Sunday, 3 July 2011 10:07 PM
South Melbourne FC maintained its hold of third position on the Victorian Premier League ladder with a scrappy 1-0 victory against St Albans at John Cain Memorial Park on Sunday afternoon. Steven Weir was the hero for the home side as he scored the winning goal in the second half. The win moves South to 34 points, two points behind second-placed Oakleigh and opens up a two point lead against fourth-placed Heidelberg United. The defeat leaves St Albans in 11th position on the ladder with 12 points, with the Saints still 12 points from safety with only four matches left.
Sunday’s fixture was always going to be a difficult one for South, with the team having struggled to beat the Saints 0-2 at Churchill Reserve earlier in the season on Sunday 3 April. On that occassion, Fernando De Moraes and Kyle Joryeff scored to give the away side the victory, however both started on the bench on Sunday. Weir began the match alone up front and could have scored his first goal in the first half but for the intervention of Saints goalkeeper Steven Pavlovic, who got his big frame down to make several important saves and keep the scoreline at 0-0. His best save came from a move that began with a chip ball from Carl Recchia that was nodded into Kliment Taseski’s path by Weir, with Taseski’s shot at the near post forcing him to make an excellent reflex save to keep the ball out. At the other end, Zaim Zeneli was hardly troubled but was lucky not to concede when Louis Fenton got between two South defenders to set up a one-on-one opportunity but let himself down by spraying his final shot well wide.
The game was won in the 57th minute when Kliment Taseski won the ball and played a wonderful through-ball for Weir to run onto. With Pavlovic advancing, the Scotsman beat the Saints custodian to the ball and poked the ball goalwards, where he followed through and tapped the ball into the back of the net after it rolled onto the post and stopped on the goal line. St Albans lifted their intensity and pressed forward searching for an equalising goal, however Zeneli was hardly tested despite having to deal with a couple of free kicks just outside the area. De Moraes and Joryeff were both subbed on during the half and their presense up forward not only helped Weir but also created several opportunities for the home side to finish the game as a contest, which they could not manage. St Albans won a corner in the fifth minute of injury time and Pavlovic charged up the field for the corner, which he very nearly got his head on to score what would have been a sensational equalising goal.
After the match, SMFC Assistant Coach Joe Montemurro remarked that “this was always going to be a difficult match as St Albans had nothing (and everything) to lose. We know we are under pressure and today was all about winning the three points.” On the injury front, he mentioned that “Junior (Camargo) may hopefully be ok in two weeks, apart from him and Jesse Krncevic (who serves one more match as a suspension) we almost have a full squad to choose from, which is great.”
Next Saturday 9 July, South travels to Kevin Bartlett Reserve to face the Richmond Eagles, knowing that a victory there could almost seal a finals place this season. Kick-off is at 3:00pm.
FINAL SCORE: SOUTH MELBOURNE 1-0 ST ALBANS SAINTS
1-0: Steven Weir (57′)
South Melbourne FC:
2. Tom MATTHEWS, 3. Rhodri PAYNE, 4. Steven O’DOR, 5. Daniel VASILEVSKI (25. Kyle JORYEFF 72′), 6. Steven TOPALOVIC, 8. Carl RECCHIA, 10. Kliment TASESKI (18. Marinos GASPARIS 90+4′), 16. Trent WATERSON (15. Fernando DE MORAES 63′), 17. Steven WEIR, 21. Zaim ZENELI, 23. Sebastian PETROVIC
St Albans Saints:
1. Steven PAVLOVIC, 5. Brian CHEESSON, 13. Neven ANTIC, 23. Tomishu MILARDOVIC, 19. Michael GRGIC, 4. Maks CUZE, 18. Daniel PIOVESAN, 17. Reardo LUKA, 10. Daniel VISEVIC, 15. Louis FENTON, 9. Mathew DEMO Subs: 20. Frano SARIC, 8. Themistokies ANTHONY, 11. Oxan Oztemir, 32. Daniel DRAGOVIC, 21. Ivan LIJOVIC
SMFC Man of the Match: Kliment Taseski
Venue: John Cain Memorial Park
Date: Sunday 3 July 2011