Monday, 23 July 2012 8:52 AM
By John Kyrou
Richmond inflicted South Melbourne FC’s fifth home loss in 2012 and condemned South to 10th spot on the Victorian Premier League ladder when it defeated the Blues 3-1 at Lakeside Stadium on Friday night. The match ended bizarrely, with South’s Shaun Kelly, Trent Rixon and then coach Peter Tsolakis all sent off in the final 20 minutes.
South simply cannot take a trick in 2012, and the events of the Richmond match were just a reflection of what has been a disastrous season for the Club. The home side looked good in the first half, as Andy Vlahos dominated on the left side, however that was not reflected on the scoreboard. Vlahos had the best chance for South after cutting in past his Richmond marker, however his final shot was hit straight at Stjepan Gal in the Richmond goal. Richmond’s best chance of the half fell to Tom Cahill, whose shot from outside the area beat Peter Gavalas as well as the far post, with the home side breathing a sigh of relief as the ball rolled out for a goal kick.
Jason Trifiro replaced Joe Keenan at halftime and it was the midfielder that had the next best chance for South in the 66th minute, when a mix-up in the Richmond defence resulted in the ball deflecting straight to him but catching him off-guard. Trifiro managed to get the ball on target and the ball was rolling into the back of the net but Gal’s spectacular goal-line clearance with his foot deflected the ball off the post and out to safety. With all the possession but nothing to show on the scoreboard, it was only a matter of time before the Eagles were due to punish the home side and it occurred barely a minute later. Daniel Visevic took on and beat Kelly on the left flank before crossing to the back post where the unmarked substitute and former South player Hamlet Armenian was on hand to slot home. Having already substituted Rhodri Payne for the injured Steven O’Dor as well as Jason Trifiro for Keenan, coach Tsolakis played his final roll of the dice by introducing Rixon to the action (in place of Marinos Gasparis) in an attempt to level the scoreline.
The night turned from bad to worse for the home side in five minutes of madness. In the 78th minute, a hopeful, non-dangerous long ball by Armenian wasn’t cleared properly by Kelly. Cahill intercepted and was through on goal before being brought down by Kelly, resulting in a penalty being awarded and Kelly being sent off for a second yellow card. Cahill took the penalty and made no mistake, sending Gavalas the wrong way. From the resulting kick-off, South played the ball down the other end and Steve Burton played a wonderful through-ball for Rixon to split the Richmond defence and slot past the advancing Gal and halve South’s deficit. There was an incident involving Rixon that resulted in him being shown a straight red card which prompted coach Tsolakis to protest, also resulting in him being issued a red card by the referee Shaun Evans.
Ironically, South’s best passages of play had been when the team had been down to ten men and then nine. South continued to press forward urgently seeking an equaliser, however this left them horribly exposed at the back. Richmond took advantage on a counter-attack and Armenian had the easy task of passing into an empty goal and seal the 3-1 win. Even with nine men and a two goal deficit and the match in its 95th minute, South still almost scored but Burton’s final shot from Fernando De Moraes’ cut-back was cleared off the line by the Richmond defence. The final whistle moments later confirmed another miserable home result for South, its fifth loss at home in the League in 2012 and sixth in all competitions. South now sits five points from fifth spot, but also worryingly is only seven points from the relegation zone with seven matches remaining.
It was more misery for South in the Under-21s, with Richmond triumphing 4-1.
With several injuries and potential suspensions, South now faces a monumental task away from home against the Southern Stars next Saturday night at Kingston Heath Soccer Complex. Kick-off is at 7PM.
FINAL SCORE: SOUTH MELBOURNE 1-3 RICHMOND EAGLES (HT: 0-0)
0-1: Hamlet Armenian (68′)
0-2: Tom Cahill (79′ pk)
1-2: Trent Rixon (80′)
1-3: Hamlet Armenian (90+5′)
South Melbourne FC:
1. Peter GAVALAS (GK), 4. Steven O’DOR (3. Rhodri PAYNE 17’), 6. Dimi TSIARAS, 7. Joe KEENAN (23. Jason TRIFIRO 46’), 11. Brad NORTON, 12. Steve BURTON, 13. Luke BYLES, 14. Andy VLAHOS, 15. Fernando DE MORAES, 18. Marinos GASPARIS (9. Trent RIXON 74′ [sent off 85′]), 19. Shaun KELLY (sent off 78′)
1. Stjepan GAL (GK), 3. Erhan KARAHAN, 4. Antun KOVACIC (2. Andrew VIOLA 46’), 5. Liam CANNELL, 6. Tom MILARDOVIC (30. Michael FARNHAM 86’), 7. Timmy PURCELL, 9. Tom CAHILL, 10. Kyle JORYEFF, 14. Daniel VISEVIC, 13. Davey VAN’T SCHIP (19. Hamlet ARMENIAN 65’), 23. Scott MUIRHEAD
SMFC Man of the Match: Andy Vlahos
Venue: Lakeside Stadium
Date: Friday 20 July 2012