Thursday, 5 May 2005 7:36 PM
By Michael Tsoukalis
Sunday sees the re-commencement of the Vodafone Premier League with the John Markovski-coached Fawkner-Whittlesea making their way down to Bob Jane Stadium.
The game serves as an extremely important encounter for both sides with South looking to arrest their recent slide in form and get back onto the winner’s podium. After a superb start to the season John Anastasiadis’s men have dropped their past 3 encounters, all games in which South gave a solid performance and didn’t deserve to lose. Crucial then that this game be used as a means to correct the player’s confidence with a strong showing and a positive result.
Conversely, after a shaky start to the season and the departure of several first team players – including the likes of Vince Lia, Carl Recchia, Michael Ferrante, Massimo Murdocca and Joe Spiteri – early on in the campaign, Fawkner went on a 4 game unbeaten streak which heralded 10 points and placed them right back into contention for a final’s birth. However, last round’s 1-3 defeat to Heidelberg has placed Fawkner mid-table with a win potentially catapulting the newly-merged club back into the top 6.
The recent loss of Carl Recchia will hurt Fawkner as the ex-South Melbourne utility was instrumental in helping the Azzurri string together their run of positive results, who replaces Recchia will no doubt provide coach Markovski with an interesting selection dilemma.
Up-front, Zoran Petrevski and Mark Tsiorlas – who has had overseas experience in Holland – have formed a decent understanding, scoring 3 goals apiece to pose perhaps the largest threat to the South defence. Former Melbourne Knight’s defender Sasa Ognenovski has slotted in comfortably after his off-season move from Preston and is charged with leading the defensive line.
In the South camp, Arthur Tsonis stands a chance of returning to the first team setup after spending close to a month on the sidelines with a hamstring injury whilst winger Vasilios Natsioulas is expected to miss again as he is recovering from a bout of Glandula fever.
For 80 minutes against Essendon, South produced a thoroughly professional display capturing a 0-2 lead and missing countless chances. Devastating then was the 10 minute capitulation which the saw Albert Park-based club eventually concede defeat by 3 goals to 2. In the past week coach Anastasiadis has no doubt worked on the mentality and concentration levels of his players who must look to regain the winning mentality which saw them start the season so brightly.