South Melbourne FC

The Blue and White Forever

Match Preview: SMFC v Oakleigh Cannons

Match Preview: SMFC v Oakleigh Cannons

Thursday, 30 April 2009 6:47 PM

By John Kyrou | Photo by Paul Touliatos

South Melbourne FC hosts the Oakleigh Cannons on Sunday in a crucial match for both sides. A win will consolidate South’s position in the top two while a win for the Cannons will get their season back on track whilst easing the pressure on former South championship player and coach John Anastasiadis.

After two home defeats in the opening two rounds of the season, South has hit back in fine style, registering five wins and a draw to sit in second spot on the league table. Last weekend, South defeated Hume City 2-1 away at Broadmeadows Valley Park to win the inaugural ANZAC Day Cup between the two sides. By opening the scoring for the afternoon, veteran and club legend Vaughan Coveny celebrated his 100th league goal for the club, making him only the second South player behind Paul Trimboli (115 league goals) to achieve the milestone.

While South enters the match on the back of excellent and consistent form, Oakleigh will visit Bob Jane Stadium after a run of inconsistent results. The Cannons began the season with a fine 4-1 demolition of Heidelberg but have only registered two wins since. A Michael Curcija goal handed the Cannons a 1-0 loss at Altona last weekend, meaning the club remained in eighth spot in the league and four points from the top 5. With the first round of matches for the season nearly complete, the Cannons will be after a big win on Sunday to bridge the gap between it and the top 5 sides.

If previous matches between the two clubs at Lakeside are anything to go by, Sunday’s contest will produce a result. Since South returned to the VPL in 2005, both sides have enjoyed two wins apiece at the ground with no draws between them. Oakleigh won 0-1 both in 2005 and 2006 while South hammered the Cannons 5-2 in 2007 and 3-1 in 2008. South’s last three goals against the Cannons in the 5-2 win (78’, 84’, 86’) registered as the fifth quickest goal haul at South since 1977.

The match will mark the return of recent South players in Trent Waterson, Robbie Wynne and Ricky Diaco. South legend Dean Anastasiadis looks set to continue as the Cannons’ second-choice goalkeeper behind first-choice Adrian Cagalj, while former South man Bill Damianos looks set to miss the contest after receiving his marching orders at Altona. Diaco will need to be monitored carefully as he has scored in all the games that the Cannons have won in 2009 (four goals from three matches).

South’s forward pairing of Coveny and Goran Zoric has been impressive, with a return of nine goals between them so far this season. With 19 goals from eight games, South is the highest scoring team in the league despite being held goalless in the opening two matches. The home side will be hoping that Coveny can edge closer to breaking Trimboli’s club record, while Zoric can continue as the top scorer in the league. Presently, the youngster is equal first with Heidelberg’s Osagie Ederaro with six goals apiece.

The match kicks off at 4pm on Sunday at Bob Jane Stadium. Supporters are strongly encouraged to attend and lend their support to South as it seeks to claim outright second spot in the league. 2009 merchandise will also be available.

On a side note, the South Melbourne FC players, coaching staff, administration, volunteers and supporters would like to pass on its best wishes to former player Sam Poutakidis, who was involved in a bicycle riding accident last week and is currently in hospital recovering. Poutakidis played for South in 2003/04 and 2008 and for Oakleigh from 2005 to 2007.

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