Saturday, 19 February 2005 10:53 PM
By Mark van Aken
South Melbourne continued their solid start to the 2005 Vodafone VPL season with a well deserved 2-1 today at Frankston Pines. It was a good performance all round by the SMFC side, with Kosta Salapasidis playing a devastating role in attack, supported by a solid defence and his skipper Vaughan Coveny on the left.
While South Melbourne had much of the play in the early going, the side failed to capitalise on a smorgasbord of opportunities. After some early half chances a perfectly timed cross from Salapasidis found Scottish winger Ryan Dinse and almost the back of the net. His strike cracked the cross bar and rebounded back into play and was eventually cleared by the Frankston defence. On the quarter hour Dinse had another goal face opportunity but it was again foiled by a Frankston defender.
The home side was surrendering much of the possession to South for large patches of the first half but weren’t without their own opportunities, mainly through lumbering forward Nick Waite. Like their opponents, they were finding it tough to break down the defence in the last quarter and the teams entered half time locked at 0-0.
The second half began much the same as the first. South Melbourne controlled play in the middle of the park and had a fair shout at a penalty when Salapasidis was felled inside the area in the opening minutes. The referee saw it otherwise and incurred the wrath of the boisterous visiting SMFC support.
Rubbing salt into the blue and white wounds was Frankston’s Simon Webster capitalising on a Dean Anastasiadis slip up only minutes later. After surrendering a mountain of ball for close on an hour the home side owned a 1-0 lead. The Frankston side made sure the South fans on the far wing knew all about it.
Stung into action, South consistently went forward and were rewarded within minutes. Skipper Vaughan Coveny was fouled at the top of the box and the resulting Salapasidis free kick rocketed past a hapless Pines keeper to tie it away with around half an hour to play.
South continued their sorties forward, with Dinse regularly running at the Frankston defence and providing width to the attack. Eventually the weight of possession was too much, an own goal seeing the boys form the Peninsula fall behind 2-1.
Not disheartened by the set back, Frankston started to win more of the ball and looked likely in the last quarter hour, but it wasn’t to be. South claiming their second win of the season and cementing their spot near the top of the Vodafone VPL Premiership.
Coach John Anastasiadis was ecstatic with the win and the support the side received on the terraces. “It was good today. Some of our guys were physically challenged out there and guys like Billy Nats really stood up”, explained the rookie coach, “we had good support from the visiting fans and the win keeps us well in the mix in the league”.
South next travel to Bulleen on Monday week, February 28, for a highly anticipated clash between these two former NSL rivals.