Friday, 22 June 2012 9:58 AM
By John Kyrou
South Melbourne FC hosts Heidelberg United in the traditional derby at Lakeside Stadium on Sunday afternoon. Sunday’s derby is of enormous significance to both teams, as Heidelberg look to get off the bottom of the ladder and South look to reverse a horrible run of four straight home defeats in all competitions.
South has not won at Lakeside Stadium since the 4-0 victory over Moreland Zebras in the opening round of the Victorian Premier League season on Sunday 25th March. Since then the side has lost four home matches in a row both in both League and Cup competition, going down 0-2 to Southern Stars, 1-2 to Melbourne Knights, 0-1 against Northcote and 1-2 against Port Melbourne. In addition, South has not tasted victory in any competition since Friday 11th May when a late Steven O’Dor goal was enough to defeat Hume City 1-0 at Epping Stadium. It is form not usually associated with the Club and puts the entire coaching and playing staff under big pressure to change results around quickly before the season becomes wasted. South’s 1-0 loss away to Bentleigh last Friday night represented the Club’s third straight loss in all competitions and means that South has only picked up one point from its last four League matches.
Heidelberg may be at the foot of the Victorian Premier League ladder having lost 0-4 against second-bottom Moreland Zebras last weekend, however the Bergers will provide difficult opposition on Sunday. Until last year’s Elimination Final triumph, South had not defeated Heidelberg in League competition since May 21st 2006, when goals from George Tzirtis (29’), Fernando De Moraes (53’) and Vaughan Coveny (75’) sealed a 3-1 victory at Lakeside Stadium. Although South has frequently defeated Heidelberg in Hellenic Cup battles since that day, the Bergers have had the upper hand in the Victorian Premier League, much to the frustration of South supporters. The corresponding fixtures last season ended in a 0-0 draw at John Cain Memorial Park on Sunday 5th June, before a Jesse Krncevic penalty and a Zaim Zeneli double-save from Hamlet Armenian’s late penalty kick gave South a 1-0 victory in the Elimination Final on Sunday 14th August at Anderson Reserve.
South should be welcoming back former Heidelberg defender Luke Byles and midfield veteran Fernando De Moraes to the side this week, with both recovering from injuries.
Sunday’s match kicks off at 5:00pm at Lakeside Stadium. South supporters are encouraged to attend in big numbers to give their Club as much support as possible to try and break the horrible form the Club is going through at the moment.