Monday, 25 June 2012 11:12 PM
By John Kyrou (Photo by Cindy NItsos)
South Melbourne FC fans finally have reason to celebrate as their team rallied after being a goal down to register a 2-1 victory against traditional rivals Heidelberg United at Lakeside Stadium. Goals from Jason Trifiro and Bradley Norton were enough to earn the win for the home side. The result lifted South into eighth spot on the Victorian Premier League ladder and more importantly to within a game of the top five standings.
South went into the match in horrible form, having lost three matches in succession including four matches in a row at Lakeside Stadium. In fact South had not registered a victory at home since the opening round of the season when it prevailed 4-0 against Moreland Zebras on Sunday 25 March. Despite Heidelberg’s lowly status on the Victorian Premier League table (last place with only five points from its opening 10 matches), the fact that South had only beaten Heidelberg in a League match only once since 2006 was huge cause for concern. Derbies are always games where ladder positions and form are irrelevant and as was the case, this match was no different.
The home side’s miserable home form looked set to continue after only two minutes when Heidelberg opened the scoring with their first attack of the match. Former South player and new Bergers signing Kristian Sarkies’ corner from the right side found an unmarked Brent Griffiths who nodded the ball past Peter Gavalas. The goal immediately stung South into action and the home side should have been level only minutes later but Marinos Gasparis’ close-range half volley smashed the post and stayed out. South were then lucky not to concede again when Andrew Naboutt found himself one-on-one with Gavalas but the South custodian saved well. The Blues were wondering what they had to do to score in a home match but they were finally rewarded midway through the half when Trent Rixon nodded the ball on for Jason Trifiro to beat Chris May at his near post and level the scores. The entire Heidelberg defence seemed to stop in unison after Rixon’s header, adamant that the striker was offside; however despite angry appeals the linesman and referee allowed play to continue and Trifiro took advantage as South went into the break level.
Trifiro only lasted five minutes of the second half before he hobbled off and was replaced by the returning Fernando De Moraes. The Futsalroo had only been on the park for a few minutes before South scored the winning goal, when Norton hit a shot from 20 yards that took a wicked deflection off a Heidelberg defender and completely wrong-footed May in the Berger goal. It had been the sort of luck that South had been missing in previous weeks and despite the scrappiness of the goal, the home side and its supporters did not care in the slightest. Returning centre-half and former Heidelberg man Luke Byles was a rock in the South defence as he and captain Steven O’Dor did the job in preventing Heidelberg’s Saso Alexovski and Naboutt from creating many opportunities. At the other end, young Philip Petreski was involved in many great runs down the left wing for South but the home side was unable to capitalise. Four minutes of injury time passed and South hung on for what can only be described as a much-needed confidence boosting victory, South’s first win in all competitions since Friday 11 May away at Epping Stadium against Hume City.
In the Under-21s match played prior to the Seniors, Heidelberg twice came from behind to earn a 2-2 draw with South.
South needs to keep the winning form going next weekend when it returns to Epping Stadium, this time to face Moreland Zebras. Kick-off is next Sunday 1 July at 3pm.
FINAL SCORE: SOUTH MELBOURNE 2-1 HEIDELBERG UNITED (HT: 1-1)
0-1: Brent Griffiths (2′)
1-1: Jason Trifiro (19′)
2-1: Bradley Norton (55′)
South Melbourne FC:
1. Peter GAVALAS (GK), 2. Tom MATTHEWS, 4. Steven O’DOR, 5. Philip PETRESKI, 6. Dimi TSIARAS, 9. Trent RIXON, 10. Glen TRIFIRO, 11. Bradley NORTON, 13. Luke BYLES, 18. Marinos GASPARIS (25. Kyle JORYEFF 72’), 23. Jason TRIFIRO (15. Fernando DE MORAES 51’)
3. Les DOUMBALIS, 5. George PAPADOPOULOS, 8. Andrew NABOUTT (6. John BOUNOS 84′), 9. Kristian SARKIES, 11. Evan CHRISTODOULOU, 12. Kamal IBRAHIM (4. John LAZARIDIS 59′), 13. Mitch BISSINGER, 15. Sebastian PETROVIC (2. Arthur PAPADOPOULOS 75′), 17. Brent GRIFFITHS, 20. Saso ALEXOVSKI, 21. Chris MAY (GK)
SMFC Man of the Match: Dimi Tsiaras
Venue: Lakeside Stadium
Date: Sunday 24 June 2012