South Melbourne FC

The Blue and White Forever

Northern Spirit Vs South – Preview

Northern Spirit Vs South – Preview

Thursday, 4 December 2003 12:00 AM

By Michael Tsoukalis

Having emerged victorious in their past 3 encounters league leaders South Melbourne travel to Pittwater Park to take on the 9th placed Northern Spirit.

Stuart Munro’s men currently find themselves in a rich vein of form, triggered by the 0-5 whitewash of local rivals the Melbourne Knights, South have gone on to record victories against Adelaide United and a superb 6-0 result against the Football Kingz last week.

South currently find themselves atop the NSL ladder and will be keen for a positive result against the Spirit to help consolidate their top billing.

The Lakesiders will receive a massive boost with the news that gun recruit Michael Panopoulos has gained inclusion for this week’s match at the expense of Scott Tunbridge who misses through suspension. Panopoulos’ inclusion is likely to mean that young starlet Kristian Sarkies will go back to the bench allowing for the former Greek youth International to re-commence his midfield partnership with the ever hard-working, Marcus Stergiopoulos.

Conversely, the Lawrie McKinna coached Spirit have been dealt quite a blow with leading marksman Dylan Macallister missing through suspension. Macallister has had a solid season to date, contributing 4 goals to the Spirit’s plight and also managing to form a decent understanding with Scottish import Stuart Petrie. The Spirit will be marshalled by the inspirational former Glasgow Rangers stalwart Ian Ferguson who has surprised many with his commitment and performances in the centre of the park.

A positive for the NSW-based club is that their core squad remains vastly unchanged from last season’s heroic group of players that went on a late season surge to snatch a spot in the NSL finals, players such as goalkeeper Paul Henderson, midfielder Wayne O’Sullivan, defender Julian Watts and ex-Gippsland Falcons centre-man John Hutchinson have vast experience at NSL level in the cases of Watts and O’Sullivan, years of European experience as well. Up-and-coming youngsters such as Vuko Tomasevic, Brent Fischer, Adam Kwasnik and Bradley Groves round off a highly competitive squad that will no doubt push the Lakesiders all the way this Sunday.

Game: Northern Spirit vs South Melbourne
Date: Sunday 7 December 2003
Venue: Pittwater Park
Kickoff: 6.30pm

HEAD TO HEAD (Overall):
Played: 10
Spirit wins 3
Sth Melb wins 6
Draws 1

HEAD TO HEAD (at Sydney):
Played: 5(Regular Season)
Spirit wins 3
Sth Melb wins 1
Draws 1

Last Encounter:
Spirit won 3-2

Spirit 3-0 away loss V Power
Sth Melb 6-0 home win Kingz

Position on Ladder:
8th V 1st

P Henderson (gk), J Watts, N Spencer, M Osman, W O’Sullivan, V Tomasevic, S Petrie, J Hutchinson, I Ferguson, B Groves, A Kwasnik, M Hunter, S Baveas, B Fisher, S Page (gk)

IN: I Ferguson
OUT: D Macallister (suspended – 1 match)

E Galekovic (gk), M Panopoulos, A Kovacevic, M Stergiopoulos, M Curcija, C Boutsianis, S Poutakidis, M Lohy, S Storey, K Sarkies, S Laurie, P Trimboli, L Osman, C Recchia, M Theoklitos (gk),

IN: M Panopoulos
OUT: S Tunbridge (suspension – 1 match)

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