Monday, 26 May 2008 8:55 AM
By George Kouroumalis
For the second time this season, Heidelberg has come from behind and overcome arch rival South Melbourne by two goals to one.
The crowd braved the cold Bob Jane Stadium conditions to watch yet another installment of the traditional derby between the two clubs.
The Bergers arrived looking to win to leap over the top of the Oakleigh Cannons, whilst South were keen to get closer to the top six and were given the chance to after Altona dropped points the day before.
The game started off in quite a timid manner with the first real chance of the game falling in the 12th minute, when some lovely interplay on the halfway line by Fernando De Moraes and Sam Poutakidis culminated in the Brazilian hitting a speculative long range drive well wide of the target. South once again pushed forward in the 20th minute, with the same duo combining once again. On this occasion Fernando gathered possession just outside the area and with a huge hole appearing in front of him, hit a well-weighted through-ball into the path of the advancing Poutakidis. The veteran took a touch before sliding the ball past the helpless Peter Gavalas to give the home side the early advantage.
Heidelberg responded to the early setback almost immediately. A well constructed foray forward was ended after a hopeful long range shot by Josip Kozic saw the ball fly inches wide of the bar. The Warriors continued to push forward at every opportunity and in the 32nd minute Graham Hockless found himself open just outside the area. After taking the initial touch, Hockless progressed into the area before hitting a ball onto the target. A superb fingertip save by stand-in keeper Nik Jelic denied the speedy Berger attacker and quietened the small pocket of away supporters who thought the ball was destined for the back of the net.
Hockless was causing problems to the South defence with his pace and runs into the area. These problems were highlighted once again in the 46th minute, when he found himself in metres of space inside the area. This time Hockless scored as he picked his spot calmly and pushed the ball past the unlucky Jelic at the near post to ensure that the away side was on equal terms at the break.
The second half started in a similar manner to that of the first, with both sides not really creating many clear-cut opportunities.
In the 57th minute, a superb save by Gavalas denied South and Nathan Caldwell the go-ahead goal. In this passage of a play, a high speculative cross by Fernando was met by Caldwell in the air. With the ball seemingly goal-bound, a superb full stretch save by the young Bergers custodian denied the Blues. Heidelberg also continued to try and find the net and yet another first-time shot by Josip Kozic gave the Berger fans some excitement. However he missed the target, with the shot finding the side netting on this occasion.
However for the travelling fans and Kozic himself, the anguish for the earlier miss turned into jubilation in the 82nd minute. Poor marking by the South side allowed for an innocuous ball in from the left hand side to find a loose Kozic on the back post. With just Jelic to beat, Kozic fired a shot in at the near post to give his side the lead and ultimately the three points.
Despite the frantic efforts of the South side in the final minutes, the home team could not manage another serious goal-scoring chance, ensuring that the Warriors claimed derby victory for the second time this season and for the first time ever at Bob Jane Stadium.