Thursday, 17 February 2005 8:26 AM
By Michael Tsoukalis
After a week long break Vodafone Premier League activity resumes this weekend with South Melbourne travelling to Frankston in pursuit of a positive result to maintain their encouraging start to the season.
The Albert Park-based club has so far managed to defy pre-season form and start the season with two positive results at home. The first being a spirited 0-0 draw with fierce rivals Heidelberg whilst the second a narrow yet important 1-0 victory against the St. Albans Saints.
Conversely, Frankston have had a stuttering start to the season. Their opening fixture saw them demoralise the Bentleigh Greens 4-0, though they followed up this great result with a 0-2 defeat away to Heidelberg.
Frankston has had an interesting off-season with the loss several key players, in particular the loss of club custodian Stuart Webster will hurt the Pines as his commanding presence, shot-stopping ability and safe hands have often proved to be a solid back-bone for the Pines. Along with the loss of Webster, current South midfielder George Tzirtis and Ricky Diaco – who has joined last season’s champions Bulleen – signal a further two crucial losses for the Frankston North-based club. Club battering-ram Nick Waite remains a goal-scoring threat with the former Melbourne Knight’s striker on the mark against Bentleigh, the South backline must look to void the presence of Waite with his sheer strength and presence a constant threat.
Provided no last minute injuries occur, South will no doubt once again field a very similar line-up to their opening two fixtures. Giant centre-back Con Blatsis will be nearing a return though may miss again with the club opting to give the former Derby County player another week’s rest. South attacking interests will largely be vested in front duo Kosta Salapisidis and club Captain Vaughn Coveny, both players have been superb in the club’s opening two fixtures and have the experience and class to be a threat to any defence in the league. Worth a mention are the club’s two clean sheets thus far. Experienced keeper Dean Anastasiadis has been immense, using his experience to guide the defensive central pairing of Arthur Tsonis and Steven O’Dor who have kicked off their South careers in solid form.
Both teams need a positive result to help consolidate their starts to the season, South is currently sitting in equal 2nd on 4 points with a win likely to boost them into the top 3, whilst conversely, Frankston is 1 point behind South with a win likely to consolidate their standing in the top 6.