AN opportunistic goal in the 72nd minute from Melbourne Knights striker Andrew Barisic has denied North Geelong Warriors its second win of the NPL season.
Falling backward, Barisic lunged out his right foot to ricochet off Darren Lewis and put the ball out of Daniel Zilic’s reach to trickle over the line.
In front of a large crowd, both sides cautiously approached the first 15 minutes before opening up to probe their way for clear chances.
The Warriors’ first real chance came at 20 minutes when Michael Anderson charged through toward the goal area before threading a ball for Juso Julardzija only for the shot to slice wide.
Soon after midweek hero Robbie Zadworny was on hand after some nice link-up play between Vito Cichello and Mark Paleka but his shot was off-cue.
The Knights wrestled control after the 30-minute mark and almost capitalised when Barisic ran through onto a delightful ball to power home. However, Zilic in goals was up to the task and held on.
The second half was a mirror image of the first, both teams happy to patiently build up before hitting their straps.
After the 60-minute mark the Knights looked to have sensed that the midweek clash had taken a toll on the Warriors and had a series of forays toward goal.
In an attempt to change things up, Warriors coach Micky Colina sent in Reardo Luka for Paleka on 70 minutes. However, two minutes later the Knights had the only goal on the board thanks to Barisic’s lunging effort.
Again looking to the subs, Colina introduced Nikola Jurkovic and the Warriors mounted a 10-minute patch peppering the Knights defence. Chances fell to Julardzija, Luka and Zadworny but all were unable to stretch Chris May enough to notch up an equaliser.
After the match Colina was empathetic toward his players.
“The lads gave everything and are disappointed,” he said.
“Coming off Wednesday’s match the turnaround was hard but no one backed off, so to come away with zero points today hurts.”
The Warriors next match is at home in the national competition of the Westfield FFA Cup round four, taking on Mannigham Blues at home on Saturday. Kick-off is 2pm.