364 days since their last match at Jack Edwards Reserve, the Oakleigh Cannons were held to an entertaining draw against Heidelberg United.
Matt Thurtell's debut goal was cancelled out by Jackson Lino's equaliser just after the break, with both sides still searching for their first win in 2021.
The former Bentleigh striker very nearly added a second with five minutes remaining - which would have won the match for the home side - when his header off a Ryan Paczkowski set piece flew wide.
The ever-dangerous partnership between Knowles and Joe Guest continued to cause plenty of problems going forward.
The pair nearly combined for the opening goal in the 33rd minute when Knowles’ low cross found the 2019 Gold Medalist at the back post, only for Guest’s shot to be blocked.
Unsurprisingly, Knowles played a major role in the lead up to the goal.
Pressed up against the corner flag, the Western Australian broke free and skidded a ball into the path of Thurtell who drilled home the opener after 40 minutes.
At the other end the Cannons held firm in defence as the half reached its end. With Heidelberg locking Oakleigh inside its own half, striker Jackson Lino had an attempt cleared off the line by a Ryan Paczkowski standing firm in a congested goal mouth.
Though the visitors would come out firing after the break and were rewarded for their persistence soon after.
After several attempts to break down the Oakleigh defence, captain Reuben Way found a way through – slipping a ball towards Lino guided the ball into the net for the equaliser.
With time running out, the Cannons surged forward.
Both Thurtell and Wade Dekker had golden chances off Paczkowski set pieces to win the match at the death within two minutes of each other.
Guest would also had a chance late but was denied by experienced Heidelberg goalkeeper Chris Theodoridis.
The Cannons host South Melbourne in another massive clash at Jack Edwards Reserve next week.
OAKLEIGH CANNONS 1 (Thurtell 40')
HEIDELBERG UNITED 1 (Lino 56')