Monday, 19 April 2010 12:00 AM
By John Kyrou
South Melbourne FC has survived a late charge by the Melbourne Knights to earn a valuable 1-0 win at Somers Street. The winning goal was scored by Joey Keenan midway through the first half.
Both sides entered the game in good form. The Knights had registered an away victory against second-placed Oakleigh last week, whilst South scored a late goal against Heidelberg to keep its unbeaten start to 2010 intact. South started the match the stronger of the two sides, with an attacking structure of Keenan, De Nittis and De Moraes, who was returning to the starting line-up following some excellent contributions off the bench in recent weeks.
Keenan should have opened the scoring after 25 minutes but instead blasted his shot over the bar. However he made up for it two minutes later when he received the ball on the right side of the penalty box and darted past his Knights marker before firing a curling effort across Knights keeper Antony Loncaric’s goal and into the far corner of the net. South had further chances to double their lead in the first half but were content to go into halftime with the one goal advantage.
South should have wrapped the game up in the opening minutes of the second half. A poor back-pass from the Knights defender fell to De Nittis, who fed De Moraes through to be one-on-one with Loncaric. De Moraes managed to chip the ball over the advancing custodian but could not beat the near post as the ball went out for a goal kick. South then won the ball in midfield and a series of excellent passes led to the ball being squared across the area to Daniel Vasilevski with just the goalkeeper to beat. Vasilevski blasted his shot over the bar instead of the back of the net.
A game that could have been 3-0 for the away side may very well have been 1-1 moments later, as the Knights missed two great opportunities to level the scores. Firstly, a long ball played from defence eluded the South defenders, which forced goalkeeper Peter Zois to come off his line to clear the danger, but a Knights forward got to the ball first and lobbed it over the South custodian. Luckily for the away side the ball was over-hit and flew over the crossbar for a goal kick.
The second chance was a miss from less than one metre out, which had the home crowd in disbelief that their side was not on level terms. The final whistle was a welcome relief for the away side, who registered their first victory at Somers Street since 2007.
South faces another away trip next week, when it travels to Broadmeadows Valley Reserve to face high-flying Hume City in the ANZAC Day clash. Kick-off is at 3pm next Sunday.
FINAL SCORE: MELBOURNE KNIGHTS 0-1 SOUTH MELBOURNE (HT: 0-1)
Antony Loncaric, Ben Surey, Anthony Bran, Daniel Rocco, Liam Cannell (Gazmend Ajdinl 65’), Josip Magdic, Kevin Townson, Adrian Zahra (Joseph Franjic 88’), Thomas Skara, Jean Dubois, Jacob Colosimo (Anthony Colosimo 65’)
Peter Zois, Steve O’Dor, Eddie Cetkin, Rama Tavsancioglu, Sam Torrens (Marinos Gasparis 77’), Daniel Vasilevski, Carl Recchia, Fernando De Moraes (Joseph Youssef 72’), Sebastian Petrovic, Gianni De Nittis (Yusuf Yusuf 86’), Joe Keenan
(Scorer: Joe Keenan 27′)
SMFC Man of the Match: Joe Keenan
Venue: Knights Stadium
Date: Sunday 18th April 2010