Sunday, 26 March 2006 9:51 PM
By Michael Tsoukalis
A 10th minute close range header from Trent Waterson has proved enough to give the Sunshine Georgies a much needed 3 points and crown new Coach Joe Montemurro’s debut in the sweetest possible manner.
Montemurro was the South youth coach as recently as last week but switched allegiances after being handed his first senior coaching job at Premier League level.
South made only one change from their starting line-up against Essendon with veteran custodian Dean Anastasiadis returning between the uprights after overcoming an arm injury.
South lined up as follows, Dean Anastasiadis in goal defended by a back three consisting of Jonas Salley, Arthur Tsonis and Rama Tavasancioglu. In the centre of the park Tansel Baser played in the defensive midfield position with Scot MacNicol and Brazilian Fernando Moraes the more advanced midfielders. On the flanks, George Tzirtis and Vasilios Natsioulas played on the left and right respectively with both players instructed to drop back and defend their flank where appropriate. Up front, Captain Vaughn Coveny resumed his new found partnership with import striker Kevin Nelson.
Sunshine began strongly finding space down the left and producing a quality cross that recent signing Fidel Richards headed over from 12 or so yards.
A minute later Ivan Filipovic produced a decent strike from outside the box that failed to test Anastasiadis.
Ten minutes in and Sunshine were ahead after Richards found acres of space down the left flank and produced a quality ball into the heart of the South box. Up popped up an unmarked Trent Waterson who from 8 yards out sent an angled header comfortably past a hapless Anastasiadis who was left stranded by his defence.
Eighteen minutes had been played when South should’ve drawn level after intelligent play from Moraes saw the Brazilian play Nelson in behind the Georgies defence. With only Sunshine keeper Martin John to beat, Nelson took the ball towards his un-favored left foot, yet instead of striking with his left, the Trinidad and Tobago native tried to poke the ball past John with his right foot, seeing the Sunshine keeper save with his feet.
General play was slightly in South’s favor; however, Coach Anastasiadis’s charges were well below their best as Montemurro kept instructing his players to work hard and continue to soak up South’s attack.
Thirty-five minutes in and John produced a stunning save to deny South and Kiwi international Coveny an equalizer. South had won a free kick slightly on the left hand side, 25 yards out. Moraes stood over the ball and produced a neat lay off to Coveny who proceeded to unleash a brilliant low drive headed for the bottom left corner that John saved superbly at full stretch.
South continued to press and a hastily cleared corner in the 38th minute fell to Tavsancioglu who proceeded to unleash a volleyed attempt that caused havoc in the Georgies 6 yard box with the home side eventually clearing.
Just before half time, South produced their best opening of the half. A weaving run down the right by Moraes saw the Brazilian work his way into the Sunshine box and produce a perfect cutback for Nelson who from 6 yards out could only blaze his 42nd minute strike over when the goal was at his mercy.
South began the 2nd half in a positive manner. Fifty-one minutes had been played when Natsioulas produced a quality ball from the right. The ball fell to Coveny who did well to fashion a chance for himself, turning his marker sharply and producing a low drive that looked certain to level the tie only for John to produce another outstanding save down low.
Sunshine continued to soak up the pressure and largely relied on counter attacking play and individual efforts to threaten South’s goal. In the 57th minute Sunshine substitute John Cvetanovski connected well with a 20 yard effort that Anastasiadis did well to glove.
Six minutes later Sunshine striker Tony Neceski almost capitalized on a South defensive lapse, getting in behind the defence and almost managing to round Anastasiadis who was thankful that Neceski ran out of space with the ball going beyond the goal line and out for a goal kick.
South’s final decent opening arrived in the 65th minute after a good cross from the left fell to Nelson in the Sunshine box, who unfortunately for the visitors, produced a poor first touch, allowing for the Georgies defence to adjust their positioning and block his eventual effort.
The final 20 minutes saw the visitors drop their overall performance. Sunshine were happy to soak up the play whilst South seemed to lack a leader who could fashion something to galvanize the team.
The Georgies almost capitalized on South’s seemingly uninspired play when Richards broke down the left in the 87th minute and sent a deep cross into the South box that was met by the intelligent late run of Waterson who produced a looping header that had Anastasiadis scurrying, only for the effort to nestle on the top of the net.