South Melbourne FC

The Blue and White Forever

Match Preview: SMFC v Fawkner Blues

Match Preview: SMFC v Fawkner Blues

Friday, 18 April 2008 1:52 PM

By George Kouroumalis & John Kyrou | Photo by Alex Louziotis

After two consecutive losses, South Melbourne must re-group against the Fawkner Blues at Bob Jane Stadium on Sunday, in a game the club simply has to win.
After a change in coaching personnel, the first chance for a fresh start resulted in an improved but extremely wasteful South side losing 2-0 to the Melbourne Knights at Somers Street and dropping into the third-last position on the ladder.

However all is not lost. Even though the club is sitting deep in the relegation zone, a win on Sunday will propel the side up the table to have it knocking on the door of the top six.

South will play against a Fawkner side which is also desperate for points, with the northern suburbs-based club also languishing in the relegation zone. Just as with South, a win for Fawkner is imperative in their attempts to push themselves out of the relegation zone and further up a very congested ladder. In order to combat the Fawkner side, South coach Michael Michalakopoulos may make some structural changes to the line-up from the Knights game.

In goals, captain Dean Anastasiadis is expected to start against the side that he began his career at. ‘Deano’ played 44 games for the Blues in two seasons at the start of his career throughout the 1991 and 1992 seasons. His form for Fawkner was what stood out for South Melbourne when coach at the time Jim Pyrgolios recruited him for the 1992/93 NSL season.

Defensively, South are expected to play four across the back, with Sam Poutakidis and Adam Van Dommele expected to hold down the right and left back positions. Joining the two experienced players at the back will be Shane Nunes and Steven O’Dor, both of whom are expected to provide South with a formidable central defensive duo.

In the middle of the park, Michalakopoulos will be keen on persisting with Rama Tavsancioglu, with the vice-captain showing his potential against the Knights in that position. In a three-pronged midfield, Antonio La Verde and Bill Natsioulas will most likely be given starting roles, with the latter instructed to push forward and create as many chances as possible.

Up front, South will play with a three-man attacking combination, with the strong likelihood that Gianni De Nittis, Ricky Diaco and Fernando will be the players chosen to provide a solid, agile and smart front three that will hopefully cause the Fawkner defence many headaches. The others pushing for a starting selection will be Nathan Caldwell, Goran Zoric and Hamlet Armenian, all of whom on their day can make a difference and in most cases also warrant a starting position. It will be interesting to see how Michalakopoulos balances this area and how he will use each player on the park.

South’s opponents have also had a quite poor start to the season, with only one win from their first 9 outings in the Foxtel Cup. Despite languishing quite low in the table, Fawkner will provide the South side with a genuinely tough opponent and boasts some experienced VPL campaigners that could tilt the game their way.

One of these players is Pasi Schwalger, who South fans will remember from his days with Green Gully, Preston and Heidelberg. Schwalger is a capable keeper at VPL level and relishes the chance to play against South, highlighted by his form whilst in between the sticks at Green Gully. The South strikers will need to be effective and take their opportunities well if they are to get past him.

Other players to watch will be experienced duo Ralph Napoli and Zia Younan, with the latter formerly one of the key players in the VPL a few years back when captaining the Preston Lions. His experience and leadership will be crucial if the Fawkner side are to take anything away from Bob Jane Stadium.

South Melbourne urges all fans to make their way to Bob Jane Stadium and get behind the side and new coach Michael Michalakopoulos, as the club looks to get a much-needed win against Fawkner. Kick-off is at 4pm.

South Melbourne FC vs Fawkner Blues

When: Sunday, April 20th
Where: Bob Jane Stadium
Kick-off: 4pm (Under 21s at 1.45pm)

Projected Starting line-ups

South Melbourne
Dean Anastasiadis (GK/C), Sam Poutakidis, Rama Tavsancioglou, Adam Van Dommele, Steven O’Dor, Shane Nunes, Tony La Verde, Bill Natsioulas, Gianni De Nittis, Fernando De Moraes, Ricky Diaco

Fawkner Blues
Pasi Schwalger (GK), Adam Zilic, Zia Younan, Clifford Tuck (C), Boris Masic, Jason Principato, Joseph Youssef, Fikret Husanovic, Yanni Galanos, Ben Cogger, Ralph Napoli

Head to head (Games since 2005)

Played : 6 (includes Fawkner-Whittlesea)
South Melbourne : 3
Fawkner Blues : 1
Draw : 2

Last Meeting

When: Friday, 10 August 2007
Where: Bob Jane Stadium
Score: South Melbourne 0 drew with Fawkner Blues 0

Form in 2008 (last 3 games)

South Melbourne: Win, Loss, Loss
Fawkner Blues Draw, Win, Draw

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