South Melbourne FC

The Blue and White Forever

South look to make it two in a row against Richmond

South look to make it two in a row against Richmond

Friday, 2 August 2013 9:27 AM

By John Kyrou (Photo by Cindy Nitsos)

South Melbourne FC travels to Kevin Bartlett Reserve on Friday night to play Richmond in what is shaping as a vital game. A win against Richmond together with a few other favourable results going its way may see South end the round in fifth spot.

Richmond is currently in the relegation zone in second-last place and is seven points behind third-last Pascoe Vale albeit with a game in hand. Winning its game in hand plus a victory over South on Friday could elevate Richmond to just a point behind Pascoe Vale with six matches remaining in the season. They will be further encouraged by the excellent 1-1 draw achieved against Victorian Premier League leaders Northcote City at John Cain Memorial Park last Sunday. Northcote opened the scoring before Hamlet Armenian leveled the scores late in the second half to earn a point for Richmond. Despite its lowly position on the table, Grant Brebner has had his side playing some decent football but for little or no reward on the points tally in 2013.

South will also go into Friday’s game confident following the 6-2 thrashing of Dandenong Thunder at Lakeside Stadium last Sunday. Doubles from Nick Epifano and Trent Rixon, plus further goals from Bryan Bran and Captain Brad Norton ensured South’s first VPL win since Sunday 26 May. With such a commanding second half against one of the better VPL sides in the Thunder, South coach Chris Taylor will be expecting his side to play the same way on Friday night. With Shaun Kelly having returned to centre-half last week after a hamstring injury and with Luke Hopper making a solid debut against his old club last week (he was involved in two assists), plus several experienced players on the bench such as Fernando De Moraes and Andy Vlahos, there are plenty of options for Taylor to use against Richmond. Goalkeeper Peter Gavalas is also available after serving his one-match suspension against Dandenong and will face competition from youngster Chris Maynard who replaced him in goal last weekend and was quite solid.

When the two sides met earlier in the season on Sunday 12 May at Lakeside Stadium, South came from 0-2 down to defeat Richmond 3-2 thanks to second-half goals from Tyson Holmes (48’, 69’) and Rhys Meredith (73’). In the corresponding fixture played at Kevin Bartlett Reserve last season on Friday 20 April 2012, a first half goal by Trent Rixon gave South a 1-1 draw against a spirited Richmond side that battled for an hour with only 10 men after Michael Ferrante was sent off and then with 9 men when Liam Cannell also saw red in the 88th minute.

Friday’s match kicks off at Kevin Bartlett Reserve at 8:30pm.

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