Monday, 7 April 2008 10:17 AM
By George Kouroumalis
A professional and dominant display by Green Gully has seen them crush South Melbourne 0-3 at a sun-drenched Bob Jane Stadium on Sunday.
With both sides were coming off impressive wins, an excited crowd arrived at Bob Jane Stadium expecting to see a cracking contest. However, not even the staunchest Green Gully fan could have predicted the one sided contest that evenuated.
South coach John Anastasiadis made a few structural changes to the starting line-up from last weekend.
In defence, Robbie Wynne was once again dropped to the substitutes bench, with Sam Poutakidis returning the right back position. Joining the veteran defender would be the same three that started against Preston, with Steven O’Dor and Shane Nunes asked to perform central defensive duties, whilst Rama Tavsancioglu would once again play on the left hand side of the park.
In the middle of the park, both Goran Zoric and Gianni De Nittis were given starting positions, with the latter recovering from the injury that had seen him miss out on the last few games. Making way for De Nittis would be the unlucky Bill Natsioulas.
The other two players that made up this midfield quartet would be Fernando and Antonio La Verde, both of whom have been in decent form leading into the game, with La Verde cementing his claim to the central midfield position with some great and hard working performances.
Up front, Hamlet Armenian was dropped to the bench, with last week’s hero Nathan Caldwell given the nod to start beside Ricky Diaco.
South started the game brightly, when a quality run down the right hand flank by Goran Zoric saw the speedy midfielder dart past a few defenders, before hitting his shot into the arms of Steven Tilovski in the Gully goal.
Fernando tried to replicate Zoric’s effort only three minutes later, with the Brazilian also hitting a long range drive into the secure arms of the very confident Tilovski.
Gully’s first real opportunity of the contest came in the 20th minute, when an opportunistic ball was swung into the back post.
With confusion inside the area and an indecisive attempt to capture the cross by Dean Anastasiadis, the ball found Joel Nikolic open at the back post, who headed the ball into the back of the net with consumate ease, giving Gully a 0-1 lead.
Gully doubled their advantage in the 26th minute when the referee awarded them a penalty, after Steven O’Dor was judged to have handled the ball just inside the area.
With no hesitation, Stephen Burton stepped up and slammed the ball into the back of net, sending Anastasiadis the wrong way for 0-2.
With the South side in complete disarray, Nikolic should have scored his second after spooning a long drive well over the bar from just outside the area.
South had a big opportunity to get back into the contest in the 33rd minute, when a lovely ball passed through the stagnant defence and found the feet of Fernando.
With only Tilovski in front of him, Fernando hit a poor shot into the feet of the lunging keeper, who once again thwarted the South attack.
Tilovski again stood in the way of South just before the interval, after a brilliant cross into the area by Fernando was poorly defended by Dean Fak and his Gully defence. The ball then fell to O’Dor inside the six yard box, who hit the poor shot directly into the legs of Tilovski.
The second half was all Green Gully, with the away side controlling the tempo and being first to the ball at every opportunity.
In the 58th minute a lunging tackle by Poutakidis, who appeared to have got the ball, was awarded as a penalty to Gully, with referee Jim Zafiriou claiming Poutakidis caught the man.
Stepping up to take the penalty was Andy Vargas, with the experienced midfielder keen to score another goal against South Melbourne, as he had done on a few occasions back in the NSL whilst playing for the Melbourne Knights. With the keeper once again beaten, South dodged a bullet as the ball struck the post and stayed out.
South’s biggest opportunity in the second half came in the 63rd minute.
Some lovely work by Zoric on the left flank saw the midfielder launch an inch-perfect pass to the back post, where Hamlet Armenian was waiting by himself. Armenian looked to have steered a powerful header into the top corner, only for Tilovski to fly past the goal face and once again capture the ball somewhat athletically in mid-air.
Gully closed the game off in the 72nd minute when some poor defending allowed for Joel Nikolic to gain possession just outside the area. With no defender in sight, Nikolic slammed the ball underneath the oncoming Anastasiadis for his second of the night.
With the game well and truly over, South dodged yet another bullet when a poor effort late in the game by Shaun Romein from just inside the area saw the ball fly past the outside of the post.
South Melbourne will now somehow have to regroup and travel to the in-form Melbourne Knights next week at Knights Stadium.
With the club currently languishing in 10th position on the table, a win next week against an old rival from the National League is imperative. Kick off is at 3pm.