Western Knights secured a dramatic 2-1 win over Olympic Kingsway at Kingsway Reserve on Saturday afternoon.
Jakub Sklenar’s 28th minute strike put the hosts in the driver’s seat, but Andrija Jukic equalised in the 80th minute before Noah Shamaki completed a remarkable comeback in the 90th minute.
With only four rounds left and both sides fighting to keep their promotion hopes alive, this was a season-defining fixture.
Olympic Kingsway started well and had a huge chance after Luke Palmateer put Jordan Pokler through on goal with a superb long pass, but Pokler inexplicably missed after rounding the keeper.
Dean Hurley looked to have opened the scoring for the visitors after getting on the end of a deflected pass, but the striker was judged to have been offside and the goal was disallowed.
Instead it was Kingsway who drew first blood, with Elliot Tattersall’s pass-cum-shot being tapped home by Sklenar in the 28th minute.
Tempers flared late in the half when Brody Kennedy and Ryan Cox were involved in a horrific head clash. The home side were upset with Cox, who had already escaped punishment for an earlier challenge, but play resumed after both players left the field for treatment.
Then right on half time Elliot Tattersall won a penalty for Kingsway, but Sklenar’s spot-kick hit the post.
Despite the spurned opportunity, Olympic Kingsway continued to pile on the pressure in the second half and Tattersall’s goalbound volley was deflected off target by a defender.
Despite looking in control, Kingsway were dealt a huge blow when Alex Randell received a second yellow card for dissent in the 62nd minute.
That gave Western Knights a boost and they piled on the pressure as they searched for an equaliser. However, the centre-back partnership of Palmateer and Keiron Stallard continued to hold firm.
But 10 minutes from time Jukic found the breakthrough for Knights with a low, curling free-kick into the bottom corner.
And with the game heading into stoppage time, Western Knights found a winner.
It began with Kingsway defender Stallard being dispossessed while leading a counter attack, before Palmateer allowed Shamaki to run in on goal and score to complete a remarkable comeback for the visitors.
The result keeps Western Knights’ dream of NPL football alive. They are second, a point behind leaders Fremantle City but with a game in hand.
However, Kingsway will be left to ponder what might have been as their title bid took a serious blow.
Star player: Noah Shamaki (Western Knights)
Olympic Kingsway 1 (Sklenar 28min)
Western Knights 2 (Jukic 80, Shamaki 90)
Saturday, 11 August
Referee: M Hicks
Assistant referees: A Mayombe, N Gilmar