Monday, 11 July 2005 10:30 AM
By Mark van Aken
South Melbourne entered their Round 21 match against the Sunshine Georgies acutely aware that a win was necessary to maintain their place near the top of the table. They would have to do with a single point as the match ended in a scoreless draw at Sunshine.
It was a much changed the line up in the blue and white, with new recruit Rob Catanach retaining his starting spot and Brazilian Fernando Moraes and Scot Ryan Dinse coming into the starting line up. Kosta Salapasidis and Pete Kousoupias were relegated to the bench for the match played out on a pitch that appeared wet under foot but in pristine condition.
Both sides attacked with vigour early, Sunshine’s best opportunity coming when a South clearance struck the referee and rebounded towards their goal. They could not capitalise and South then went about creating some chances of their own.
Skipper Vaughan Coveny was unlucky to find the side netting with one of his close range efforts, while Dinse had a header saved by the Georgies keeper.
A miscommunication between veterans Con Blatsis and Dean Anastasiadis very nearly resulted in a goal to the home side deep into the first half. The frustration was telling when Blatsis and his opponent were each cautioned just before the break.
The matches highlight came in the 44th minute when a long free kick from Moraes bent from one post to the other and forced the absolute best of saves from Sunshine’s keeper.
Steve O’Dor received a caution for a shirt pull in the opening minutes of the second half while the Georgies enjoyed some space in attack that resulted on several fruitless shots on goal.
As the second half progressed, South began to enjoy some strong periods of attack. A South corner was cleared by a scrambling Sunshine defence straight to the feet of Arthus Tsonis who shot straight at the keeper and was denied. Another chance came moments later when the keeper erred in taking the ball over the goal line, the resulting corner saw a Sunshine defender go ever so close to an own goal as the ball ricocheted off their heal and within inches of the South goal.
While an excellent addition on debut last week, Cattanach struggled to find any real rhythm in the game and was replaced by Peter Koutsoupias in the 70th minute. As the game went on, South continued to attack the goal while Sunshine looked dangerous on the counter in patches.
While South continued to win corner after corner, many were coming in at the near post and low, making it easy for the home side to clear the ball away from danger.
Just minutes out from full time a series of unsavoury tackles saw both sides take issue with each others technique. The players met head to head in front of a crowded South Melbourne and Sunshine bench. The result was a stale mate and a subsequent drop ball.
It was to be the story of South’s day, the match ending locked at 0-0. John Anastasiadis’ side must steel itself this week for their home match against Green Gully on Sunday. South will be looking to avenge their narrow defeat way to the Cavaliers earlier this season and keep their minor premiership chances alive.