complete the rout and secure NPL survival.
The win was even more impressive considering the fact that Kingston were without the services of captain Simo Jovanovic and attacking duo Taban Makoii and Velibor Mitrovic.
At Jack Edwards Reserve, both sides exchanged opportunities from the outset as the Knights pushed for an away win to salvage a vital three points.
Dean Piemonte was the scorer of two fantastic strikes last weeks and looked to add to his tally but was denied by Fraser Chalmers early, while at the other end Marijan Cvitkovic also forced a save.
It wasn’t until just after the break that the deadlock was broken and it was a usual suspect in Bosnjak who did the damage. After Giuseppe Marafioti was fouled right on the edge of the area, up stepped Bosnjak to curl in a thunderous strike past Chalmers.
From there it looked like Oakleigh would extend their lead as Piemonte and Bosnjak created opportunities but couldn’t trouble the scorers further, with the Cannons defence doing well to restrict the visitors at the other end.
The contest ended at 1-0, Bosnjak scoring against the Knights for the sixth consecutive game running to move level with Davey van ‘t Schip at the top of the Golden Boot race.
With just three matches left for the Knights on 18 points, the nine points left on offer means they can’t catch Kingston who are 10 points above, though Bulleen and Port are on 27 each – albeit with considerably better goal difference.