Monday, 10 May 2010 12:30 PM
By John Kyrou (Photo by Cindy Nitsos)
South Melbourne FC suffered a second consecutive defeat with a 2-1 loss against the Oakleigh Cannons at Kingston Heath Soccer Complex on Saturday afternoon. Despite starting strongly and going a goal ahead, South could not hold on and was overrun by the Cannons, who by winning the three points return back to the top of the League table.
Both sides entered the match in the top four but having lost in the previous round and as a result the three points were crucial. South were dealt a double blow with the withdrawals of Gianni De Nittis and Daniel Vasilevski through injury prior to the game, but welcomed Rhodri Payne and Marinos Gasparis back into the side whilst Joseph Youssef returned to the starting eleven to replace De Nittis.
South started the match strongly and created several good chances early to take the lead. A very tight offside call against Fernando De Moraes was quickly forgotten when the Futsalroo opened the scoring in the 14th minute. A ball played through to De Moraes put him one-on-one with Oakleigh goalkeeper Griffin McMaster. De Moraes almost succeeded in rounding him but the goalkeeper did well to push the ball away from the goals. However De Moraes won the ball back and slipped a shot past McMaster and into the net.
South enjoyed a period of dominance but were unable to increase the one goal lead. McMaster denied South a second goal with an outstanding save from a Payne shot that was heading for the bottom corner of the net and that had gone through a sea of legs. At the other end, South goalkeeper Peter Zois upheld his reputation as one of the League’s best goalkeepers with some outstanding saves, including tipping a fierce Jerry Karpeh shot over his near post.
Oakleigh slowly eased their way into the game and despite Zois’ heroics managed to equalise just before halftime. A corner to the near post was flicked to the back post where an unmarked John Fitzgerald headed home to bring the scores to 1-1. The away side then scored the winning goal just after the break, again from a header from a set piece. This time Nick Kalmar was on hand to score.
South enjoyed a healthy amount of possession for the rest of the game but seemed a shadow of the creative and attacking side that it had been in the first half. South’s best chance to level the game came from Payne, who was put through one-on-one with McMaster on the left side of the area. Unfortunately for the home side, Payne’s end product seemed to be a mixture of a half-cross, half-shot that failed to test the keeper and leave the team still trailing 2-1.
Oakleigh had their dangerous moments as well, with the away side intent on scoring a third to ensure the three points. However Zois again stood firm in the goal, making a series of remarkable saves that kept South in the contest. Unfortunately for Zois, failure by his teammates to score at the other end meant a second consecutive defeat for the home team.
Next Sunday, South Melbourne FC hosts Sunshine George Cross at Northcote City’s John Cain Memorial Reserve.
FINAL SCORE: SOUTH MELBOURNE FC 1-2 OAKLEIGH CANNONS (HT: 1-1)
Peter Zois, Rhodri Payne, Steve O’Dor, Eddie Cetkin, Joe Keenan, Carl Recchia, Joseph Youssef, Rama Tavsancioglu, Fernando De Moraes, Marinos Gasparis (Sasha Vranesevic 70′), Sebastian Petrovic
(Scorer: Fernando De Moraes 14′)
Griffin McMaster, Jamie Cumming, John Fitzgerald, Stelios Drakos, Bill Damianos, Jerry Karpeh, Cameron Watson, Michael Curcija, Aristidis Drakos, Nick Kalmar (Bonnel Obradovic 72′), Scott Webster (Ljuban Palinic 84′)
(Scorers: John Fitzgerald 40′, Nick Kalmar 54′)
SMFC Man of the Match: Peter Zois
Venue: Kingston Heath Soccer Complex
Date: Saturday 8th May 2010