By John Kyrou (Photo by Cindy Nitsos)
South Melbourne FC continued its 100% winning record in 2014 with a 1-0 victory against Pascoe Vale at Lakeside Stadium on Sunday evening. Mathew Theodore’s long-range strike after 25 minutes proved to be the difference as South won its ninth National Premier League match in a row.
Coach Chris Taylor made only one change to the South team that defeated Bentleigh Greens 2-1 last Sunday. Andrew Mullett started in place of captain Michael Eagar, who was rested following an ankle injury sustained in the Bentleigh match. As a result, Brad Norton wore the captain’s armband against Pascoe Vale. Vitale Ferrante’s side went into the game having won only one of their opening eight NPL matches and were desperate at least for a point against South Melbourne.
The home side scored the winning goal when Pascoe Vale only half-cleared the ball to Theodore at the edge of the box and the South midfielder drilled the ball past Pascoe Vale goalkeeper Stefaan Sardelic and into the back of the net. South could have been further ahead at the break but for two excellent saves by Sardelic to deny Iqi Jawadi and Theodore, both from long range. The second half was a struggle as South battled to break down the Pascoe Vale defence. At the other end of the field, the South defence survived a few nervous scares, firstly when James Musa’s defensive header nearly resulted in an own goal and secondly when a vicious Michael Ferrante free kick almost snuck in at Jason Saldaris’ near post in the final action of the match. In the end, South had done enough for the win and Saldaris enjoyed his sixth clean sheet across all competitions this season.
Post-match, Norton noted that “it was a tough one today but getting the three points is the most important thing…we want to win every home match and make it as hard as possible for sides to beat us here (at Lakeside)…so far, so good.” Taylor agreed and gave full credit to a resilient Pascoe Vale before adding that “the big thing for us is not to get complacent, it’s not like we’ve blitzed every game and won by big scores…we’ve just got to keep going the way we’re going at the moment and keep collecting the points.”
South’s victory and Oakleigh’s 1-1 draw with Northcote City means that Taylor’s side is now six points ahead of the second-placed Cannons at the top of the NPL ladder, with the two sides due to meet each other soon (at Jack Edwards Reserve on Friday 6 June).
The news was not as good in the NPL 20s, with South Melbourne losing 1-3 against Pascoe Vale. Josh Markovski scored a consolation goal for South late in the match having been 0-3 down.
Next weekend South travels to Galvin Park to face the promoted Werribee City. Kick-off is next Sunday 25 May at 3PM.
FINAL SCORE: SOUTH MELBOURNE 1-0 PASCOE VALE (HT: 1-0)
1-0: Mathew Theodore (25’)
Key Stats (Provided by Steven Orchard):
Shots: SMFC (11) – PVFC (10)
Turnovers: SMFC (83) – PVFC (87)
Balls into Final Third: SMFC (34) – PVFC (28)
Clearances: SMFC (12) – PVFC (15)
South Melbourne FC:
1. Jason SALDARIS (GK), 2. Tim MALA, 3. Andrew MULLETT, 7. Nick EPIFANO (27. Leigh MINOPOULOS 46’), 8. Mathew THEODORE, 9. Milos LUJIC, 10. Tyson HOLMES, 11. Brad NORTON, 12. Iqi JAWADI, 14. James MUSA, 17. Jamie REED (6. Dimi TSIARAS 88’).
1. Stefaan SARDELIC (GK), 2. Adrian TALARICO, 3. Nathen MEGIC, 10. Davey VAN’T SCHIP, 11. Jonathon VOULGARIS (7. Luca SANTILLI 67’), 13. Mathew LAZARIDES (8. Joseph YOUSSEF 62’), 14. Alvaro CARRILLO, 15. Mark PISTININZI, 16. Marco SANTILLI (6. Roberto DI VITO 70’), 21. Michael FERRANTE, 22. Carl RECCHIA.
SMFC Man of the Match: Mathew Theodore
Venue: Lakeside Stadium
Date: Sunday 18 May 2014