Monday, 25 February 2008 9:53 AM
By George Kouroumalis
South Melbourne have slumped to the bottom of the table following a second consecutive loss, this time at home to the newly promoted Coburg United, who have at the same time recorded their second win of the season.
A lovely sunny day in Melbourne and a strong crowd of over 2000 patrons welcomed the combatants onto the pitch, with both sets of fans at the ground confident that their side could produce the football required to take the 3 points.
Unfortunately for the expectant crowd, the opening twenty minute period didn’t live up to anyone’s expectation, with both sides quite hesitant in venturing too far forward, content with ensuring that they did not concede any early goal.
The first chance of the contest came in the 21st minute, when Yusuf was given the ball on the left hand side of the park and after a short run, he opted to then hit a speculative long range effort at goal. The ball however trickled into the arms of Adam Hrehoresin in the Coburg goal.
South continued to venture forward and nearly was rewarded in the 38th minute, when Ricky Diaco was gifted with a bouncing ball just outside the area, after a Hrehoresin punch failed to clear the area.
From 20 yards, Diaco slammed the ball well over the bar and away from goal.
The final chance of the half once again fell to South Melbourne in the 43rd minute.
On this occasion, Diaco collected a ball from a Sam Poutakidis pass just outside the area, before turning sharply and hitting a powerful drive onto the target. Coburg keeper Hrehoresin made no mistake of the situation, solidly getting behind and catching the ball in his arms.
The second half began in quite a contrasting style, with Coburg looking intent to push numbers forward and to create some decent opportunities to win the game, something that they really failed to do in the first half.
The first chance for Coburg came in the 49th minute, when some lovely interplay between experienced midfielders Fidel Richards and Anthony Magnacca split the South defence apart. A ball was then played into the tall Alexander Josifovski, who then hit a wild shot well over the bar.
Coburg though did not have to wait much longer and were on the score sheet only moments later.
A horrific mix-up in the back between Ramazan Tavsancioglu and Dean Anastasiadis just outside the area allowed for former South Melbourne player Andy Vlahos to steal possession and slam the ball into the open net.
The away side, who were now full of confidence, then doubled their advantage in the 61st minute when a swinging free kick to the back post was poorly judged by the South Melbourne defense, with Sime Kovacevic to rising above everyone to slam his header into the back of the net.
With the game seemingly beyond them, South threw everyone forward in an attempt to try and salvage something from the game.
A great help to the home side was the sending off of Serdar Pir, who was dismissed by the referee after heated incident behind the ball that saw Nathan Caldwell on the ground.
The referee and assistant, after some consultation, had no choice but to send off the former Preston premiership defender.
Gianni De Nittis, who was brought on for his 50th career game for the club, was one of these players who then threw everything forward, with the youngster outfoxing Peter Tichy on the left hand side of the area, before sliding a ball inches past the outstretched Hamlet Armenian and Bill Natsioulas who were both in and around the penalty spot.
South could sense that something was coming, and exposed a 10 man Coburg side in the 83rd minute after a well weighted ball by Poutakidis found Armenian in space just inside the area.
After a touch, a stinging drive was launched and saved by Hrehoresin, who parried the ball into the path of Fernando. The Brazilian maestro then composed himself and slammed the ball into the back of the net, after darting around a few players in the process.
South threw everything into the last 5 minutes trying to get that equalising goal, however some solid Coburg defending and exceptional keeping by Hrehoresin, coupled by some very poor choices made by the South side, ensured that the away side would walk away from Bob Jane Stadium with maximum points.
SMFC now face Western Suburbs in an important derby match next Sunday at Bob Jane Stadium.