Friday, 20 April 2012 9:58 AM
By John Kyrou
South Melbourne FC travels to Kevin Bartlett Reserve on Friday night to face the Richmond Eagles in what will no doubt be an entertaining game of football. The two sides have enjoyed some great Friday night matches at that ground.
South goes into the game on a back of a very disappointing 3-1 loss away to Green Gully last Saturday afternoon that coach Peter Tsolakis described as “a lethargic performance.” The afternoon was made even more miserable when Trent Rixon hobbled off with a groin injury that looks to rule him out of Friday’s match. However there were some positives despite the loss, with both Joe Keenan and Marinos Gasparis coming off the bench, showing that there is decent depth in the squad. Should Rixon be ruled out of the Richmond match, Dimi Hatzimouratis may make his first start for South after being unavailable for the Gully game due to a hamstring strain.
Like South, Richmond goes into the match with two wins and a loss from its opening three Victorian Premier League fixtures in 2012. An opening round 2-1 loss against Northcote City has since been followed with 2-0 and 1-0 victories against Bentleigh Greens and Heidelberg United respectively. Defender Steven Topalovic has returned to Richmond for a second stint after playing for South Melboure in 2011 and finishing as South’s Most Valuable Player last year alongside Jesse Krncevic. Whilst Topalovic defected to Richmond, Dimi Tsiaras came to Lakeside from Kevin Bartlett Reserve and there is no doubt that the former Richmond captain will be keen on securing the three points against his former side.
South and Richmond have enjoyed some great battles at Kevin Bartlett Reserve in the past. A double from Nathan Caldwell and a goal from Fernando De Moraes were enough to secure a 3-2 victory for John Anastasiadis’ side on Friday 9 March 2007. Two years later under Michael Michalakopoulos, goals from Sebastian Petrovic, Shane Nunes and De Moraes gave South a solid 3-1 victory. In the corresponding match last season, Ross Antoniadis’ goal after five minutes was enough for Richmond to triumph 1-0. There has never been a drawn game between the two sides in the six occasions they have played each other at Kevin Bartlett Reserve, with three wins apiece.