Thursday, 16 October 2003 12:00 AM
By Michael Tsoukalis
This Sunday (19/10/03) South takes on Newcastle United in their second consecutive home fixture. After a disappointing first up home result against the Brisbane Strikers, the Lakesiders will be eager to make amends.
In contrast Newcastle remains undefeated after two opening victories followed by two consecutive draws; the NSW-based club lies in equal first place and has made a sterling start to the season. United boast a squad littered with NSL experienced campaigners. In Milan Blagojevic, Robert Middleby, Esala Masi, Steve Eagleton, Peter Tsekenis, Craig Deans and custodian John Perosh, Newcastle possess one of the most experienced teams in the competition.
Middleby in particular is a player that Munro’s men must be weary of, his great pace and ability to whip in the dangerous ball from the flank provides plenty of ammunition for United’s front-men.
Exciting youngster Jobe Wheelhouse who has managed 3 goals so far this campaign will miss due to Young Socceroo commitments, Wheelhouse is joined by South Melbourne startlets Massimo Murdocca and Vince Lia who will also miss due to national team duty.
Though somewhat disappointing in their opening home fixture, South supporters should be heartened by Michael Panopoulos’s display, the former Greek Under 21 International – though under-done from a fitness perspective – displayed touches of elegance that few, if any players in the NSL posses. Panopoulos will be a crucial cog in the South midfield and with the absence of Murdocca will assume even greater responsibility.
From a defensive perspective South have only conceded once in their opening 3 encounters, a record which should keep the home side in good stead, and if the obvious array of attacking talent that South posses comes to the fore, hopefully the South supporters present will be rewarded with a sterling victory.
Game: South Melbourne v Newcastle United
Date: Sunday 19 October 2003
Venue: Bob Jane Stadium
Kickoff: 3.00pm AET
HEAD TO HEAD (Overall)
Sth Melb wins: 1
Newcastle wins: 2
HEAD TO HEAD (at South Melbourne)
Played: 3 (Regular Season)
Sth Melb wins: 1
Newcastle wins: 1
Last Encounter: Sth Melb 1-1 home draw – 28 December 2002
Sth Melb 1-0 home loss v Brisbane
Newcastle 1-1 home draw v Parramatta
Position on Ladder:
7th v 3rd
SOUTH MELBOURNE SQUAD: E Galekovic (gk), M Durakovic, A Kovacevic, L Osman, M Stergiopoulos, M Curcija, C Boutsianis, S Tunbridge, V Coveny, S Poutakidis, M Lohy, M Panopoulos, S Storey, C Recchia, M Theoklitos (gk),
IN: M Panopoulos, C Recchia
OUT: M Murdocca & V Lia (both U-20 international duty)
NEWCASTLE UNITED SQUAD: J Perosh (gk), A Griffiths, M Wilson, R Griffiths, P Tsekenis, G Owens, J Mitchell, M Blagojevic, K Wolfenden, E Masi, D Brown, P McPherson, M Wallace, T Libbesson, S Thomas, B Kennedy (gk) (one to be omitted)
IN: T Libbesson, B Kennedy (both promoted), G Owens (returns from injury)
OUT: R Middleby (hamstring – 1 week), J Wheelhouse (ankle – 1 week), T Willis, M Johnson (both U-20 International duty)