Tuesday, 30 May 2006 12:05 AM
By George Kouroumalis
A lackluster second half display has seen highly fancied South Melbourne upset by Fawkner-Whittlesea by 2 goals to nil at a cold Epping Stadium on Monday night.
With the blues beating Altona last week, the South faithful made the trek out to Epping sensing a real contest after an easy win last week against Heidelberg.
Two main changes were made to the starting lineup, with import Kevin Nelson replacing Vaughan Coveny up front.
Vaughan, was on international duty in Germany, representing New Zealand against Georgia and world champions Brazil.
The second change came in the heart of defence, with Steve O’dor returning back to the AIS in Canberra.
Replacing him was the impressive youngster in James Stefanou, who was looking to continue his great form over the past month.
The first half belonged to South Melbourne who dominated possession for the most part of it.
In the 17th minute, lively midfielder George Tzirtis thought he could repeat his goal of the year effort of last week with another drive from 30 yards.
Unfortunately for the traveling South faithful his shot hit the cross bar and rebounded to Kevin Nelson, who hit the shot directly at keeper Tilovski.
Nelson was then gifted with a golden chance only 15 minutes later where Baser found him alone in the box with only the keeper to beat.
Once again his shot failed to have any real direction or power behind it and subsequently was hit directly at the waiting Tilovski.
Tilovski was proving to be impossible to pass as he pulled off point blank saves from Fernando De Moares and pocket rocket Andreas Oliviera just before the half time break.
The second half however proved to be a totally different game with the Fawkner-Whittlesea side coming out and really taking the game to the visitors.
The opening two minutes of the half was the indicator that the Blues had arrived to play, with veteran Dean Anastasiadis making routine saves from the shots of Mark Tsiorlas and Tony Sterjovski.
In the 50th minute, a long ball was played from the right hand side which caught the South defence napping allowing the Blues behind the defence.
In trying to repel the attack of the Blues, South midfielder George Tzirtis attempted to run down the runaway forward, making ground on him before called for a questionable foul in the process.
As he was the last defender the referee reached for his pocket exposing a red card for the devastated player.
With South down to ten men, the Blues managed to take advantage only a few minutes later with Sterjovksi launching a cracking drive from just outside the box.
To the jubilation of the small pocket of Blues fans, the strike found its way into the back of the net.
For the next twenty minutes South once again controlled possession without really creating any clear cut chances that troubled Fawker-Whittlesea keeper Tilovski.
This changed in the 71st minute with Tilovski pulling off an exceptional save from a De Moares left footed bullet from 15 yards that was headed into the corner.
With South starting to assert itself on the game once again, a delightful counter attack by the Blues sealed a hard fought win for the home side.
A classic ball by former South Melbourne player Carl Recchia caught the South defence square, leaving Ricky Chillico one on one with keeper Anastasiadis.
Chillico kept his cool and calmly slotted the ball past an outstretched Anastasiadis icing the game for the home side.
In the final ten minutes South had numerous half chances through Nelson, Oliviera & De Moares, but a lack of poise and a man of the match display by keeper Tilovski ensured that the boys from lakeside would leave Epping Stadium without a goal.
South Melbourne return home next week in a massive derby game against Kingston City on Sunday, while the Blues will attempt to continue their giant killing run away to Oakleigh on Friday.
In exciting news for the South faithful and football fans in general, the curtain raiser provided fans with a glimpse of former Hawthorn AFL footballer Angelo Lekkas in one of his first appearances for South Melbourne.
Lekkas played 25 minutes as a forward and looked as if he has the ability to become a real asset to the senior squad in the future.
Unfortunately for the side however, the Blues proved too strong taking out the contest by 4 goals to nil.