South Melbourne FC

The Blue and White Forever

South Melbourne v Preston – Match Report

South Melbourne v Preston – Match Report

Sunday, 17 April 2005 11:46 PM

By Michael Tsoukalis

South Melbourne has succumbed to their second successive defeat of the current Vodafone Premier League season suffering a shattering 0-1 loss to the Preston Lions.

After dominating much of the encounter, South succumbed to a Preston “sucker-punch” after Lion’s substitute and former South player Steve Manceski struck a tentative yet golden 25-yard shot that was cruelly deflected past a hapless Dean Anastasiadis.

Coach John Anastasiadis sent out his charges with two key changes. Captain Vaughn Coveny was cleared at Thursday’s tribunal hearing and took his position in the starting-eleven at the expense of young striker Jesse Krncevic whilst promising defender Steven O’Dor replaced the injured Arthur Tsonis. The rest of the line-up remained unchanged – from the game against Green Gully – with veteran custodian Dean Anastasiadis taking up his customary position in goals, Con Blatsis partnering O’Dor in the centre of defence with Rama Tavsancioglu and Arthur Tsirtsakis patrolling the left and right-wingback positions respectively. In the middle of the park Brazilian import Fernando Moraes partnered Scot Macnicol, with Ryan Dinse and Vaisilios Natsioulas deployed on the wings. Up front Kosta Salapasidis resumed his partnership with the returning Coveny.

The game started tentatively with both sides soaking up the tense atmosphere. Chances were limited with South keeper Dean Anastasiadis comfortably dealing with a 7th minute Lions free-kick. Preston then had two penalty claims waved on by referee Dominic Barba with South producing their first quality attack in the 16th minute after Arthur Tsirtsakis was played through down the right-wing and delivered a stinging cross that was slightly behind Coveny who could not adjust his effort and get his header on target.

After dominating the possession stakes, South should’ve gone ahead in the 27th minute after smart work down the right wing by Coveny saw the Kiwi striker send in a looping cross to the back-post. Salapasidis used his body perfectly to header back across the Preston goal-mouth with Natsioulas left in charge of finishing off the superb move from a mere 8-10 yards out. Unfortunately for the home side, Natsioulas didn’t even test the keeper, sending his badly-hit strike wide.

Preston gave South a glimpse of their counter-attacking game-plan when ex-South midfielder Stephen Pace broke free down the left wing, assessed his options and played a nice grounded 36th minute square ball to an oncoming Preston player. A venomous drive from outside the box was unleashed that fortunately for the home side was straight at Dean Anastasiadis who comfortably gloved.

South upped their guilt-edged-chances-missed to two when a superb 43rd minute cross from Coveny – again from the left – picked out Ryan Dinse all alone in the 6-yard box. The diminutive Scotsman rose adequately and positioned himself well to head home but failed to make clean contact, allowing for the alert Preston Custodian Daniel Zilic to parry away.

The 2nd half commenced in a similar manner to the first. South had a scare in the 51st minute after a defensive mix-up in heart of defence almost released a roaming Preston player through on goal. Thankfully for South, quick thinking by Dean Anastasiadis saw the South gloveman quickly close down the threat.

South then resumed their dominance of possession and carved out a decent opening in the 53rd minute when Scot MacNicol broke down the right and whipped in a deadly centre that keeper Zilic just managed to get a fist to and deflect away.

Brazilian recruit Fernando Moraes had been battling hard all night with intelligent passing a feature of his play. In the 57th minute Moraes should’ve marked his home debut with his first goal in South colours after a brilliant through-ball by Natsioulas saw Moraes one-on-one with Zilic. The Brazilian’s finish lacked anything synonymous with “samba-flair” as he seemed in two minds and ended up skying his shot considerably wide.

Then in the 60th minute, skipper Coveny’s immense speed was used to full effect with the Kiwi international being played in-behind the Lion’s defence with a well-weighted, skyed through-ball that left the Kiwi in a foot race with Zilic. Coveny got to the bouncing ball first and attempted to chip the Lion’s custodian who quickly read Conveny’s intent and managed to get his hands on the attempted lob.

With South having blown four guilt-edged chances, Preston started to gain in self-belief. Ex-South Melbourne midfield/striker Anthony Magnacca tried to lead the way when he broke free in the middle of the park, advanced a few metres and unleashed a stinging 65th minute right-foot drive – well outside the South box – that sailed narrowly wide.

Preston coach Vlado Vanis then sent on ex-South Melbourne striker Steven Manceski. The speedy young striker who had shown great potential by scoring bag-loads of goals in the National Youth League was no doubt eager to prove a point. Before Manceski could make an impact, ex-Melbourne Knight’s striker Serkan Oksuz should’ve given the visitors a late lead when he found himself all-alone – in the 87th minute – with only an advancing Anastasiadis to beat. Oksuz cheekily chipped the South keeper with the ball appearing destined for the back-of-the-net. Fortunately for the home side, Oksuz’s chip trickled narrowly wide with keeper Anastasiadis beaten.

One minute from time Manceski had his sweet revenge. It was almost as if South had settled for a nil-all draw allowing Manceski a decent amount of space 25-yards out. Manceski took up the challenge and unleashed a low 89th minute drive that took a wicked deflection, wrong-footing Anastasiadis and trickling over the line for the eventual winner. Celebratory scenes ensued with the Preston players running to their fans and celebrating what was no doubt a monumental victory and a devastating defeat for South.

Final Score:
South Melbourne 0
Preston Lions 1, Manceski (89)

Venue: Bob Jane Stadium, Albert Park
Referee: Domenic Barba

South Melbourne: (4-4-2) Dean Anastasiadis; Tsirtsakis, O’Dor, Blatsis, Tavsancioglu; MacNicol, Natsioulas (Petrovic 66), Moraes, Dinse (Koutsoupias 72); Coveny (c), Salapasidis (Krncevic 80).
Subs not used: Karavitis, Dimitropulos (GK).

Preston Lions: (4-4-2) Zilic, Vrbovac, Younan, Anastasiou, Jankovski; Sekulovski, Magnacca (Manceski 82), Siveski (Dolevski 25), Pace; Oksuz, Sapazovski (c).
Subs not used: Coceski, Josifovski, Cvetanovski (GK).

Cautions: Sekulovski (PL) 29, Vrbovac (PL) 69, Anastasiou (PL) 69

Red Cards: None

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