South Melbourne FC

The Blue and White Forever

South extend winning run to eight

South extend winning run to eight

By John Kyrou

South Melbourne FC continued its incredible start to the 2014 National Premier League season with a hard-fought 2-1 victory against the Bentleigh Greens at Lakeside Stadium on Sunday evening. Second-half strikes from Milos Lujic and substitute Leigh Minopoulos were just enough to defeat the Greens, who scored a consolation goal thanks to a Jack Webster header.

John Anastasiadis’ Bentleigh was always going to be the toughest test for Chris Taylor’s side so far this season and the away side showed why that was the case in the first half, creating plenty of chances but not capitalising on the scoreboard. The away side should have been in the lead at halftime but for South goalkeeper Jason Saldaris making two important saves to keep his side level at 0-0 going into the rooms at the break. South’s best chance of the half fell to Nick Epifano but his shot fizzed wide of Bentleigh goalkeeper Stuart Webster’s goal.

South eventually wrestled control of the match in the second half and opened the scoring on 67 minutes when Epifano’s shot could only be parried by Stuart Webster into the path of Milos Lujic and Lujic made no mistake, blasting the ball into the back of the net. The centre-forward should have made it 2-0 only a minute later when Stuart Webster had raced off his goal line and left his goal exposed, however his defender Jack Webster put his right leg in the way of Lujic’s shot and the ball deflected wide of the goals. Bentleigh missed a great opportunity to level when Luc Jeggo sprung the offside trap and cut the ball back beautifully for Luke Pilkington but he blasted his shot over Saldaris’ goal.

Minopoulos had been making an impact as a substitute all season and on this occasion he scored four minutes after coming off the bench, getting on the end of Jamie Reed’s cross to the back post and then getting past his marker before scoring past Stuart Webster to give South a commanding 2-0 lead. The home side looked to be cruising towards another victory but Bentleigh provided a late scare when Jack Webster’s well-placed header from a corner kick in the second minute of injury time gave the away side a lifeline. Despite the six minutes of injury time played, South held on and have now won their opening eight League matches – plus the two Dockerty Cup wins – giving Chris Taylor’s men an incredible ten straight victories across all competitions to start the season.

Taylor was very proud of his side post-match, adding that “it was a big test today…in the second half we stepped it up and were worthy winners.” South end the round on top of the NPL ladder with a four point lead over second-placed Oakleigh Cannons.

It was a different story in the NPL 20s as Bentleigh defeated South 5-2. Eric Hauser and Matthew Kundevski scored South’s goals.

South Melbourne FC’s next match is against Pascoe Vale at Lakeside Stadium next Sunday 18 May, with the match kicking off at 5PM.


Goal Scorers:
1-0: Milos Lujic (67′)
2-0: Leigh Minopoulos (89′)
2-1: Jack Webster (90+2′)

Key Stats (Provided by Steven Orchard):
Shots:  SMFC (16) – BGFC (13)
Saves: SMFC (5) – BGFC (4)
Turn Overs: SMFC (75) – BGFC (79)
Balls into Final Third: SMFC (40) – BGFC (43)
Clearances: SMFC (20) – BGFC (14)

Bentleigh Greens:
1. Stuart WEBSTER, 2. Tom MATTHEWS, 3. James CUMMINGS, 5. Jack WEBSTER, 6. Ross ARCHIBALD, 8. Wayne WALLACE (77. Stephen HATZIKOSTAS 72’), 9. Luke O’DEA (7. Jamie DE ABREU 69’), 10. David STIRTON, 11. Brent McGRATH, 17. Luc JEGGO (19. Liam McCORMICK 89’), 24. Luke PILKINGTON.

South Melbourne FC:
1. Jason SALDARIS (GK), 2. Tim MALA, 4. Michael EAGAR (C) (3. Andrew MULLETT 90′), 7. Nick EPIFANO (27. Leigh MINOPOULOS 85′), 8. Mathew THEODORE (15. Kobbie BOAHENE 90+4′), 9. Milos LUJIC, 10. Tyson HOLMES, 11. Brad NORTON, 12. Iqi JAWADI, 14. James MUSA, 17. Jamie REED.

SMFC Man of the Match: Iqi Jawadi
Venue: Lakeside Stadium
Date: Sunday 11 May 2014

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