Monday, 29 March 2010 12:10 AM
By John Kyrou (Photo by Cindy Nitsos)
Two second-half goals saw South Melbourne FC overcome the Dandenong Thunder at George Andrews Reserve on Saturday night. The 0-2 result gave South its first clean sheet of the season and ensures that the side is undefeated in the Victorian Premier League in 2010.
Leading goal scorer Fernando De Moraes sustained an injury at training during the week and began the match on the bench as Sam Torrens took his place in the side. Despite suffering minor knocks in the previous match, Carl Recchia, Marinos Gasparis and James Stefanou were all able to take their places in the starting eleven.
In the first half, South dominated possession but could not convert on the scoreboard despite creating excellent chances, as Dandenong goalkeeper Stuart Webster made some excellent saves to deny the away side. South’s injury list grew midway through the half when centre back Steve O’Dor hobbled off with a hamstring injury. Shortly after, the Thunder almost took the lead when a shot from Joey Di Iorio hit the side netting at the near post instead of the back of the net.
In the second half, South continued to dominate possession. Carl Recchia and Daniel Vasilevski took complete control of the midfield battle, whilst captain Rama Tavsancioglu did an excellent job of keeping Hamlet Armenian quiet on the right side. The persistence finally paid off in the 53rd minute when a stinging Recchia shot could only be parried by Webster into the path of Gasparis, who scored at the near post to open the scoring as well as register his first goal for South Melbourne FC.
The goal suddenly stung the home side into action, with Dandenong having their best period of possession for the match in the fifteen minutes following the goal. In that time, the Thunder was extremely unfortunate not to equalise, first with an unmarked Di Iorio putting his header wide of Peter Zois’ goal before Scott Bulloch put his half-volley over the bar a minute later. The home supporters began to sing as the home side began to get themselves back into the match.
Despite these scares, South managed to comfortably defend its lead. Fernando De Moraes and Sasha Vranesevic both came on to support Gianni De Nittis up front, as Vasilevski and Torrens went off. De Moraes supplied De Nittis with a through-ball but Webster was there to deny South yet again and keep the score unchanged at 0-1.
De Nittis had done an excellent job up forward all night and he was finally rewarded with his first goal of 2010 deep into injury time. A swift counter-attack ended with Vranesevic cutting the ball back across goals for De Nittis to tap in at the far post to secure South’s second win in succession as well as the club’s first clean sheet of the season.
After the Easter break, South Melbourne FC hosts Heidelberg United in the final match at Bob Jane Stadium before the multi-million dollar renovations on the ground commence. With the two sides being arch rivals for over 50 years, the match promises to be an exciting contest in front of a large crowd.
South Melbourne FC wishes all football supporters a happy Easter for next weekend and looks forward to seeing everyone at Bob Jane Stadium in two weeks time for the traditional derby against Heidelberg. Kick-off is at 3pm on Sunday April 11.
FINAL SCORE: DANDENONG THUNDER 0-2 SOUTH MELBOURNE (HT: 0-0)
Stuart Webster, Hamlet Armenian, Jeffrey Bright, Ryan Davidson, Joey Di Iorio, Shane Rexhepi, Noel Bahnsen, Afrim Avdulai (Veton Korcarevski 60’), Levent Osman, Marcus Stergiopoulos, Scott Bulloch
Peter Zois, Stiven Mrkela, Sam Torrens (Sasha Vranesevic 79’), Sebastian Petrovic, Rama Tavsancioglu, Steve O’Dor (Eddie Cetkin 32’), Daniel Vasilevski (Fernando De Moraes 76’), Carl Recchia, Gianni De Nittis, James Stefanou, Marinos Gasparis
(Scorers: Marinos Gasparis 53’, Gianni De Nittis 93’)
SMFC Man of the Match: Carl Recchia
Venue: George Andrews Reserve
Date: Saturday 27th March 2010