Friday, 19 March 2010 9:24 AM
By John Kyrou
South Melbourne FC welcomes Green Gully to Bob Jane Stadium this Sunday in a match where the home side requires maximum points to kick-start the 2010 Victorian Premier League campaign.
Both sides enter the match on three points, with South having drawn all three of their matches thus far, whilst Gully has one win from three games. Last Saturday, South fought back from a 3-1 halftime deficit to draw 3-3 with Northcote City, whilst on the same day Gully lost for the second time at home in 2010 when it went down 2-1 against Oakleigh. Gully currently lie sixth in the League standings with South in seventh, so a positive result on Sunday is imperative for both sides to jump even higher up the ladder.
Whilst Gully have lost twice already in 2010, their only win has come from an away game. In 2009, the two matches between South and Gully saw a 2-2 draw at Green Gully Reserve and a 1-1 draw at Bob Jane Stadium, so the two sides cannot be separated in recent League meetings. Despite going into the match in more consistent form than their opponents, South cannot afford to take Gully lightly, as the Cavaliers have constantly frustrated South since the Blues returned to the Victorian Premier League in 2005.
South and Gully have competed in League and Cup battles over the last 30 years. The first match played between the sides was in the old Victorian League Cup, when a Branko Buljevic goal was enough to give South a 1-0 victory over Gully in the First Round of that competition. The first meeting in the National Soccer League saw a Doug Brown double secure a 0-2 win for South at Green Gully Reserve. South enjoyed a perfect record against Gully in the NSL (6 wins from 6), whereas in the VPL Gully has had the upper hand. Since 2005, Gully has 5 wins and 4 draws against South, who has only beaten Gully twice in that time.
South will be hoping that James Stefanou can rejoin the back four on Saturday, after the young defender missed the Northcote match through injury. The return of Carl Recchia last week was a bonus, along with the excellent form of Fernando De Moraes, Daniel Vasilevski and goalkeeper Peter Zois. Substitutes Joseph Youssef, Sasha Vranesivic and Sebastian Petrovic all excelled against Northcote last week, with all no doubt giving coach Vaughan Coveny plenty of headaches at the selection panel this week.
The match kicks off at 5pm on Sunday. All South supporters are encouraged to attend and buy a membership if they have not done so already.