Saturday, 31 March 2012 11:17 PM
By John Kyrou
Photo courtesy of Anita Milas – www.victorypix.com
South Melbourne FC continued its 100 per cent winning start to the season after coming from a goal down to defeat the Oakleigh Cannons 1-3 at Jack Edwards Reserve on Friday night. Second half goals to Fernando De Moraes, substitute Joe Keenan and Trent Rixon gave South its second victory in the 2012 Victorian Premier League season.
The first half was a scrappy affair, with South struggling to get into any real sense of rhythm. Former South player Goran Zoric was offering Oakleigh some trickery down the right flank, but most of his crosses were comfortably dealt with by Peter Gavalas and the South defence. Rixon appeared to have been fouled in the centre of the park in the 25th minute, however referee Lucien Laverdure waved play on. This resulted in the Cannons taking the lead thanks to Hayden Doyle being allowed time and space to hit a low shot into Gavalas’ bottom right corner. Despite going a goal down, the South players didn’t fire up until shortly before the halftime break.
There was only one team that was going to win the match after the break. South coach Peter Tsolakis had stressed to his team that they needed to continue pushing forward and that the chances would come. South were caught marginally offside a couple of times before the breakthrough arrived in the 56th minute. Rixon had his one-on-one saved but De Moraes was on hand to tap home the rebound and send the away fans into wild celebrations. Luke Byles, Steven O’Dor and Matthews were all immense in defence as South’s midfield also got well on top of their Cannons opponents. It seemed only a matter of when, not if, South would score the next goal. De Moraes almost set the place alight again when he was fed a wonderful through-ball but his chip over Daniel Neesham hit the post and stayed out.
Joe Keenan had been named on the substitute bench for the first time since he last played for the Club in 2010 and Tsolakis decided to bring him on in the 75th minute. It took only eight minutes for the popular Englishman to reward his coach and the South supporters by stamping his mark on the match, when he received the ball on the right before cutting inside and hitting a left-footed shot that snuck under Neesham and into the back of the net. With South well and truly on top, a third goal would have been the icing on the cake in what had been a memorable second half. It arrived deep into the fourth minute of injury time, when a long ball down the left side was pounced upon by Rixon, who out-muscled the Oakleigh defence before smashing the ball past Neesham’s near post to seal the 1-3 victory in style.
With the Easter break next week, coach Tsolakis said that “it will be a good opportunity for the guys to have a rest and re-charge in time for the Green Gully game (in two week’s time)… we have a full squad to choose from but there will be injuries and suspensions as the season goes on so it will be important to rotate the squad accordingly…but so far so good.”
In the Under 21s, South were too strong for the Cannons with a thumping 4-1 victory.
There are no VPL games next week over the Easter break, with South’s next match being against Green Gully on Saturday 14 April 2012 at Green Gully Reserve. Kick-off is at 3:00pm.
FINAL SCORE: OAKLEIGH CANNONS 1-3 SOUTH MELBOURNE (HT: 1-0)
1-0: Hayden Doyle (25′)
1-1: Fernando De Moraes (56′)
1-2: Joe Keenan (83′)
1-3: Trent Rixon (90+4′)
35. Daniel NEESHAM (GK), 2. James CUMMINGS, 6. Rama TAVSANCIOGLU, 7. Bonel OBRADOVIC, 10. Ricky DIACO, 11. Jesse KRNCEVIC, 12. Luke WALKER, 16. Frankie LAGANA, 19. Goran ZORIC, 20. Ari DRAKOS, 21. Hayden DOYLE
Subs: 13. Caleb RUFER, 23. Daniel DRAGICEVIC, 4. Zac WALKER, 14. Jeremy WALKER, 1. Pat SATORIE
South Melbourne FC:
1. Peter GAVALAS (GK), 2. Tom MATHEWS, 4. Steven O’DOR, 6. Dimi TSIARAS, 9. Trent RIXON, 10. Glen TRIFIRO, 11. Brad NORTON, 13. Luke BYLES, 15. Fernando DE MORAES (8. Dimi HATZIMOURATIS 87′), 23. Jason TRIFIRO, 25. Kyle JORYEFF (7. Joe KEENAN 75′)
SMFC Man of the Match: Luke Byles
Venue: Jack Edwards Reserve
Date: Friday 30 March 2012