Thursday, 26 July 2012 3:19 PM
By John Kyrou
South Melbourne FC travels to Kingston Heath Soccer Complex on Saturday evening to take on the Southern Stars in a match of extreme importance for the Blues. With South sitting five points from the top 5 but at the same time only seven points from the relegation zone, the result of Saturday’s game will be a huge factor in determining whether South’s season will end with the team either fighting relegation or pushing to make the finals.
South goes into the game on the back of two horrible home losses against Green Gully (0-2) and Richmond (1-3), with the team finishing last week’s game against the Eagles with only nine men following the red cards given to Shaun Kelly and Trent Rixon. Tom Matthews will again be missing after receiving a four game ban following his red card against Gully. In more bad news for South, Dimi Tsiaras will miss the Southern Stars game after picking up his fifth yellow card of the season last weekend, incurring an automatic one game ban. In addition, it seems likely that captain Steven O’Dor will also miss after being substituted early in the Richmond game due to a hamstring injury.
With so many injuries and suspensions, South faces a monumental battle against a Southern Stars side that defeated South 0-2 at Lakeside Stadium earlier this season on Friday 4 May. The Stars have adjusted well after being promoted into the Victorian Premier League at the end of last season and currently have 20 points and sit above South in 9th spot on the League ladder. Southern Stars come into this weekend’s match on the back of a disappointing 2-2 draw against Heidelberg last Sunday, with the Stars leading 2-1 before conceding a late goal.
South will most likely start Andy Vlahos up forward with Steve Burton, with the veteran impressing last Friday against Richmond. Forgotten man Rhodri Payne was substituted on for O’Dor against the Eagles and had an excellent match and will no doubt be deployed in defence again this weekend. Joe Keenan limped off last week but is expected to be fine to make at least an appearance off the bench against the Stars. The Trifiro brothers were on the substitute’s bench against Richmond and will be expected to step up and perform on Saturday.
Saturday’s match kicks off at 7:00PM at Kingston Heath Soccer Complex.