Sunday, 12 October 2003 12:00 AM
By Michael Tsoukalis
On a day where South Melbourne celebrated its illustrious history and also honoured club legends of the past – not forgetting an emotional farewell-address from David Clarkson – South’s on-field performance failed to live up to the day’s prestigious billing.
Intent on grinding out a result the Brisbane Strikers via a 47th minute strike from Louis Brain left Bob Jane Stadium with the ever-valuable three points.
South started well with much-heralded recruit Michael Panopoulos showing an array of silky touches in the centre of the park, as early as the 4th minute Michael Curcija connected with an ambitious lob-volley that Brisbane custodian Jason Kearton did well to comfortably glove. South had a goal disallowed in the 7th minute after South wingback Sam Poutakidis floated in a lovely ball over the Brisbane defence which was met by Curcija who headed easily past Kearton, Curcija however had been flagged for straying offside so the goal was disallowed.
The Lakesiders continued to apply pressure in spurts, a great break down the left by new recruit Simon Storey in the 19th minute saw Curcija presented with a glorious opportunity to open his account, instead of firing home Curcija decided to “dummy” in the hope that the oncoming Coveny would put South ahead, unfortunately for South Brisbane’s defence read the play well and cleared.
South continued to patiently look for the all important first goal, a searching 32nd minute ball by new South captain Vaughn Coveny found Boutsianis who with a first time left-foot volley fired into the side netting.
South should’ve taken the lead in the 41st minute after Coveny was brilliantly released from deep in South’s half; Boutsianis was breaking all alone and unfortunately for the home side Coveny took a moment to long to square for the enigmatic left winger, Brisbane once again adjusted and cleared.
Throughout the first stanza even though South had the majority of the clear-cut chances Brisbane had remained busy and had done extremely well to keep their shape and hence stay competitive.
Brisbane’s battling approach was rewarded almost immediately after the restart, the 47th minute saw Joshua Rose break well down the right and send in a low yet well-timed cross for the diminutive Louis Brain to slot home from 10 yards. Many would argue that Brisbane’s lead was somewhat undeserved, however, Brain’s celebration towards the Brisbane bench showed how much the goal meant to the Queenslanders.
For the rest of the half Brisbane seemed happy to sit back and soak up the pressure, the 60th minute saw a moment of miscommunication between Poutakidis and South keeper Galekovic that was nearly capitalised upon by new Brisbane forward Royce Brownlie, however, Galekovic did well to clear with his feet. South seemed to be sorely missing the penetration that Young Socceroos Massimo Murdocca and Vince Lia usually provide, it is expected that pair won’t participate in South’s plight – due to their international commitments – for at least the next 8 weeks.
Coach Munro sent on Dutch-import Max Lohy in the 68th minute, Lohy injected some spark into the South attack with a stinging 89th minute cross that the Brisbane defence did extremely well to clear; it was to be the Lakesiders last opportunity to get something out of the game.
0 – 1
L Brain 47′
Eugene Galekovic (gk)
Vaughan Coveny (c)
Con Boutsianis (-68′)
Sam Poutakidis (-74′)
Jason Kearton (gk)
Peter Grierson (c)
Royce Brownlie (-78′)
Mehmet Durakovic (+74′)
Max Lohy (+68′)
Michael Theoklitos (gk)
Adam Webber (+78′)
Scott Higgins (gk)
V Coveny 67′
A Kovacevic 87′
Bob Jane Stadium