Monday, 25 June 2007 12:17 AM
By Michael Tsoukalis
A goal by Nick Marinos and a Jim Drossos double has seen Heidelberg United trounce Champions South Melbourne by 3 goals to nil in the 16th round of the Foxtel Cup.
In what was one of South’s worst performances since re-entering the Victorian Premier League, a goal by Nick Marinos after only four minutes and a 2nd goal four minutes later by Jim Drossos meant that South were chasing the game from the onset.
Drossos rounded off the scoring, finishing a well worked move by the Bergers in the 73rd minute to match the 3-0 hammering South received at the hands of Kingston City last season.
South had to re-jig its formation with the departure of Steven O’Dor to the Wellington Phoenix, choosing to play Sam DeVito in an unfamiliar central defensive role. DeVito was joined in an unfamiliar back three by Ramazan Tavsancioglu who played on the right side of defence and new recruit Adam Van Dommele who played on the left.
In the centre of the park, Coach John Anastasiadis deployed youngster Jose Vasquez along with veteran Tansel Baser in defensive midfield roles with Vasilios Natsioulas used in the attacking midfield role. Out wide, Yusef Yusef patrolled the left wing whilst Trent Waterson was on the right. The familiar striking duo of Nathan Caldwell and Ricky Diaco made up the frontline for the visitors with Young Socceroo Mitchell Langerak starting his fourth consecutive game in goal.
The match had barely started when South were placed on the back foot. Speedy forward Nick Marinos was on hand to convert a goal mouth scramble in the 4th minute after Bergers midfielder/assistant Coach Andy Vlahos created the chance with some quality lead-up work.
Four minutes later, Marinos’s cross-shot wasn’t convincingly saved by Langerak with the rebound falling to Drossos who from the edge of the box, drove home the rebound to give the Bergers a commanding two goal advantage.
South then settled with the Bergers no doubt happy to soak up some time and look to catch South on the counter.
The visitors had a great chance to pull one back after 21 minutes when after the Bergers headed off the line, South managed to smash a centre across the heart of the Heidelberg area with Nastioulas almost managing to steer a flick header on goal. Unfortunately for South, Natsioulas couldn’t direct his reflex effort on target and the chance was lost.
An error from Bergers custodian Pasi Schwalger nearly saw South score after a Diaco free-kick from 25 or so yards in the 29th minute, bounced in front of Schwalger who failed to cleanly glove with the South follow-up effort seeing a desperate Berger defence do enough to force a corner.
The second half started with Caldwell heading a decent – 47th minute – ball from the right straight at Schwalger.
South’s defense was then horribly exposed when in the 51st minute Marinos found some space down the left flank with DeVito in front of him. The Bergers’ striker did superbly well to skip past DeVito only to see his angled strike cannon off the far post when it seemed destined for the bottom corner.
Heidelberg wasted another great chance on 57 minutes when Erhan Karahan exposed the South midfield and defence after being released by a superb through-ball from defence with only Langerak to beat. To his credit Langerak did well to close the angle Karahan had to work with, but truth be told, Karahan didn’t appear confident and spurned his chance, failing to hit the target.
Heidelberg were by now bossing proceedings and should’ve added a third on 67 minutes after great work down the right by Vlahos saw his cutback find Marinos free in the heart of the South box. Fortunately for South, the diminutive striker failed to connect cleanly with his effort, allowing Langerak to glove comfortably down low.
The triumphant and deserved third goal for the Bergers arrived after 72 minutes when Vlahos again produced a quality piece of play down the right flank sending a looping ball to the back post that was met by Drossos who hit a low volley from 10 or so yards out, straight under Langerak for his third of the season.
Vlahos had deserved a goal and should’ve got one on 79 minutes when he failed to convert a one-on-one opportunity with Langerak again doing well to put added pressure on the finish.
A disappointing South display nearly ended with a goal when in he 81st minute an angled Caldwell header that had Schwalger beaten narrowly missed the right upright, whilst in the 87th minute, the ball fell fortunately for Diaco on the edge of the Heidelberg box with the South striker failing to hit the target with a venomous strike.
Coach John Anastasiadis will no doubt be greatly disappointed with South’s performance and may make a few personnel and positional changes for next week’s encounter against Richmond.
South seemed lackluster and generally not up to it today with perhaps their three-game-in-a week schedule severely affecting performance.