Sunday, 19 April 2009 12:14 PM
South Melbourne have scored a last-gasp equaliser to earn a hard-fought draw against Green Gully on Saturday.
The Blues came into the contest on the back of four straight victories. In contrast, Gully were looking to rebound following their 2-1 loss to Altona Magic at Paisley Park two weeks ago.
The home side went into the contest looking to use their home ground to maximum advantage, having not conceded a goal at Green Gully Reserve in 2009. South faced a difficult task having not scored at the venue since Round 20 of the 1986 NSL season.
The away side came out of the blocks firing, with Vaughan Coveny hitting two half-chances wide of the target, signaling the intentions of the veteran forward and the away side.
South continued to control play in the middle of the park and through a fiercely won ball by their 100th game veteran Rama Tavsancioglu, were able to launch another attack towards goal. On this occasion, Rama played the ball wide to Zoric on the right hand side of the area, before the diminutive attacking player hit a speculative effort into the arms of Steven Tilovski in the Gully goal.
In response Green Gully launched a very fluent attack, with Andy Vargas darting past the South defence before squaring the ball into the path of Kole Delev just inside the area. Delev then hit a low shot just wide of the target.
It was South that opened the scoring, when Sebastian Petrovic was brought down in the area. Fernando De Moraes rushed to the spot and buried the penalty to his left hand side to give the away side a deserved lead and their first goal at Green Gully Reserve in 23 years.
In typical fashion, Green Gully responded to the goal almost immediately with a speculative shot by Vargas once again flashing past the upright of South keeper Tommi Tomich. Gully continued to pressure the South defence and nearly grabbed an equalising goal when a poorly cleared ball fell into the path of Delev in the area once more. With the goal beckoning, Delev’s shot deflected off the South defence for a corner. From the resultant corner, the ball flew into the back post where the wide-open Mile Medjedovic headed the ball across the six yard area, resulting in a scrap. After two attempts, Delev slammed the ball into the roof of the net to get his side on equal terms.
South started the second half well and almost had the go-ahead goal in the 51st minute, when Vaughan Coveny intercepted a loose ball just outside the area. Unselfishly, Coveny then played the ball to Fernando, who after a touch and a step-over opted to launch a curling shot at goal from the corner of the penalty box. Frustratingly for both Fernando and the strong traveling faithful, the ball flew well over the bar.
Coveny continued to cause headaches for the Gully defence and in the 58th minute he stormed down the left hand side of attack and past a host of defenders before hitting a low shot that forced a tremendous save from Tilovski, keeping the home side level.
In the 75th minute, Gully launched an attack towards the goal, with a high ball floated into the six yard area. Despite Tomich looking like he had possession covered, the ball ended up in the back of the net after Joel Nikolic made contact to the arm of the big custodian in an attempt to foil him from catching the ball. This was not spotted by the referee who awarded the goal much to the disapproval of the away team and supporters.
With time ticking away and South throwing more players forward, Tomich made a low save to keep his side in the contest, thwarting a shot from Pablo Cardozo. This save proved important as South managed to snare a draw in the last minute of injury time, when Coveny set up the open Gianni De Nittis who smashed the ball low and hard into the back of the net to send the away contingent into raptures.