Friday, 5 July 2013 9:57 AM
By John Kyrou
South Melbourne FC faces a big test this weekend when it hosts Green Gully at Lakeside Stadium. Sunday’s match will conclude what has been a remarkable week at the Club, after the 0-1 home loss against Port Melbourne last Sunday was followed by the resignation of coach Peter Tsolakis on Monday before Dandenong Thunder’s Chris Taylor was appointed as the new coach on Wednesday.
South endured a frustrating afternoon against Port Melbourne last Sunday, conceding a soft goal after only two minutes and then failing to score despite dominating the game and creating a number of decent chances. South has now played every Victorian Premier League side once and at the halfway point of the season has a record of five wins, two draws and four losses. The loss to Port has seen the Club slide from fourth to sixth place on the VPL ladder, giving Chris Taylor the difficult task of quickly building confidence and getting results in the next few rounds to start the second half of the season strongly. This will be made even harder due to the fact that centre-half Shaun Kelly will be missing for a few weeks with a hamstring injury, however this present an opportunity for youngsters Matko Budimir and James Karvelis to step up and fill the centre-half role alongside Dimi Tsiaras. The injured Renco Van Eeken is close to being made available for selection but may have to miss another week, whilst fellow Dutchman and new signing Nick Soolsma impressed against Port Melbourne and will be looking for further improvement this weekend.
Green Gully may be sitting in eighth spot on the VPL ladder but it is only five points behind South with a game in hand. Gully is known for starting the season slowly before having a strong second half of the season and storming into the finals and season 2013 has been no different. After picking up only five points from its opening seven matches, Gully has picked up seven points from its last three matches and should have won its last three games in a row had it not blown a 2-0 lead against Bentleigh to draw 2-2 on 22 June. Last Saturday evening, Gully enjoyed a 0-2 away victory against defending Champions Dandenong Thunder. Ironically, Chris Taylor will be coaching against Green Gully for the second consecutive weekend after overseeing Dandenong’s loss last Saturday. He will be hoping – as will South fans – that Gully does not get the same result at Lakeside Stadium this Sunday.
In the corresponding fixture last season played on Sunday 15 July 2012 at Lakeside Stadium, a goal in each half by Brian Vanega saw Green Gully defeat South 0-2. South opened its 2013 VPL campaign with a very solid 0-3 victory against Green Gully at Green Gully Reserve on 6 April and will be very happy if it wins by the same score line on Sunday.
Sunday’s match kicks off at Lakeside Stadium at 3PM.