By John Kyrou
South Melbourne FC welcomes Pascoe Vale to Lakeside Stadium on Sunday evening as Chris Taylor’s side looks to continue its record-breaking start to the season.
South goes into the game having won their opening ten matches in 2014 in both National Premier League and Dockerty Cup competitions, with its most recent being the 2-1 win against the Bentleigh Greens at Lakeside Stadium last Sunday 11 May. Milos Lujic and substitute Leigh Minopoulos scored second half goals as South won the three points to maintain its four point lead over the Oakleigh Cannons at the top of the NPL ladder. With essentially a full squad to choose from, Taylor will expect his side to continue its winning form in front of their home supporters on Sunday.
Pascoe Vale have had a very slow start to 2014, being eliminated in the Fourth Round of the Dockerty Cup (0-1 against State League 1 side South Springvale on Saturday 22 March) and winning only one of their opening eight NPL matches. Vitale Ferrante’s side currently sit in second-last spot on the NPL ladder, with their only win in all competitions being the 2-1 victory against Heidelberg United at Hosken Reserve on Thursday 17 April. Despite their lowly status, Pascoe Vale have players that are experienced in playing at the top level of Victorian football in Stefaan Sardelic, Tomi Milardovic, Michael Ferrante, Carl Recchia, Joseph Youssef and Jonathan Voulgaris. Sardelic, Recchia and Youssef are all former South players and will be looking to perform well against their former side.
The two sides have only met twice previously, both times in the 2013 Victorian Premier League competition. In the first meeting on Saturday 1 June 2013, Pascoe Vale had a man sent off after only ten minutes but managed to hold South to a 0-0 draw at Hosken Reserve. In the second meeting at Lakeside Stadium on Sunday 25 August 2013, Nick Soolsma opened the scoring for the home side before Pascoe Vale took a shock lead thanks to goals from Ferrante and Luca Santilli. Luke Hopper levelled for South before the halftime break before Trent Rixon got on the end of a Soolsma cross to head the winning goal in the second half as South won the match 3-2.
Sunday’s match kicks off at 5PM at Lakeside Stadium. Those unable to make the game can follow it with live updates on the South Melbourne FC Facebook page and on the Club’s official Twitter @smfc with the hashtags #NPLVIC and #SMvPV.