Thursday, 22 May 2008 12:05 PM
By John Kyrou
As part of the lead-up to the derby match against Heidelberg United on Sunday afternoon at Bob Jane Stadium, this week’s segment will focus on the corresponding fixture back in 1991.
South Melbourne started the 1991/92 National Soccer League season in fine form. The Blues defeated Preston 5-1 at Middle Park in the opening round and registered only one loss in the first six rounds. South were keen to continue this excellent form heading into round 7 when they met Heidelberg at Middle Park in the traditional derby match. The Bergers had experienced an inconsistent start to the season, having won twice, drawn once and lost on the other three occasions.
In the previous season, South won the bragging rights after grinding out a 2-2 draw at the Olympic Village in round 12 before defeating the Bergers 2-1 at Middle Park in the last round of the season. However form and previous results meant nothing as both teams were always going to lift for the first derby showdown of the 1991/92 season.
A very pro-South crowd of 12,459 turned up to Middle Park to witness the latest installment in the South-Heidelberg rivalry. South had planned to give new signing Robert Csabai his debut match for the home side against the Bergers, however the Canadian international was a very late withdrawal. Nevertheless, the home side was confident of a win, as were the supporters. However it was the Bergers who got off to the better start, with Paul Lewis, Phil Stubbins and Brian MacNicol all forcing excellent saves from South goalkeeper Bruce MacLaren. It was somewhat hilarious then that South took the lead against the run of play. A far-distance Peter Tsolakis shot was deflected into the net by Paul Trimboli, leaving Jeff Olver stranded in the Heidelberg goal.
Although the Bergers had gone a goal down, they kept pressing forward in numbers and only luck and excellent defending prevented them from leveling the match. Derek Hunter was put through one-on-one with MacLaren but his chip shot hit the crossbar and back into play, where another shot was fired past MacLaren but not legendary South defender Mehmet Durakovic, who cleared the ball off the line and out to safety. MacLaren was then called into action again and pulled off two fantastic saves to deny two more Goutzioulis long-range efforts on goal. The Bergers were then left to wonder what they had to do to get past both MacLaren and Durakovic, when a powerful header from a corner was not cleared properly by the South custodian and therefore needed yet another clearance off the line by Durakovic to save the day.
Although South had been under enormous pressure, the Blues survived the challenge and slowly began getting on top of the away side. The home side nearly doubled their lead when Danny Wright evaded a challenge on the left side and sent in a cross that Con Boutsianis got on the end of. Boutsianis’ lob of Olver saw the big Bergers custodian stick a hand out and superbly deny the Blues a second goal. With the exception of the goal that he could not prevent, Olver had experienced a relatively quiet first half but that was to change after halftime.
South started the second half with the full intention of killing the game off as a contest and did so via the penalty spot. Boutsianis was expertly set free on the left side from Paul Trimboli’s flick-on. Boutsianis’ low cross into the area saw a handball on the goal line by Doug Hodgson, who was subsequently sent off by referee John Fraser. Mike Petersen put away the spot-kick with a calm chip straight down the middle of the goal, with Olver diving to his left and being nowhere near the ball. This was the deciding point in the derby and the Bergers were set to experience a miserable end to the match.
Kimon Taliadoros made absolutely certain that the home side would get the two points when he gleefully accepted a brilliant lobbed through-ball by Petersen and beat his marker before slotting the ball past Olver for the third goal of the afternoon. Trimboli then looked to have earned the Blues their second penalty of the afternoon when he was blatantly brought down in the area by Chris Iliopoulos, but referee Fraser waved away the appeals and the Bergers breathed a sigh of relief. The away side got out of jail twice more, firstly when Taliadoros’ shot on goal beat Olver but not the far post and secondly when Trimboli’s overhead kick was well saved by Olver.
However with an extra man and a commanding lead, a fourth goal was always on the cards and Boutsianis finally scored after being set through one-on-one with Olver. Boutsianis completed his double and a miserable afternoon for the Bergers when he was the first to a cross from the left and headed home at the near post for South’s fifth and final goal for the afternoon. Although Heidelberg had started the game well, they were no match for their bigger rivals and left Middle Park with eggs on their faces and a massive blow to their goal difference.
South continued on their good form the following week, defeating Melbourne Croatia 0-1 at Somers Street in the Grand Final rematch. This proved that the Blues were destined for a high finish on the table, which they achieved in finishing 3rd. In contrast, Heidelberg’s miserable form continued with a 0-1 loss against Preston at the Olympic Village. Things did not get much better for the Bergers as they finished the season in 9th place, missing the top five by two games.
Round 7, 1991/92
Sunday, November 17, 1991
Venue: Middle Park
Referee: John Fraser
SOUTH MELBOURNE 5-0 HEIDELBERG UNITED
(Boutsianis x2, Trimboli, Petersen, Taliadoros)
Bruce MacLaren, David Healy, Mehmet Durakovic, Paul Fernandes, Paul Wade, Peter Tsolakis, Mike Petersen, Angie Postecoglou, Paul Trimboli, Kimon Taliadoros, Danny Wright
Subs: Con Boutsianis, Michael Michalakopoulos
Coach: Ferenc Puskas
Jeff Olver, Gary Brattan, Paul Lewis, Doug Hodgson, Chris Iliopoulos, Nick Van Egmond, Brian MacNicol, Troy Cranney, Angie Goutzioulis, Derek Hunter, Phil Stubbins
Subs: George Michalidis, Terry Rizopoulos
Coach: Gary Cole