Thursday, 30 June 2011 9:11 PM
South Melbourne FC welcomes St Albans Saints to John Cain Memorial Park on Sunday afternoon in a match that is simply must-win for both sides. The home side must win the three points on offer to give itself any realistic chance of challenging for a top two position on the ladder, whilst St Albans must win to maintain hope of avoiding relegation and remaining in the Victorian Premier League next season.
South was disappointing in its 1-0 derby defeat against the Melbourne Knights at Somers Street last Sunday. Captain Steven O’Dor and leaders Daniel Vasilevski and Fernando De Moraes expressed their disappointment and vowed for a much better performance against St Albans on Sunday on SMFC TV. South has gone through an incredibly inconsistent season, with disruptions to the team due to injuries, suspensions and the departure of players throughout 2011. The positive though is that despite all the problems that have arisen during the year, the side currently sits in third position with five matches left and are still well placed to play finals football.
Despite their lowly position on the ladder, St Albans will be a significant threat on Sunday afternoon. The Saints had a horrendous start to the season but in recent weeks have enjoyed several victories, including an excellent 0-2 win at rivals Springvale White Eagles. Whilst St Albans are still in the relegation zone, mathematically they are not relegated yet and will therefore be treating every match like a cup final in order to stay in the Victorian Premier League for at least another season. Experienced former Socceroo Danny Tiatto recently joined the Saints and will no doubt be keen to get one over South like in his playing days for the Melbourne Knights.
The last time South played St Albans in a ‘home’ fixture was on Sunday 6 February 2005, when a Vaughan Coveny power strike after 13 minutes was enough for South to triumph 1-0 in front of 3,000 supporters at Lakeside Stadium. The last time the two sides met was earlier this year on Sunday 3 April, when Fernando De Moraes (18′) and Kyle Joryeff (73′) sent South to the top of the ladder thanks to a 0-2 win at Churchill Reserve. Fernando’s goal was also his 50th League goal for the Club.
Sunday’s match kicks off at 3:00pm at John Cain Memorial Park. South fans are encouraged to attend and support their team in its quest to consolidate a top two spot on the ladder.