By John Kyrou (Photo by Cindy Nitsos)
South Melbourne FC created Club history when it defeated Hume City 0-3 at the refurbished Broadmeadows Valley Park on Sunday afternoon. The victory meant that it was the first time in South’s 55 year history that it had won its opening four away matches in a League season. Nick Epifano scored two goals while Milos Lujic scored the other goal to confirm the three points and the historic statistic.
The first half was a rather dull affair, with both sides struggling to find any rhythm when going forward. The home side had the best chance of the half when Richie Cardozo’s left-footed free kick beat Jason Saldaris but not the crossbar as the two sides went into the sheds on level terms. Hume City and South Melbourne had never drawn a match at Broadmeadows Valley Park in the five previous meetings at the venue so something had to give in the second half.
South opened the scoring on the hour mark when Brad Norton – making his 50th League appearance for South – was involved in setting James Musa free down the left side. The centre-back had time to assess his options before cutting the ball back to the edge of the area for the incoming Epifano to hit a left-footed shot past Hume goalkeeper Chris Oldfield. It was Epifano’s first goal for South in 2014 and his fourth goal for the Club overall, following his three League goals in 2013. Minutes later an Epifano header set up Jamie Reed for what looked a certain headed goal but Oldfield made an outstanding save to deny the forward by tipping the ball over the crossbar.
Reed had worked hard for South all match and it was his driving run that resulted in the away side’s second goal of the afternoon. The forward won possession in the middle of the park and took on several Hume defenders before laying the ball off for Epifano on the right side of the penalty area. The 19 year old had time to control the ball and pick his spot before firing across Oldfield and into the left corner of the goal for a 0-2 lead. Epifano was on fire and it was his turn and cross from the left side that led to South’s third goal only three minutes later. The Hume defence got into a tangle trying to clear his cross and the ball fell kindly for Lujic to slot into the net for his fifth goal of the season, taking the big centre-forward to the top of the NPL Golden Boot standings after four rounds.
It was a different story in the NPL 20s, with Hume City defeating South Melbourne 4-2. Matthew Kundevski scored both of South’s goals.
South will be aiming for five straight League wins when it hosts Ballarat Red Devils at Lakeside Stadium on Thursday night. Kick-off is at 8:30PM and memberships will be available to be picked up outside the main entrance.
FINAL SCORE: HUME CITY 0-3 SOUTH MELBOURNE (HT: 0-0)
0-1: Nick Epifano (60′)
0-2: Nick Epifano (75′)
0-3: Milos Lujic (78′)
Key Stats (provided by Steven Orchard):
Shots: HCFC (9) – SMFC (16)
Turnovers: HCFC (81) – SMFC (66)
Balls into Final Third: HCFC (29) – SMFC (49)
Clearances: HCFC (22) – SMFC (17)
Hume City FC:
1. Chris OLDFIELD (GK), 4. Izzy ERDOGAN, 5. Petar FRANJIC, 6. Joe FRANJIC (22. Kaan KORKMAZ), 8. Jose GUERRERO, 9. Nick MARINOS (23. Devon BONNE), 10. Richie CARDOZO, 11. Kliment TASESKI (7. Ali TURGUT), 13. Shane REXHEPI, 17. Aaron TURNER, 39. Nick HEGARTY.
South Melbourne FC:
1. Jason SALDARIS (GK), 2. Tim MALA, 4. Michael EAGAR (C), 7. Nick EPIFANO (27. Leigh MINOPOULOS 78′), 8. Mathew THEODORE (15. Kobbie BOAHENE 87′), 9. Milos LUJIC, 10. Tyson HOLMES, 11. Brad NORTON, 12. Iqi JAWADI (3. Andrew MULLETT 89′), 14. James MUSA, 17. Jamie REED.
SMFC Man of the Match: Nick Epifano
Venue: Broadmeadows Valley Park
Date: Sunday 13 April 2014