Friday, 4 April 2008 3:56 PM
By George Kouroumalis
After a thrilling derby win last weekend against Preston, South Melbourne must remain composed as it welcomes Green Gully to Bob Jane Stadium this Sunday.
South performed a classic second half comeback last week at Connor Reserve, with two late goals to Goran Zoric and Nathan Caldwell giving the club an invaluable 1-2 win against the Lions.
Despite not playing the most fluent football, South coach John Anastasiadis will be excited by the persistence and character his boys showed in front of the parochial home crowd.
Defensively, South will be expected to go into the game on Sunday with the same starting line-up that performed quite well against the Lions.
Captain Dean Anastasiadis will be in goals, with Robbie Wynne on the right. Wynne has been impressive in his two games to date this season and has grasped the opportunity given to him, providing the side with a versatile and energetic defensive option. Joining the youngster in the defensive back four will be Shane Nunes and Steven O’Dor, both of whom will play in the central defensive position. Vice captain and inspirational leader Ramazan Tavsancioglu will be asked to once again patrol the left hand side of defence.
In the midfield, Anastasiadis will most likely persist with playing Sam Poutakidis on the right hand flank. Last week in that position, Poutakidis was a standout player for the side, providing both a presence in the attacking third as well as assisting the defence. The central midfield position will be filled by Antonio La Verde, with Fernando De Moraes playing a more attacking role in the centre of the park, just behind the front two. The other midfield position will be awarded to either Bill Natsioulas or Goran Zoric. After a solid first half performance against Preston, Natsioulas did not re-appear after the interval and was replaced by Zoric, who had a superb second half and scored the equalising goal.
Up front there are three strikers vying for two positions, with Nathan Caldwell’s solid performance against the Lions (including scoring the winning goal) firmly putting his case forward for re-inclusion into the starting line-up. Others in the mix will be Hamlet Armenian and Ricky Diaco, with the latter playing ninety minutes against the Lions and working extremely hard to create goalscoring opportunities. If South are to win on Sunday, whoever gets the nod to start up forward must make an impact on the contest.
South will come up against an experienced and well-drilled Green Gully side, with coach Ian Dobson renowned for producing football teams that are hard working and able to pick up results at any ground.
In goals for the Cavaliars will be Steven Tilovski, a player that stood in the way of South on both occasions last year when playing for the Fawkner Blues. In both games, he single-handedly won a point for his side after producing two superb performances in between the sticks. Tilovski’s shot stopping ability and strength in the air makes him a formidable wall to get past and South’s attacking players will need to be effective when presented with goal scoring opportunities. In front of Tilovski, veteran Dean Fak will lead a Green Gully defence that has only conceded 4 goals in six rounds, making them the second best defensive team in the league statistically.
In the midfield, Andy Vargas will be the player to watch. The hard working and experienced former NSL player will be well known to South fans as a player that can rip a game apart on his day. Whether it be with the ball at his feet, from a free-kick or a corner, Vargas will no doubt be a massive headache to the home side and someone that must be kept quiet in order for South to increase their chances of winning the contest. Other dangerous midfield options that will come either into the starting line-up or off the bench are the Delev brothers, who crossed over from Altona in the pre-season. Both players are experienced at this level and both can hold down the midfield as well as provide dangerous attacking threats going forward.
Up front, the Cavaliers have the in-form Joel Nikolic leading the charge, partnered by the elusive and skillful Campbell Banks. Nikolic really stepped up last week against Coburg, netting on two occasions to ensure that his team would take all three points. He is another player who is well accustomed to this level and will provide South’s central defensive duo with a nightmare when he has the ball at his feet or at aerial challenges.
South Melbourne urges all fans once again to come to the game on Sunday and get behind their side that is striving to get itself back into the top six. After a huge win last week, the scene is set for a cracking match at Bob Jane Stadium. Kick off is at 4pm.
South Melbourne FC vs Green Gully
When: Sunday, April 6th
Where: Bob Jane Stadium
Kick-off: 4pm (Under 21s at 1.45pm)
Projected Starting line-ups
Dean Anastasiadis (GK), Sam Poutakidis, Rama Tavsancioglou, Steven O’Dor, Shane Nunes, Tony La Verde, Bill Natsioulas, Robbie Wynne, Fernando De Moraes, Hamlet Armenian, Ricky Diaco
Steven Tilovski, Mile Medjedovic, Dragi Nastevski, Dean Fak, Steven Burton, Ryan Ollerton, Jeffrey Fleming, Campbell Banks, Kole Delev, Andy Vargas, Joel Nikolic
Head to head (Games since 2005)
Played : 8
South Melbourne : 2
Green Gully : 4
Draw : 2
When: Sunday, 15 July 2007
Where: Green Gully Reserve
Score: Green Gully 0 drew with South Melbourne 0
Form in 2008 (last 3 games)
South Melbourne: Loss, Loss, Win
Green Gully: Win, Draw, Win