South Fall Just Short
Paige Zois takes on Anita Les of Bayside United. (PHOTO: Cindy Nitsos).
South Melbourne FC suffered its first NPLW Victoria defeat of 2018 on Sunday afternoon, losing 3-2 against Bayside United at the Kingston Heath Complex.
With several senior players still unavailable and Sofia Sakalis away with the Young Matildas, coach Socrates Nicolaidis gave a full league debut to 14-year-old Sophie Papatsanis, whilst 16-year-old forward Kathryn Vlahopoulos also earned a first-team starting spot following two strong performances in the Under 19s.
The first half was a disappointing affair as South conceded a penalty that was converted by Connie Lewis on 12 minutes. On 41 minutes, Rina Hirano lobbed goalkeeper Cassandra Zaffina for Bayside’s second before Molly Burke’s corner right on the halftime break found its way through everyone and into the back of the net.
16-year-old Maryam Anvari – who had played for the SMWFC community club last year – was introduced in the second half, as was Melina Ayres on the hour mark. South performed much better in the second half and had a goal back on 75 minutes when 14-year-old Paige Zois scored past Melissa Maizels, who managed to get a hand to the ball but couldn’t prevent it hitting the back of the net. Bayside’s keeper could do nothing about South’s second goal five minutes later when Ayres found herself one-on-one and shot the ball into the far corner of the net. South pushed hard for the final ten minutes but ultimately fell just short of another memorable comeback.
Post-match, Nicolaidis said he was pleased with the effort of his young players. “Some mistakes were made in the first half but it’s good to give games to these younger players. We have the senior players to come back over the next few weeks which the younger ones will definitely benefit from.”
Fullback Aimee Medwin also added her thoughts. “I have to give a lot of credit to [acting captain] Jamie Pollock, at halftime she kept encouraging the [younger] girls, saying we can find a way back into this game and we almost did.”
South travels to Olympic Village to play Heidelberg United next Saturday 17 March, with kickoff at 3pm.
FINAL SCORE: BAYSIDE UNITED 3-2 SOUTH MELBOURNE (HT: 3-0)
1-0: Connie Lewis (12’p)
2-0: Rina Hirano (41′)
3-0: Molly Burke (45′)
3-1: Paige Zois (75′)
3-2: Melina Ayres (80′)
1. Melissa Maizels (GK), 4. Anita Les, 7. Kirstie Shearing (17. Emily Harbis 72′), 8. Sienna Fogarty, 9. Emma Runnalls (29. Grace Norbury 66′), 10. Candela Ferreyra Bas (c), 11. Jessica Au, 16. Connie Lewis, 20. Molly Burke, 23. Rina Hirano (3. Bronte James 87′), Stephanie Parton.
Unused Substitute: 15. Sarah Walsh, 88. Celia Kelsall.
Yellow Card: Les 60′
1. Cassandra Zaffina (GK), 2. Marianna Anthony (35. Maryam Anvari 46′), 4. Leah Scroggie, 5. Aimee Medwin, 7. Chelsea Blissett, 8. Jamie Pollock (c), 9. Julia Nicolaci, 12. Sarah Richardson, 31. Sophie Papatsanis (7. Melina Ayres 59′), 34. Paige Zois, 40. Kathryn Vlahopoulos (49. Emily Rayment 86′).
Unused Substitutes: 11. Alexia Karatzikos (GK), 27. Irene Paracki.
Yellow Card: Medwin 67′.