A Hamish Watson hat-trick has helped Melbourne Knights book a place in the final 32 of the FFA Cup after dispatching old rivals South Melbourne 4-2 at Knights Stadium.

The former Wellington Phoenix striker continued his hot-run of form in the first half after he was able to give the Knights an early lead either side of a South equaliser.

Watson gave the Knights the lead inside the opening ten minutes after he got on the end of an Anthony Duzel through-ball to slam the ball beyond the reach of South Melbourne goal-keeper, Nikola Roganovic.

However, Hellas were able to respond quickly with a looping free-kick from Marcus Schroen found Kristian Konstantinidis who was able to powerfully head the ball home and tie the ledger mid-way through the first half.

Knights were able to gain the ascendancy once more as Watson responded almost immediately with a well-taken finish after getting on the end of a lovely ball from Caleb Mikulic.

South provided some resilience in the second-half as Billy Konstantinidis found himself in some good areas but was unable to finish – which Knights took full advantage of as Watson sealed his hat-trick with twenty minutes to play.

Hellas weren’t done as they pulled another back through B.Konstantinidis as he made amends for his previous misses to give South some hope late on.

All hopes were soon put to bed as a Gian Albano corner found the head of Ivan Grgic who sealed the win and Knights place in the national stages of the FFA Cup.

Melbourne Knights join Hume City as the other side in the Victorian contingent of the final 32 while the final two spots will be decided next week when Moreland Zebras take on Altona Magic and Bulleen Lions host St Albans.

Nick D’Urbano