Western Knights 2
Bunbury Forum Force 4 (after extra time)
Written by Daniel Bodycoat
Western Knights opening game of the season would see a fierce contest between Bunbury and the outcome would be shaped by a number of refereeing decisions.
Within minutes, Bunbury had earned corner and there was scramble in the box. Amongst a flurry of players, the linesman picked out a handball and Steve Purton was shown a red card. The penalty was taken and it the Knights goalkeeper was forced to produce a brilliant save to deny Bunbury an early lead.
A cluster of attacks from Bunbury followed and it took further heroics for the keeper to keep the Knights from slipping behind.
Luka Jukic was central to many of Western Knights counter attacks and it was his lofted ball to Paul Lloyd, which was whipped into Nick Carroll’s that produced a desperate save from the Bunbury keeper.
The second half commenced with the score at 0-0 due to a brave performance from Western Knights.
A number of challenges brought the referee into action once again and the game threatened to escalate with neither team giving an inch. However, the breakthrough came as a curled cross found Johnny Mirco’s head and the ball nestled in the back of the net. The rain then began to fall as the Knights began their barrage on the Bunbury defence.
Nick Carroll was the second player that would be made to walk as he received a highly contentious second yellow for a rather tame challenge.
Ben Coulter seemed to be everywhere and he continued to deny Bunbury’s equaliser. Despite the effort form the Knights players, Bunbury’s advantage finally paid off as half-hearted cross into the box was deflected and then found it’s way to the Bunbury striker who calmly placed his shot in the bottom corner for the equaliser.
Testament to Western Knights’ passion and desire to win was their ability to push the game to extra time despite their clear handicap.
The game soon got out of control as a tackle from Luka lead to a confrontation between the teams which culminated in Luka and Bunbury player being sent off.
Within minutes, Bunbury finally hit the lead after having more player for almost the entirety of the game. Their lead was furthered at the beginning of the second half of extra time. Paul Lloyd was able to grab a consolation goal before Bunbury scored their fourth goal.
The character shown by the Western Knights players was epitomized by their desire to compete and their passion. However, some questionable refereeing decisions would ultimately shape the outcome of this match and knock the Knights of the Cup.