Friday, 16 August 2013 9:12 AM
By John Kyrou
South Melbourne FC faces another crucial match when it travels to Jack Edwards Reserve on Sunday afternoon to play the Oakleigh Cannons. A win for South could see it end the round as high as fourth on the Victorian Premier League ladder whilst a loss would be a major blow in the Club’s quest for finals football.
South goes into the match having dispatched of Hume City 6-1 at Lakeside Stadium last Sunday afternoon. A hat trick from Luke Hopper, a first-half double from Trent Rixon and a wonder free kick from Nick Soolsma completed the rout for a South side that has now scored 12 goals in its last two home games. Oakleigh goes into the match having been defeated 3-1 by Dandenong Thunder at George Andrews Reserve last Friday night, the Cannons’ first loss since the 0-1 home defeat by the Melbourne Knights on 30 June.
Several of the teams around South on the VPL ladder (Green Gully, Dandenong Thunder and Oakleigh) have a match in hand and could go ahead of South with a victory in their catch-up games. Having said that, these teams along with Port Melbourne all play each other in the remaining few rounds of the season and will take points off each other, meaning that Chris Taylor’s side should qualify for the finals series provided they just keep winning their matches. The 1-1 away draw against Richmond on 2 August cost South a spot in the top five that weekend but the side made up for it with the 6-1 win against Hume last Sunday to put it just two points behind fifth-placed Green Gully.
Three points against Oakleigh on Sunday is imperative not only to continue the good form from the Hume game but to also make the Cannons’ finals aspirations even harder to achieve. A South victory will put it seven points clear of Oakleigh with four matches to go (though the Cannons have a game in hand) whereas a Cannons win will put them only a point behind South.
In the League fixture played between the two clubs earlier this season on 26 May, two goals from Dimi Hatzimouratis resulted in a comfortable 2-1 victory for South at Lakeside Stadium.
Sunday’s match kicks off at 3:15pm at Jack Edwards Reserve.