Sunday, 29 April 2012 11:35 PM
By John Kyrou
South Melbourne FC progressed to the Fifth Round of the State Knockout Cup after working overtime to defeat State League Two side Malvern City 2-1 at John Cain Memorial Park on Sunday afternoon. Goals from Dimi Hatzimouratis and Kyle Joryeff were enough to see off Malvern, who gave South an almighty scare when it levelled through Juan Nilo and played some very good football against their Premier League opponents.
South coach Peter Tsolakis started the likes of Rhodri Payne, Dimi Hatzimouratis, Marinos Gasparis and Gianni De Nittis in the starting eleven for the first time this season (all had come off the bench in earlier VPL rounds) and gave debut matches to Filip Jonsson, Matko Budimir and Jason Saldaris. The likes of Peter Gavalas, Dimi Tsiaras, Glen Trifiro and Luke Byles joined Nick Jacobs on the bench, giving them a rest from last week’s bruising League encounter with Richmond.
The first half was a scrappy affair and it was Malvern who had the better of the half-chances, with Saldaris doing well to keep a clean sheet until the half time break. South had a couple of chances to open the lead, most notably when Joe Keenan beat the offside trap but not Malvern goalkeeper Christopher Maynard, who made a good save to keep his side level.
South opened the scoring in the 53rd minute when Hatzimouratis let fly with a rocket from outside the area that hit the crossbar before going in, giving Maynard no chance in the Malvern goal. South had a handful of chances to double their advantage but desperate defending by Malvern kept the State League Two side in the Cup tie. City had come close on several occasions and caused South’s defence some nervous flutters. It almost came as no surprise when they levelled the scoring in the 75th minute when Juan Nilo found himself unmarked at the back post to tap home past Saldaris. All of a sudden they were a real chance of causing a major upset.
Malvern’s goal gave South the wake-up call it needed and they worked the winning goal in style only four minutes later, when Keenan was released down the right and cut the ball back for Joryeff to tap home into the unguarded goal. Despite some more unorthodox defending, South managed to see the game out and progress to the next round of the Cup, which looks likely to be a date against State League One side Port Melbourne on the Queens Birthday weekend.
South returns to Premier League action on Friday night (4 May) with a home match against newly promoted Southern Stars. The match kicks off at Lakeside Stadium at 8:30PM.
FINAL SCORE: SOUTH MELBOURNE 2-1 MALVERN CITY (HT: 0-0)
1-0: Dimi Hatzimouratis (53′)
1-1: Juan Nilo (75′)
2-1: Kyle Joryeff (79′)
South Melbourne FC:
3. Rhodri PAYNE, 4. Steven O’DOR (13. Luke BYLES 65′), 7. Joe KEENAN (24. Nick JACOBS 80′), 8. Dimi HATZIMOURATIS, 14. Filip JONSSON, 15. Fernando DE MORAES (10. Glen TRIFIRO 65′), 17. Matko BUDIMIR (6. Dimi TSIARAS 72′), 18. Marinos GASPARIS, 20. Gianni DE NITTIS, 21. Jason SALDARIS (GK), 25. Kyle JORYEFF
SMFC Man of the Match: Marinos Gasparis
Venue: John Cain Memorial Park
Date: Sunday 29 April 2012