Thursday, 11 March 2010 3:38 PM
By John Kyrou
South Melbourne FC travels to John Cain Reserve on Saturday to face newly-promoted Northcote City, who have played well in their opening two matches without any points to show for it.
South were frustrated by the Bentleigh Greens in the 1-1 draw at Bob Jane Stadium last Sunday, where the home side could not hold onto their one-goal lead, despite a numerical advantage following the sending-off of George Goutzioulis. Despite this, there were promising signs by South in the second half of the match. Fernando De Moraes also made an impact as a substitute by scoring South’s goal from the penalty spot.
New signing Carl Recchia played in the Under 21s last week and is a chance to play against Northcote on Saturday. The signs are not as good for Joe Keenan, who looks very unlikely again due to appendicitis. This provides opportunities to De Moraes, Youssef and Sasha Vranesivic to put their hands up for a place in the starting eleven. All three players had an impact when they came on last week and coach Vaughan Coveny will no doubt have a few selection headaches, especially if Recchia is made available as well.
While South have opened the season with two draws, Northcote have opened with two defeats. However the northern suburbs club have been very unlucky in those two games, especially in the 2-1 loss to Oakleigh last week. Northcote coach Peter Tsolakis (a former championship player with South) has built a squad capable of holding their own in the VPL. Some familiar faces will be popping up on Saturday, with former South players Ahmet Turer and Nick Curtis now with Northcote, while James Kalifatidis (son of former South great Kris) will also be in the team. Another dangerous player for South defenders to watch for is Trent Rixon, who was one of the top goal scorers in State League One last season and was one of the reasons why Northcote won the League.
South has never faced Northcote in League competition but the two sides have met many times in Hellenic Cup competition. Northcote’s biggest win over South was the 1986 Cup final, when the State League side triumphed 3-1 over South, then of course a National League side. The most recent meeting between the two sides in the Cup was in this year’s Quarter Final that South won 3-0, with De Nittis netting twice and Keenan scoring the other goal.
Despite having created this small rivalry in the Cup, the two clubs share a very good relationship, with Northcote seen as a sister club to South. As a result of this, Northcote chose to have its first home match of the season against South to showcase its upgraded ground and to also celebrate its 50th year anniversary. South Melbourne FC congratulates Northcote City on reaching 50 years as a club and also for its double-promotion in the last two years, thus being able to celebrate its milestone by playing in the VPL.
The match kicks off at 3pm on Saturday at John Cain Reserve in Northcote. South Melbourne FC would love to see as many fans as possible at Northcote to see South try and win maximum points.