Tuesday, 17 July 2012 9:50 AM
By George Kouroumalis (Photo by Cindy Nitsos)
After three games without defeat, South Melbourne FC have fallen at home to reigning champions Green Gully, after a brace by Brian Vanega brace sealed the win for the Cavaliers at Lakeside Stadium.
Following a comprehensive win over Oakleigh the previous week, South came out of blocks firing and could have scored early after some fantastic lead up work culminated with Steve Burton’s close range shot saved by Gully custodian Rhyss Keane.
South should have had the lead moments later when a wonderful run by Tom Matthews saw the Englishman fire a perfect cross into the path of Trent Rixon. The big striker, who has not scored since Round 4 against Richmond, smashed his shot into the bar. Marinos Gasparis latched onto the resulting rebound and also a stinging drive onto the bar.
Whilst South were playing some exciting and free-flowing football, that would be their only real chance of the opening 30 minutes, as Gully were content with absorbing the South attack and breaking on the counter attack at any chance they got.
This plan worked perfectly in the 33rd minute, when a cross into the area was poorly dealt with by Matthews, enabling the ball to fall directly into the feet of Vanega. He then hit a wonderful volley into the bottom corner to give his side the 0-1 lead.
Gully should have doubled their lead just before the break, when a shot by Brent Fisher striking the upright from just inside the box.
Whilst the first half was generally played on South’s terms, the second was completely opposite, with Gully strangling South at every opportunity.
The first serious chance of the half fell once again to Burton, who hit a speculative long drive from 30 yards, only to see the ball fly out.
With the crowd increasingly voicing their frustration, Peter Tsolakis tried to change things up by bringing Joe Keenan and Andy Vlahos off the bench in an attempt to spark the team.
Moments later it would be Gully that would score a second and seal the game. An innocuous cross from the right hand side was once again poorly dealt with at the back by South. Like the opening goal, Vanega was in the right position, latching onto the loose ball and smashing the ball into the back of the net.
South found energy in the last 10 minutes, and should have been rewarded in injury time, with a stunning run by Matthews finishing with yet another cross being played into the area. On this occasion however the ball looked to strike the arm of a Gully defender on the way though, with the referee waving play on. Vlahos then latched onto possession and hit a goal-bound shot onto the target, only for it to be cleared off the line.
The Blues then lost Matthews moments later, after being given a straight red card for something he may have said to the assistant referee.
It was more bad news for South in the Under-21s, with the Green Gully youngsters triumphing 3-1.
South are now four points out of the top five and must re-group against Richmond on Friday night. Kick-off at Lakeside Stadium is at 8:30PM.
FINAL SCORE: SOUTH MELBOURNE 0-2 GREEN GULLY (HT: 0-1)
0-1: Brian Vanega (33′)
0-2: Brian Vanega (74′)
South Melbourne FC:
1. Peter GAVALAS, 2. Tom MATTHEWS (sent off 90+3′), 4. Steven O’DOR, 6. Dimi TSIARAS, 9. Trent RIXON (15. Fernando DE MORAES 78’), 10. Glen TRIFIRO (14. Andy VLAHOS 68’), 11. Brad NORTON, 12. Steve BURTON, 13. Luke BYLES, 18. Marinos GASPARIS (7. Joe KEENAN 65’), 23. Jason TRIFIRO
Green Gully Cavaliers:
Rhyss KEANE, Daniel JONES, Rodrigo VARGAS, Stephen DOWNES, Brent FISHER (Joel NIKOLIC 84’), Scott ROBSON, Mathew SANDERS (Anthony SELEMIDIS 89’), Mile MEDJEDOVIC, Andy VARGAS (Jason HAYNE 78’), Brian VANEGA, Osagie EDERARO.
SMFC Man of the Match: Dimi Tsiaras
Venue: Lakeside Stadium
Date: Sunday 15 July 2012