Monday, 20 August 2012 8:27 AM
By John Kyrou
South Melbourne FC blew a fantastic opportunity when it lost 2-1 against Victorian Premier League leaders Dandenong Thunder at Lakeside Stadium on Sunday afternoon. An early second half goal from Matthew Theodore and a killer last minute goal from Luke Sherbon won the game for the Thunder as they came from behind to cancel out Shaun Kelly’s early first half goal. The result extends Dandenong’s lead at the top of the ladder to seven points and leaves South with a massive mountain to climb if it intends to play finals football in 2012.
South needed three points to get to within two points of fifth-placed Northcote City and the Blues made the best start possible by opening the scoring after only five minutes. Fernando De Moraes’ corner was met firmly by Kelly, who headed past Stuart Webster in the Thunder goal. The goal was Kelly’s second goal in consecutive weeks following his first goal for the Club against the Melbourne Knights last weekend. The home side were in complete control in the first half but were unable to capitalise on the scoreboard any further following Kelly’s goal. Having kept only two clean sheets all season, South knew that it probably had to score again in the second half to give itself an even better chance of securing the three points.
The Thunder turned the tables in the second half and came out firing. Peter Gavalas made an excellent fingertip save and Rhodri Payne twice had to head the ball off the goal line as the away side crept closer to scoring. They were finally rewarded in the 55th minute when Theodore was allowed far too much space and time down the right hand side and he slotted the ball under the advancing Gavalas. South battled hard to weather a storm from the Thunder in the opening 20 minutes of the second half but eventually got back into the game as it pressed for a much-needed winning goal. Steve Burton wasted a fantastic chance to score when he failed to properly connect when the ball bounced in his path with only Webster to beat. The home side were made to pay the ultimate price with only a minute of normal time remaining when Sherbon won the ball on the left before cutting in and hitting a wonder shot across Gavalas and into the far corner of the goal.
The 2-1 loss leaves South needing to win their final three League games of the season and at the same time hope that other sides slip up in order to play finals football in 2012.
It was a more positive result in the Under-21s as South defeated Dandenong 3-2.
FINAL SCORE: SOUTH MELBOURNE 1-2 DANDENONG THUNDER (HT: 1-0)
1-0: Shaun Kelly (5′)
1-1: Matthew Theodore (55′)
1-2: Luke Sherbon (89′)
South Melbourne FC:
1. Peter GAVALAS (GK), 2. Tom MATTHEWS, 3. Rhodri PAYNE, 6. Dimi TSIARAS (20. Andrew CARTANOS 90’), 7. Joe KEENAN (5. Phil PETRESKI 85’), 11. Bradley NORTON, 12. Steve BURTON, 13. Luke BYLES, 14. Andy VLAHOS (10. Glen TRIFIRO 67’), 15. Fernando DE MORAES, 19. Shaun KELLY
Stuart WEBSTER, Andrew MULLET, Bryan BRAN, Shpetim MALA, Shane REXHEPI, Craig ELVIN, Liam KEARNEY, Matthew THEODORE, Iqbal JAWADI, Luke SHERBON, Sean MCILROY. Subs: Zaim ZENELI, Enes SIVIC, Feston AZIZI, Nate FOSTER, Ross THOMPSON
SMFC Man of the Match: Dimi Tsiaras
Venue: Lakeside Stadium
Date: Sunday 19 August 2012