Monday, 2 September 2013 12:17 PM
By John Kyrou
South Melbourne FC suffered a massive blow in its quest for finals football in 2013 when it was defeated 2-1 by the Melbourne Knights at Somers Street on Sunday afternoon. Despite Tyson Holmes cancelling out James McGarry’s goal in the first half, South could not take its chances in front of goal in the second half and were punished by Andrew Barisic’s nice finish after 67 minutes that ultimately proved to be the winning goal.
Following the 2-2 draw at Lakeside Stadium earlier this season on 16 June, both sides were intent on getting three points in order secure a top three position on the Victorian Premier League ladder and with it the double-chance in the finals. The Knights were still eyeing off top spot on the table as they sat behind League leaders Northcote City by only three points, whilst South knew a win at Somers Street would elevate it to fourth place and level on points with third-placed Bentleigh Greens, giving it a realistic chance of finishing in the top three.
After a slow start to the match, the Knights took the lead just short of the half-hour when McGarry’s floated free kick from near the halfway line flew over South goalkeeper Peter Gavalas and into the back of the net. It seemed like Gavalas’ view had been obscured by the sun but nevertheless it was a horror goal for the away side to concede. To their credit, South bounced back after conceding the goal and duly leveled proceedings just after the half hour when Holmes controlled the ball before curling a perfect left-footed shot past Chris May and into the bottom corner of the Knights goal. South again had the ball in the back of the net thanks to a volley from Trent Rixon, however the linesman’s flag had already been raised for offside and the goal did not count.
Both sides had good chances to take the lead in the second half. Luke Hopper cut into the penalty area before blasting over May’s goal and then minutes later Shayan Alinejad was put through on goal by McGarry’s through-ball but had his chipped shot saved by the advancing Gavalas. The Knights eventually got their second goal – and what proved to be the winning goal – when Barisic was on hand to curl a right-footed effort past Gavalas from the edge of the box to put them 2-1 up. Rixon missed a great chance to level for South when he put his header over May’s crossbar and then deep into injury time May scrambled to tip substitute Alan Kearney’s chipped shot from distance over his bar and away from danger.
Post- match, South coach Chris Taylor was again thoroughly disappointed at the fact that his side could not keep a clean sheet and continue to gift goals to their opponents. The result means that South has now slipped out of the top five on goal difference. With only two matches remaining in the League season, South will need to win both games (against Northcote City on 14 September and Port Melbourne on 22 September) to qualify for the top five. Anything less than two victories will see South rely on other favourable results to get it into the 2013 VPL finals.
FINAL SCORE: MELBOURNE KNIGHTS 2-1 SOUTH MELBOURNE (HT: 1-1)
1-0: James McGarry (26′)
1-1: Tyson Holmes (32′)
2-1: Andrew Barisic (67′)
Key Stats (provided by Steven Orchard:
Shots: Melbourne Knights (8) – South Melbourne (23)
Saves: Melbourne Knights (8) – South Melbourne (3)
Turnovers: Melbourne Knights (58) – South Melbourne (60)
Balls into Area: Melbourne Knights (25) – South Melbourne (42)
Shots Blocked: Melbourne Knights (0) – South Melbourne (4)
Chris MAY (GK), Adam ZILIC, James McGARRY, Andrew BARISIC, William MCLACHLAN, Marijan CVITKOVIC (Christopher TALAJIC 46’ [Jacob COLOSIMO 72’]), Milan BATUR, Ben SUREY, Josh BERRIOS, Shayan ALINEJAD (Ryan FILIPOVIC 90+3’), Sam TORRENS
South Melbourne FC:
1. Peter GAVALAS (GK), 2. Tim MALA (18. Jonathan MUNOZ 90’), 4. Bryan BRAN, 5. Nick EPIFANO (12. Rhys MEREDITH 82’), 7. Luke HOPPER, 9. Trent RIXON, 10. Tyson HOLMES (16. Alan KEARNEY 72’), 11. Brad NORTON (C), 13. Iqi JAWADI, 17. Nick SOOLSMA, 19. Shaun KELLY
SMFC Man of the Match: Bryan Bran
Venue: Knights Stadium
Date: Sunday 1 September 2013