Monday, 25 August 2008 7:35 AM
South Melbourne finished a disappointing season on a high, with the Blues defeating bottom-placed Frankston 3-1 in a scrappy contest on Sunday.
South came into the game on the back of the disappointment of missing the finals for the second consecutive year.
Frankston on the other hand had already been condemned to the foot of the table, with the Pines certain of being relegated from the Foxtel Cup.
The first 30 minutes started off in a timid manner, with both clubs playing some scrappy and uninspiring football with no genuine goal-scoring chance being created by anyone.
This all changed in the 31st minute when some exceptional work by Nathan Caldwell culminated in the South Melbourne striker playing a sublime through ball into the path of Scott MacNicol. The former Oakleigh midfielder took a touch and hit the golden chance just over the bar and out for a goal kick.
South had one final chance for the half in the 43rd minute, when yet another long range effort by MacNicol was hit on target. However, home goalkeeper Peter Zois was able to get down quickly and calmly capture MacNicol’s powerful shot.
With a poor first half behind them, Frankston came out on the front foot in the second half when a lovely cross from the left hand flank found the head of the well-positioned Craig Metcalfe. With only the keeper to beat, Metcalfe headed the golden chance over the bar.
South responded almost immediately and was once again denied by goalkeeper Zois in the 52nd minute. On this occasion a well constructed move forward concluded by an exceptional ball by Shane Nunes finding the speedy Goran Zoric.
With the defence remaining uncommitted, Zoric hit a low shot from just outside the area onto the target. Thankfully for the home side Zois produced a sublime save, acrobatically diving to his right and turning the ball around the post.
However it was Frankston who would hit the lead in the 65th minute through an amazing left footed strike by youngster Craig Smart. With the defence able to clear the ball from a Frankston corner, Smart was able to regain possession just outside the area, before hitting a perfectly timed and unstoppable volley into the top left hand corner of the net to give his side an unlikely lead.
The goal sparked South Melbourne into action and the Blues faithful only had to wait three minutes to be back on level terms.
A great run by Scott MacNicol down the right hand flank ended with the midfielder playing a square ball across the area into the path of Fernando. With no defender around the Brazilian maestro, Fernando slammed the ball into the back of the net.
South should have had the lead only a minute later when a stagnant piece of defending allowed for a long Scott MacNicol ball to find Fernando just inside the area. With the keeper to beat, Fernando opted to play the ball across to the open Goran Zoric on the penalty spot.
With the entire goal to aim at, Zoric made a meal of the opportunity, scuffing a timid shot that went out for a goal kick.
Thankfully for Zoric and the traveling fans, Fernando gave South the lead five minutes later. A fantastic solo run past three Frankston defenders saw the Futsalroos representative surge his way into the area before slamming the ball into the back of the net once again.
South continued to run rampant in the final twenty minutes and through Zoric once again missed a golden chance in the 81st minute. With the youngster able to turn the defence inside out, he was then able to superbly round goalkeeper Peter Zois, before aiming yet another timid shot towards the target. In what amazed the traveling fans, the shot did not make the distance from six yards out, with Zois able to push back and pick the ball up off the goal line in a remarkable passage of play.
The Blues however managed to grab a third goal with only a few minutes left on the clock after Zois parried a long range Hamlet Armenian shot into the path of Gianni De Nittis just inside the six yard box. With no-one in front of him, De Nittis calmly slotted the ball over the goal line to give South all three points.