Monday, 5 August 2013 4:22 PM
By John Kyrou
South Melbourne FC endured a disappointing 1-1 draw against the Richmond Eagles last Friday night in a game that Chris Taylor’s side was desperate to win. Despite taking a first half lead through Luke Hopper, South could not stop Tom Cahill from leveling the scores in the second half and must feel that it was more of a case of two points dropped than one point gained.
South went into the game on the back of a superb 6-2 win against Dandenong Thunder the previous weekend, whilst Richmond were also confident following a hard-fought 1-1 draw against VPL leader Northcote City. South needed a win to stay in touch with the top five whilst Richmond needed three points to try and get out of the relegation zone.
The away side opened the scoring just after the half hour when Hopper superbly controlled Bryan Bran’s long ball before rounding goalkeeper Aaron Romein and putting the ball into the empty net. It was Hopper’s first goal for South since transferring from Dandenong Thunder three weeks ago. Richmond could have leveled the scores only minutes later but for Chris Maynard making a sharp block from Josh Groenewald’s shot after he was put through one-on-one.
South should have iced the game early in the second half but Trent Rixon’s header smashed into the crossbar and Bran’s follow-up shot was blocked by the Richmond defence. Rixon suffered an injury and had to be substituted five minutes later as South lost its target man up front. Former South man Kliment Taseski then hit a fierce shot that Maynard could only parry into the path of Cahill, who had no problems putting the ball into the net for the equalising goal.
Hopper had been solid all game but missed the chance to score the winning goal when his one-on-one shot was hit straight at Romein when a shot either side of the goalkeeper surely would resulted in a goal. At the other end, Maynard stepped up to make an outstanding injury-time save that would have won the three points for Richmond . In the end, a draw was not a favourable result for a South side that would have ended the round in fifth spot had it defeated Richmond .
Chris Taylor agreed that it was a case of two points dropped than one point gained, adding that “we did more than enough to seal the win…we need to cut out mistakes at the back.”
It was even more disappointing in the Under-21s as Richmond took a 4-0 first half lead before eventually defeating South 4-1. Baggio Yousif was again the goal scorer, delightfully chipping the goalkeeper for a consolation goal in second half injury time.
South faces a must-win game against Hume City at Lakeside Stadium this Sunday 11 August. Kick-off is at 3pm.
FINAL SCORE: RICHMOND EAGLES 1-1 SOUTH MELBOURNE (HT: 0-1)
0-1: Luke Hopper (33′)
1-1: Tom Cahill (65′)
Key Stats (provided by Steven Orchard):
Shots: Richmond (11) – South Melbourne (17)
Shots on Target: Richmond (7) – South Melbourne (5)
Shots off Target: Richmond (4) – South Melbourne (12)
Balls into Area: Richmond (19) – South Melbourne (48)
Clearances: Richmond (24) – South Melbourne (11)
Aaron ROMEIN (GK), Petar FRANJIC, Gareth WHELAN, Sam SHEPHERD (Nicholas KROUSORATIS 86’), Ari RITZ, Kliment TASESKI, Mate ETEROVIC, Tim PURCELL, Josh GROENEWALD (Hamlet ARMENIAN 80’), Tom CAHILL, Geoff ANDREW
South Melbourne FC:
21. Chris MAYNARD (GK), 2. Tim MALA, 4. Bryan BRAN, 5. Nick EPIFANO (12. Rhys MEREDITH 78′), 7. Luke HOPPER, 9. Trent RIXON (13. Iqi JAWADI 52′), 10. Tyson HOLMES, 11. Brad NORTON (C), 16. Alan KEARNEY , 17. Nick SOOLSMA, 19. Shaun KELLY
SMFC Man of the Match: Nick Soolsma
Venue: Kevin Bartlett Reserve
Date: Friday 2 August 2013