Sunday, 8 August 2010 12:40 PM
By Paul Mavroudis (with thanks to Andrew Ongkodjojo and John Diegan)
South Melbourne FC has kept its slim finals chances alive with a 1-0 win away to Oakleigh Cannons on Friday night. In wet conditions, Fernando De Moraes’ first half goal saw the visitors take all three points from Jack Edwards Reserve for the first time since 2005, and handed the out-of-form Cannons their seventh loss in eight matches.
South settled down quickly, and set up several chances in the opening minutes. Joe Keenan on the left and De Moraes on the right in particular were repeatedly beating their opponents one on one, and sent several crosses into the area. Gianni De Nittis had South’s first guilt edge chance, when he ran on to a through ball by De Moraes, rounded the keeper, but ended up being unable to keep the ball in play. Soon after Keenan fired just wide from a free kick. Rama Tavsancioglu ran on to another through ball, this time by Marinos Gasparis, but Oakleigh goalkeeper Griffin McMaster was able to smother the ball. Further dead ball situations had McMaster stopping long range shots and being forced to punch or tip the ball to safety.
Eventually South’s good work paid off in the 30th minute, when De Moraes, finding himself in metres of space on the right hand side after a through ball by defender Eddie Cetkin, slotted a low shot past McMaster to give South the lead. The goal gave De Moraes his 11th League goal for 2010 and put him into outright ninth place on South Melbourne’s all-time leading League goal scorers list with 46 goals, having overtaken Kimon Taliadoros’ 45 goal tally.
Oakleigh’s first half attacks were mostly reliant on South’s occasional midfield errors and on rapid counter attacks on the wings. For the most part South’s defence was able to thwart the home side’s advances without too much difficulty, with only Ricky Diaco’s aerial prowess getting the ball through to Peter Zois. The home side’s best chances in the first half came from ex-South winger Yusuf Yusuf, who sprayed his shot wide after his teammates had provided some neat build-up play. As the half wore on, a passage of play started by a Bill Damianos interception forced Zois to come off his line to clear the ball, and with the ball bouncing around dangerously in the box, centre-half Steven O’Dor managed to clear it to safety from the goal line.
The second half saw more of the same attacking football from both teams, albeit with a much improved effort from the home side. Diaco looked lively again early in the second half, while De Moraes failed to repeat his goal scoring effort of the first half, shooting across the face of goal and wide from a tight angle. At the other end, Zois was also forced into action, saving a shot resulting from a goalmouth scramble. The Cannons brought on dangerous but out-of-form striker Jerry Karpeh midway through the second half, but for the most part South kept Karpeh quiet by double-teaming him and forcing him away from goal. Despite the close attention by South’s defenders, Karpeh was still able to create Oakleigh’s best chance of the night when he latched on to a cross with his head, forcing Zois to dive spectacularly to his left to tip the ball away to safety.
As Oakleigh were forced to press up the field, South turned their attention to absorbing the pressure, and hitting back on the counter. Numerous attempts were foiled by mistimed runs and the linesman’s flagging of offside calls. The best opportunity for South in the second half came when Rhodri Payne ran through clear on goal, where he appeared to be taken down from behind in the 18 yard box – the referee though, waved play on. South though was able to hold on to its lead until the end, and in doing so was able to claim a deserved victory.
FINAL SCORE: OAKLEIGH CANNONS 0-1 SOUTH MELBOURNE (HT: 0-1)
Griffin McMaster, Jamie Cumming, Stelios Drakos, Bonnell Obradovic, Ricky Diaco, Ashley Savanah (Martin Mason 79′), Yusuf Yusuf (Bill Damianos 35′), Michael Curcija, Aristidis Drakos (Jerry Karpeh 60′), Neven Antic, Scott Webster
Peter Zois, Rhodri Payne, Steven O’Dor, Daniel Vasilevski, Eddie Cetkin (James Stefanou 86’), Joe Keenan, Carl Recchia, Gianni De Nittis (Joseph Youssef 79’), Rama Tavsancioglu, Fernando De Moraes (Kyle Joryeff 68’), Marinos Gasparis
(Scorer: De Moraes 30′)
SMFC Man of the Match: Fernando De Moraes
Venue: Jack Edwards Reserve