By John Kyrou (Photo by Cindy Nitsos)
South Melbourne FC continued its 100 per cent winning start to the season with a 2-0 victory against Ballarat Red Devils at Lakeside Stadium on Thursday night. Jamie Reed scored a goal in each half as South won its first ever home game in the National Premier League and made it five wins from five League games in 2014.
South began the match brightly as it looked to kill the game off early as a contest. Milos Lujic almost opened the scoring when he was put through one-on-one and shot past Ballarat goalkeeper Aaron Romein, however the ball hit the underside of the crossbar and bounced back into play before being cleared. Ballarat looked dangerous on the break and almost beat the off-side trap on a few occasions, however South goalkeeper Jason Saldaris and his defence were quite comfortable in keeping a clean sheet. South opened the scoring right on the half-time break when Nick Epifano – who was switched from left midfield to right midfield during the half – played Reed through to hit a powerful shot across Romein and into the back of the net.
Ballarat began the second half stronger as James Robinson’s side also looked to continue their 100 per cent winning start in the League this season. They had two chances to level the score, firstly when Nelson Salvatore’s header went over the bar and secondly when Shaun Romein’s free kick went wide. With twenty minutes remaining, Lujic thought he had secured the three points when he tapped home a low cross but the referee’s assistant judged him to have been marginally offside and the goal did not stand. The same referee’s assistant then kept his flag down seven minutes later when English striker Reed took full advantage to score past Romein and secure another win for his side.
Ballarat substitute Dane Milovanovic almost halved the deficit with a fantastic shot from distance that lobbed over Saldaris but luckily for the home side the ball hit the base of the far post and stayed out of the goal. Reed then looked to have been hauled down in the penalty area by a Ballarat defender but the referee waved play on and denied the striker the chance to score a hat-trick. South comfortably saw out the remainder of the match and post-match Coach Chris Taylor was very pleased with the win and with how his side was able to ground out the result against the resilient Ballarat. “You can’t complain with five straight wins (in the League)… sometimes you have to play ugly to win games and we did that tonight.”
South can now enjoy the Easter weekend before re-grouping for the derby against the Melbourne Knights at Knights Stadium on Sunday 27 April. Kick-off is at 3PM.
FINAL SCORE: SOUTH MELBOURNE 2-0 BALLARAT RED DEVILS (HT: 1-0)
1-0: Jamie Reed (45′)
2-0: Jamie Reed (77′)
South Melbourne FC:
1. Jason SALDARIS (GK), 2. Tim MALA, 4. Michael EAGAR (C), 7. Nick EPIFANO (27. Leigh MINOPOULOS 65’), 8. Mathew THEODORE (15. Kobbie BOAHENE 79’), 9. Milos LUJIC, 10. Tyson HOLMES, 11. Brad NORTON (3. Andrew MULLETT 85’), 12. Iqi JAWADI, 14. James MUSA, 17. Jamie REED.
Ballarat Red Devils:
1. Aaron ROMEIN (GK), 3. Daniel TINKER, 6. Liam HARDING, 11. Nelson SALVATORE, 15. Dom SWINTON (20. Bolish SALVATORE 57’), 16. Charlie KING, 17. Shaun ROMEIN (13. Michael TRIGGER 78’), 18. Daniel O’DONNELL, 22. Pat KARRAS (4. Dane MILOVANOVIC 71’), 25. Steve THOMSON, 31. Simon MURPHY.
SMFC Man of the Match: Jamie Reed
Venue: Lakeside Stadium
Date: Thursday 17 April 2014