South Melbourne FC

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South Melbourne v Sunshine Georgies – Friendly Match Report

South Melbourne v Sunshine Georgies – Friendly Match Report

Wednesday, 19 January 2005 10:42 PM

By Michael Tsoukalis

South Melbourne finally delivered on the positive signs they have been showing throughout their pre-season campaign spanking the newly promoted Sunshine Georgies by 3 goals to nil.

From the onset South looked as though they were ready to take their first serious step and register a pre-season victory under the guidance of coach John Anastasiadis.

Anastasiadis fielded a slightly different line-up bringing in Ramazan Tavsancioglu at left back and experimenting with Nick Curtis in the right back position, Arthur Tsonis and Steve O’Dor were at the heart of the South defence. In the middle inspirational young-gun Evan Karavitis was joined by George Tzirtis, with Scottish winger Ryan Dinse playing on the left and Vasilios Natsioulas on the right. Up front Kostas Salapasidis was paired with Vaughn Coveny.

Admitedly both sides took a good 15 or so minutes to settle with South gaining the early initiative after a perfectly timed run by Dinse down the left flank saw the ball bobble into the diminutive South winger’s path with only the keeper to beat. Like a seasoned pro Dinse did not hesitate to pick his spot and calmly slot home his strike.

To the Georgies credit they came agonisingly close to a quick reply when a squared ball from the right fell to an attacking player who from point blank range was denied by a stunning save by South keeper Dean Anastasiadis.

Anastasiadis’s hand was forced when Vaughn Coveny appeared to pick up a knock and hence Jesse Krncevic was thrown into the fray. Almost immediately Krncevic had a positive impact providing a genuine target up front and on one occasion managing to wriggle in behind the defence, calmly going past a Sunshine defender and with the presence of mind to square the ball back, Tzirtis’s ensuing shot was saved by the toe of the Georgies keeper from point blank range. Krncevic then had the final chance of the half when from a tight angle he sent a right foot belter slightly over the right top corner.

The second half got under way with an unfortunate rush of blood. After impressing since his early introduction Jesse Krncevic’s enthusiasm got the better of him when after chasing a through ball he followed through and took out the keeper after the ball had been cleanly gloved. Noting the friendly nature of the game, the referee allowed for South to replace Krncevic and on came Tex Apostolikas. Apostolikas’s introduction was almost marked with a goal when his dogged determination to win back a ball he had lost saw him with some time just outside the box. He proceeded to unleash a powerful right foot drive that sailed narrowly wide.

With South looking for the ever crucial cushion of a second goal their search was finally rewarded. Midway through the 2nd stanza a South free kick from the right wing – near the edge of the box – was put into a brilliant position by Tzirtis, big Arthur Tsonis rose above everyone else and nodded home the Albert Park based club’s second of the evening.

With the comfort of a 2nd goal, down went the heads of the George Cross players leaving the South players free to run riot. Peter Koutsoupias had been introduced in the 2nd half and was operating in a somewhat experimental attacking midfield position. Koutsoupias was the catalyst for South’s third finding himself in space on the left wing, he released a sublime – made more special by the fact it was with his opposite foot – cross that found Ryan Dinse unmarked in the George Cross box with the speedy winger once again showing an immense calmness in front of goal, nodding his header easily past the helpless Georgies custodian.

With the Georgies on the ropes South sensed a slaughter. The Clarendon Corner was in full voice and could not believe Apostolikas’s miss from 5 yards out. A scramble in the box had bobbled its way to the ex-Olympiakos youngster who from point blank range somehow managed to sky over.

Hungry for a fourth the goal almost arrived after young substitute Stavros Georgakakis’s angled run from the right saw the South midfielder unleash a powerful angled drive that skimmed the Georgies left upright.

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