NZ Knights 3 Queensland Roar 1
Knights fans may be dreaming if they think they will be watching A-League football next season, but they were certainly in dreamland tonight as they watched their side comprehensively beat Queensland Roar.
It took the embattled NZ franchise just 13 minutes to go ahead, thanks to a neat John Tambouras header from a nicely worked freekick on the corner of the box.
Soon afterwards there was a sight which fans never thought they would see - the Knights stringing together 20 consecutive passes, only ending when captain Darren Bazeley shot over the bar.
In contrast, the only thing that was bright about the Roar in the opening period was their sickly orange shirts. By the half hour mark, the comedians in block 5 were enjoying themselves so much they were singing "Can we play you every week?" to the struggling Queenslanders.
The pessimists in the crowd, though, may have feared a downturn in the Knights' fortunes in the second half, or at best a dour 45 minutes as they battled to hold on to their slender lead.
But in the 49th minute, Bazeley swung in a cross which fell on the edge of the six yard box to Neil Emblen, who - with a suspicion of hand ball - brought the ball down and lashed it into the back of the net.
Seven minutes later it was fairytale time as Richard Johnson put in a dipping shot that Liam Reddy in the Queensland goal somehow managed to spill at the feet of Alen Marcina. The striker took his chance and the Knights had three goals in a match for the first time this season.
With confidence now sky-rocketing, Noah Hickey - who ran his legs off all night - put a shot across the goal which went just wide a minute later.
Though the Knights tired in the last quarter of the game, the Roar never looked like scoring until a long ball found Ante Milicic unmarked in the box on 80 minutes. He finished well, slotting ball past keeper Mark Paston to make it 3-1.
A nervous last 10 minutes followed for the Knights and the relief was clear from team and fans alike when the final whistle went after three long minutes of added time.
On this display, the Roar can say goodbye to their fading playoff hopes. The Knights on the other hand won't have done themselves any harm in the eyes of the FFA who will ultimately decide if there is still to be a place for them in the A-League.