Thursday, 11 August 2005 10:37 PM
By Michael Tsoukalis
Monday night sees South Melbourne travel to Epping Stadium to take on the Fawkner-Whittlesea Blues in an extremely important fixture between two sides battling to secure not only a position in the finals but the double chance as well.
The John Markovski-coached Azzurri are in a rich vein of form having gone unbeaten in their 12 past encounters and at the same time skyrocketing up the table to find themselves in 2nd position.
Ironically, Fawkner’s last defeat came at the hands of South when the Lakeside-based club produced a stunning Round 12 display to smash a disappointing Fawkner outfit by 4 goals to nil.
Since that day both side’s fortunes have somewhat contrasted with Fawkner, inspired by the goals of Zoran Petrevski and Mark Tsiorlas (10 goals apiece), playing a brand of football which has seen them accumulate the best “goals for” tally in the league.
Conversely, South have struggled for goals with their return of 25 the equal third worst in the league.
John Anastasiadis’s men have to show caution as failure to achieve a positive result may place them danger of missing the finals. The Lakesiders in their past 2 encounters have had the opportunity to ensure participation (in the finals) but a 1-1 draw with Essendon followed by a disappointing loss to Oakleigh has put added pressure on a side that has been present in the top 6 all year.
A positive for South was the two-thirds of a game that exciting winger Vasilios Natsioulas managed to play against Oakleigh. Natsioulas was extremely lively with his silky skills and close ball control causing problems for the Cannons out wide.
Hopefully for South Natsioulas can manage to put in a similar shift against Fawkner as his presence on the pitch no doubt gives the Albert Park-based club an added element of creativity and spark.
However, up-front is where the core problem lies. Mid-season recruit Robbie Cattanach has failed to find the net with South managing only 2 goals in their past 6 games.
That said; all is not lost for the visitors who are continually creating golden chances through solid build up play but are just lacking the cutting edge. Finding this extra sharpness may just well prove the key to a positive result.