Tuesday, 10 March 2009 12:50 PM
Photo by Cindy Nitsos
Heidelberg United has bounced back after their first round defeat by Oakleigh to claim an important derby win against their old foe South Melbourne at Bob Jane Stadium on Sunday.
With both teams coming into the contest on the back of uninspiring performances in round one, they were intent on getting their season back on track in front of a healthy derby day crowd.
The game started in typical derby fashion, with hard tackles flying in from all angles and some scrappy foootball being played, with no real team gaining any ascendency whatsoever.
Once the game settled, Heidelberg had the first opportunity on goal with Marinos Gasparis connecting with an innocuous ball forward to loop a header on target.
In what would have been a regulation catch for goalkeeper Tommi Tomich, it appeared that the sun glare caught the custodian off guard, with the ball somehow striking the upright before it was cleared by the South defence.
The away side continued to press forward after this and had half chances from Tony Ouliaris and Graham Hockless fly wide of the target without testing Tomich at all.
South replied late in the half through veteran Vaughan Coveny, who skimmed past the stagnant Heidelberg defence, before hitting a low and hard shot on his left foot towards the target.
The ball which was destined for the bottom corner was somehow deflected into the upright by goalkeeper Peter Gavalas before going out for a corner.
Heidelberg started the second half strongly and more determined in the early stages to score a goal.
On the right hand side, new signing Osagie Ederaro was causing the South defence havoc at every opportunity, by continually running at the defenders at speed and also having the confidence to shoot from any angle and distance.
With South on the backfoot, captain and hard working defender Rama Tavsancioglu was booked for a robust challenge. This was to be his second yellow of the evening, meaning that South would play the remaining 20 minutes of the game with 10 men.
For this time, Heidelberg dominated possession and squandered numerous half chances through veterans Eric Vassiliadis and substitute Bobby Petta.
However it was the Bergers who would get the only goal of the tight contest in the 84th minute, when the South defence did not close the oncoming Ederaro before he managed to sensationally lob Tomich from just outside the area to send the small contingent of travelling fans into raptures.
South will need to regroup before its tough away trip to Preston next Sunday at BT Connor Reserve, knowing that nothing short of a win is needed.
To view extended game highlights, please visit www.smfc.tv