Friday, 28 July 2006 1:29 AM
By Michael Tsoukalis
South travel to K.B. Reserve tonight in what looms as an extremely dangerous encounter for John Anastasiadis’s men.
Since Phil Stubbins took over the reigns of the newly promoted outfit, Richmond have managed to comfortably rise above the relegation zone and on the back of 5 straight wins now find themselves in the Vodafone Cup top six.
Crucial to Richmond’s surge has been then goal-scoring form of youngster Daniel Visevic as well as key forward James Robinson. Between them they have managed 20 goals, Visevic with 8 and Robinson with 12, making them one of the most lethal striking combinations in the league.
Visevic in particular has been a revelation with the player making his debut at the start of the season at only 17 years of age yet managing to adapt to the league with ease and making a significant impact on the goal-scoring charts.
The match also sees South youngster Evan Karavitis, who is currently on loan to Richmond for the remainder of the season, potentially come up against the side he started the season with. Karavitis will no doubt be looking to impress as after his time and experienced gained at Richmond he is expected to be back at South next season.
In the South camp, the long injury list which has plagued South all season appears to be lessening with last week’s encounter against Altona seeing the return of both Con Blatsis and Vasilios Natsioulas. It is crucial for South that both Blatsis and Natsioulas string together a run of games leading into the finals as both players have the ability to have a significant and shaping influence on South’s fortunes this season.
South currently finds itself amongst a rough patch of form having won only one of its past five encounters with the familiar problem of lacking a genuine goal-scorer slowly re-emerging after the departures of club captain Vaughn Coveny and Trinidad and Tobago import Kevin Nelson.
With the recent departures South has promoted youngsters such as Gianni DeNittis, Nick Curtis and Andrew Bourakis to more prominent roles and whilst all have shown encouraging signs, these players will have to raise their game to the next level in order to cover for the lack of firepower up front.
South must also look to address a string of worrying defensive lapses which have emerged in the last few matches, in particular the games against Sunshine and Altona where the opposition got cleanly in behind the South defence on more than one occasion.
With Richmond firing on all cylinders and providing a tremendous attacking threat, the South defence marshaled by veteran custodian Dean Anastasiadis will have to be very alert and on their game in order to stop the overwhelming momentum Phil Stubbin’s men have gradually developed over the past five rounds.