ROCKINGHAM City’s solid start to life in State League Division One came to an abrupt halt on the weekend, going down to Western Knights 2-1.
The Knights controlled most of the first half, but Alex Grayson spurned a golden chance for Rockingham after skipping clear of the defence in the 12th minute with just the keeper to beat but could not finish.
Maxwell Snelson made a welcome return to the heart of Rockingham’s defence and coupled with the in-form Lydon Hodgkiss to repelled the Knights’ attacks.
The second half brought goals, but unfortunately for Rockingham it was the hosts who took the lead at Nash Field.
Poor marking from a set piece gave the Knights the opening it needed, firing past helpless goalie Cyril Sharrock.
The game took on a spiteful feel as time began to run out for the visitors, with late and reckless challenges marring the match.
Abraham Taona was a whisker away from restoring parity, directing a fierce header toward goal but a brilliant save from the Knights’ goalkeeper meant the search for an equaliser continued.
The pressure mounted on the Knights defence and with five minutes to go, it took its toll.
Callum Rothwell superbly snuck Taona’s cross home and it looked like Rockingham would steal an unlikely point.
However, there was a sting in the tail for City when in the dying seconds, a through ball unlocked its defence and Sharrock was beaten.
A desperate Snelson took matters into his own hands, denying the goal-bound attempt illegally.
The resulting penalty was converted, with Rockingham losing for the first time this season.
The reserves game was a highly entertaining encounter, finishing 3-3 while the Under-18s overcame a 2-0 half time deficit to run out 5-2 winners.
A hat trick from Mitch Morrin and a brace from Callum Ribbans sealed the Under-18s third win of the campaign, and it sits second on the table.
On Saturday, fifth placed Rockingham will host fourth placed Canning City at Lark Hill.
First team kicks off at 3pm with reserves at 1pm and Under-18s from 11am.