Tuesday, 29 April 2008 11:00 AM
By George Kouroumalis
South Melbourne left Paisley Park without any points for the fourth consecutive season, after a horrendous defensive error by Shane Nunes gave Altona Magic a 1-0 home victory on Monday night.
Both teams had come off solid and impressive wins in the previous round and were looking to add to their good form at the blustery, cold and wet Paisley Park, which provided the setting for the round 10 contest. However the game itself never reached any great heights, much to the disappointment of the fans who braved the conditions to watch the match.
The first chance of the game came in the 17th minute, when a nice run through the middle by Carl Recchia culminated in the midfielder hitting a long range drive into the arms of Dean Anastasiadis in the South Melbourne goal.
South sprung to life in the 22nd minute, when a darting run by Goran Zoric saw the speedy winger push the ball past a host of defenders before opting to hit a strong drive from just inside the area onto the target. His timid shot was calmly collected by Magic goal keeper Bojo Jedjevic.
Jevdjevic was again called into action only two minutes later. Once again the Altona defence failed to track Zoric’s run into the area, with the diminutive midfielder once again squandering a great opportunity by hitting yet another timid shot into the arms of the experienced Altona custodian.
South continued to push forward looking for the opening goal and a speculative long range effort in the 42nd minute by Ricky Diaco almost found the net for the away side. With Jedjevic beaten, the 20-yard drive struck the upright to the dismay of both Diaco and the frustrated South Melbourne contingent on the outer wing.
South came out in the second half continuing to attack. A lovely ball by Fernando saw the ball find Diaco, who only had the keeper to beat. Diaco paused momentarily, which gave the Altona defence enough time to pounce and get in the way of the shot and force the ball out for a corner.
Against the run of play, Altona hit the lead only moments later after a sweeping counter attack culminated in the ball finding Fa’arodo on the right hand flank. The elusive attacker cleanly passed the stagnant Adam Van Dommele before hitting a low goal-bound drive that was cleared by Anastasiadis. Fa’arodo reclaimed possession and then hit a dangerous ball across goal, where the ball was turned into the back of the net by Nunes.
With South a goal down, Altona went in for the kill and a long range effort by Michael Curcija swerved just past the outside of the post and out for a goal kick.
With time ticking away, South pushed more numbers forward, including throwing centre back Steven O’Dor up front as a big target man. The move nearly paid off in the 81st minute, when O’Dor climbed above all around him and cushioned a header into the path of Rama Tavsancioglu. With the ball sitting nicely, Rama’s 20 yard shot flew inches wide of the upright.
South had one final chance in the 88th minute, when substitute Hamlet Armenian weaved his way past three Altona defenders outside the area before finding himself open with the entire goal face to aim at. However like Diaco earlier, Armenian stalled his shot, which allowed the Altona defence to get in the way of the shot and once again thwart the South attack.
The win sees Altona consolidate a top six position on eighteen points, whilst South continues to languish in the lower areas of the table, having acquired only three wins from the first ten rounds.