Monday, 21 February 2011 10:22 AM
By John Kyrou
South Melbourne FC has been held to a 1-1 draw by Green Gully in their opening fixture for the 2011 Victorian Premier League season at John Cain Memorial Park. South outplayed the reigning Victorian Premier League Champions in the first half before Gully worked themselves back into the match after the break to earn a deserved point.
New coach Eddie Krncevic started youngster Nick Jacobs next to Jesse Krncevic up front as South pressed for goals in the first half. Krncevic had enjoyed a bag full of goals in the pre-season Cup competitions and he scored his first Victorian Premier League goal for the Club after 25 minutes, following an excellent turn and shot that found the back of the net.
South then proceeded to miss a host of guilt-edged chances to double their lead before halftime. The best of the lot fell to Fernando De Moraes, who delayed in shooting after being fed a delightful through-ball by Jacobs, enabling Gully to get back in numbers and clear the danger. However, South rode its luck going into halftime with the lead after Green Gully missed a series of good opportunities to level, with the ball going into the car park behind the goals instead of the back of the net.
New captain Steven O’Dor should have put South two goals ahead shortly after halftime, but he put wide an excellent cut-back ball from Gianni De Nittis, who had worked himself into a dangerous position on the right side of the area. This proved costly as Gully equalised shortly afterwards, when Brent Fisher was given enough space to squeeze a shot past Stefaan Sardelic, with the ball eventually rolling into the goal. That woke South up, with the home side going close to re-taking the lead twice through De Moraes. On the first occasion he let fly with a stinging shot from outside the area that rattled the cross-bar, then had a free kick evade the wall and goalkeeper before hitting the post and rolling out.
South may have had numerous chances to regain the lead but Gully also had many opportunities to snatch a victory. Luckily for the home team, a bit of luck and a fantastic save from Sardelic denied Gully the opportunity to win the game. In a match that could have ended 5-5, the full-time whistle confirmed only a goal apiece and a share of the points.
In the second round of the Premier League next week, South travels to White Eagles Stadium to play the newly-promoted Springvale White Eagles. The match kicks off at 20:30 on Friday 25 February.
FINAL SCORE: SOUTH MELBOURNE 1-1 GREEN GULLY (HT: 1-0)
1-0: Jesse Krncevic (25’)
1-1: Brent Fisher (56’)
South Melbourne FC
1. Stefaan SARDELLIC, 3. Rhodri PAYNE, 4. Steven O’DOR, 6. Steven TOPALOVIC, 8. Carl RECCHIA, 9. Gianni DE NITTIS, 11. Jesse KRNCEVIC. 15. Fernando DE MORAES (16. Trent WATERSON 85′), 18. Marinos GASPARIS, 23. Sebastian PETROVIC, 24. Nick JACOBS (25. Kyle JORYEFF 62′)
1. Nikola ROGANOVIC, 2. Daniel JONES, 4. Cameron DRAKE, 7. Jeffrey FLEMING, 8. Jason HAYNE, 9. Brent FISHER, 10. Graham HOCKLESS, 11. Pasquale VIZZARI (14. Ryan OLLERTON 75′), 12. Matthew SANDERS, 16. Mile MEDJEDOVIC, 19. Jonathan MUNOZ
SMFC Man of the Match: Marinos Gasparis
Venue: John Cain Memorial Park
Date: Sunday 20 February 2011