Monday, 14 May 2012 9:15 AM
By John Kyrou (Photo by Cindy Nitsos)
South Melbourne FC returned to winning ways with a solid 0-1 victory against Hume City at Epping Stadium on Friday night. Captain Steven O’Dor’s 87th minute goal was enough to earn South a vital three points in a match that the away side dominated in possession yet left it late in translating that to a win on the scoreboard.
South went into the match on the back of an embarrassing 0-2 loss against Southern Stars at Lakeside Stadium the previous week. With the derby against the Melbourne Knights and a very tough away match against League leaders Dandenong Thunder to follow, it was of utmost importance to secure the three points against a Hume side that had started just as inconsistently as South had. Although Hume came into the match in winning form having defeated Heidelberg United 1-2 at Olympic Park in the previous round, like South they had managed only a modest seven points from their first five League encounters in 2012.
The first half of the match was quite dour, with few opportunities for both sides. On 25 minutes, Dimi Hatzimouratis curled a shot into the top right corner but Hume goalkeeper Chris Oldfield made an excellent save to keep the ball out. A short time later, a scramble in the six yard box resulted in an O’Dor shot going wide of the goal. The home side did actually put the ball in the back of the net shortly before halftime but the linesman on the near side correctly ruled that there had been a clear handball by former South man Steven Pace in the lead-up.
In the second half, South stepped up the intensity and enjoyed a huge amount of possession on the ball, however the away side seemed unable to break down a stubborn Hume defence led by Pace. Oldfield was hardly tested in the Hume goal, however he breathed a sigh of relief when O’Dor headed a fantastic Glen Trifiro cross over the crossbar on 66 minutes. South then had what looked like two clear penalties disallowed by referee Hakan Anaz, one of which had the potential to lead to a red card being issued against Hume for a last-man offence. Despite the strong appeals, Anaz waved for play to continue and South were denied.
Nevertheless, the away side continued to launch forward attacks as the clock ticked down and they were finally rewarded with only three minutes of normal time remaining. A Bradley Norton cross on the right was partially cleared by Hume’s defence to Glen Trifiro at the back post. Trifiro’s quick turn and shot was helped into the net by the quick-thinking O’Dor, sending the away fans behind the goals into wild celebrations in the cold wintry weather. Unfortunately for the captain, he had to be substituted only minutes later after what looked to be a thigh injury. South held on through the five minutes of injury time to record a vital win heading into next Sunday’s derby against the Knights.
After the game, South coach Peter Tsolakis commented that “I thought we dominated the game and I’m just so glad that we were able to score right at the end. Hume is always a tough game and the guys had to dig deep and I’m ecstatic that we got the three points.” Speaking to SMFC TV about his injury, the goal scoring hero O’Dor was “unsure at this stage how severe it is, hopefully I’ll be fine for next week but we’ll have to wait and see.”
In the Under-21s match, South came from 3-1 down to draw 3-3 against a ten-man Hume, who also lost their goalkeeper due to injury and had to play one of their outfield players in goal for the rest of the game.
FINAL SCORE: HUME CITY 0-1 SOUTH MELBOURNE (HT: 0-0)
0-1: Steven O’Dor (87′)
1. Chris OLDFIELD (GK), 3. Ben HARRISON, 4. Isyan ERDOGAN, 5. Steven PACE, 6. Serdar PIR, 7. Atilla OFLI (10. David CHICK 70′), 11. Nick HEGARTY, 12. Jarryd BARNES (37. Bobby VIDANOVSKI 70′), 17. Phillip RICCOBENE, 20. Archie TOMIC, 22. Howard FONDYKE
South Melbourne FC:
1. Peter GAVALAS (GK), 3. Rhodri PAYNE, 4. Steven O’DOR (25. Kyle JORYEFF 90+4’), 6. Dimi TSIARAS (15. Fernando DE MORAES 79’), 8. Dimi HATZIMOURATIS (17. Matko BUDIMIR 90+1’), 9. Trent RIXON, 10. Glen TRIFIRO, 11. Bradley NORTON, 13. Luke BYLES, 18. Marinos GASPARIS, 23. Jason TRIFIRO
SMFC Man of the Match: Luke Byles
Venue: Epping Stadium
Date: Friday 11 May 2012