Thursday, 16 August 2012 2:51 PM
By John Kyrou
In one of the games of the round, South Melbourne FC hosts Victorian Premier League leaders Dandenong Thunder on Sunday afternoon. South cannot afford to lose as it continues to build momentum to reach the top five with under a month to go before the finals series begins.
South go into the game on the back of an entertaining 2-2 draw in the derby against the Melbourne Knights at Somers Street last Sunday. South opened the scoring after only 90 seconds but then allowed Jake Nakic to level before putting the Knights ahead with a wonder goal; however the Blues managed to leave with a point thanks to Shaun Kelly’s 76th minute volley. The result extended South’s unbeaten run to three games and keeps the Club a game behind fifth-placed Bentleigh Greens with only four rounds remaining in the regular season. Dandenong come into Sunday’s game four points clear at the top of the VPL ladder, having disposed of bottom team Heidelberg United 5-0 at George Andrews Reserve last Saturday night. The Thunder has not lost in the League since a 1-0 loss away to the Knights on Sunday 15 July and in their 18 League games this season have scored 41 goals and conceded only 12. This is in contrast to South both scoring and conceding 26 goals in their 18 league matches.
Despite the enormity of the task ahead, South will be boosted with the return of Tom Matthews after the Englishman served his four-game ban following a red card against Green Gully on Sunday 15 July. Youngsters Andrew Cartanos and Phil Petreski will also be available after being in Townsville last weekend for the Victorian Under-19s side. Coach Peter Tsolakis will also return to coach after serving his two-game touchline ban following his send-off against Richmond on Friday 20 July. Unfortunately for the home side, Marinos Gasparis and captain Steven O’Dor will both be missing due to unforeseen circumstances. South can take great heart in the fact that in the last meeting between the two sides (Saturday 26 May) a hugely undermanned Blues side held the Thunder to a 1-1 draw at George Andrews Reserve to become the first team to take points off the Thunder in 2012.
Sunday’s match kicks off at 5:00PM at Lakeside Stadium.
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