Monday, 10 August 2009 10:48 AM
By John Kyrou
South Melbourne FC has continued its miserable record at Paisley Park by going down 3-0 to the Altona Magic on Saturday evening and in the process putting its finals aspirations at severe risk.In a match of very little highlights from both sides, two defensive errors and a wicked deflection proved the difference.
South travelled to Paisley Park knowing that a win would almost certainly confirm a top three position in the league. However this was to be difficult as Altona had won all four previous encounters between the two sides at Paisley Park since South joined the Victorian Premier League in 2005. The Magic was keen to continue this record as they themselves were looking to secure a top three finish.
The match itself was scrappy with few highlights. Altona opened the scoring in the nineteenth minute when non-existent marking from a throw-in saw a free turn and shot fall for Carl Recchia to tap the ball past a dumbfounded Tommi Tomich in the South goal. Just before halftime South should have been two goals behind but Tomich managed to block a shot at his near post from an unmarked Altona player.
South should have started the second half with all guns blazing to try and get back on level terms; instead within a minute it had shot itself in the foot by conceding a ridiculous goal. From a back-pass, Tomich terribly mis-hit the ball. His poor clearance fell to Pece Siveski unmarked just outside the area. Siveski simply picked his spot and buried the ball past Tomich to effectively kill the game off as a contest.
Vaughan Coveny had been kept ineffective all match but he had an opportunity from a set-piece to give the away side a lifeline. Unfortunately for the veteran forward, he could not keep his header underneath the crossbar. South lifted slightly but did not create any real chances, though Sam Torrens was a shining light when he was subbed on and his good work will stake a claim for him to start in next week’s match.
The miserable night was confirmed twenty minutes from time when a quick left-footed shot from outside the area deflected off Steven O’Dor and over a hapless Tomich for the final goal of the evening. To add further insult to injury, substitute Altona goalkeeper Nikola Roganovic pulled off a good save to deny Joseph Youssef from pulling back a consolation goal for the visitors after he was through one-on-one.
Altona are now in prime position to finish second and are almost certainly confirmed to finish in the top three. On the other hand, South are currently in fourth but will slip to fifth if Green Gully defeats Oakleigh in the round’s final fixture.
South must beat Sunshine George Cross in the final round next weekend to confirm a finals spot; anything less will see the Blues nervously relying on other results to see if they can make the finals for the first time in three seasons.