By John Kyrou
South Melbourne FC progressed to the Quarter Finals of the Dockerty Cup with a classic ‘smash and grab’ 0-1 victory in extra time against Dandenong Thunder at George Andrews Reserve last night. The win continued South’s incredible run of thirteen straight victories across both National Premier League and Dockerty Cup competitions this year. It also means that South is now one win away from also qualifying for the 2014 FFA Cup, as the four Dockerty Cup Semi Finalists qualify for that tournament to be played later on this year.
Dandenong crushed South 3-0 in the League meeting between the two sides at George Andrews Reserve in 2013 and from the opening minute last night it looked like history would repeat itself. Throughout the course of the 120 minutes played, Dandenong were dominant in midfield and on the wings, however the home side let themselves down constantly when in front of goal. South managed to keep the clean sheet largely thanks to the outstanding matches played by centre-halves Michael Eagar and Andrew Mullett, as well as goalkeeper Jason Saldaris making some crucial saves to keep his eighth clean sheet in the twelve games he has played this season.
Had the match last night been a regular League match, Chris Taylor’s side would have taken the 0-0 draw and seen it as a point gained than two points dropped. As it turned out, there had to be a winner and South got the break it needed in extra time when substitute Kobbie Boahene smashed a left-footed shot past the unfortunate Zaim Zeneli following a scramble in the six-yard box from Brad Norton’s corner kick. The youngster had only come on the field twelve minutes earlier and his winner was his second goal in his South career, following his goal against Berwick City in the previous round of the Cup on Wednesday 7 May. Of the winning goal, the youngster said post-match that “I can’t really remember it at all, I just saw the ball and hit it and luckily it went in.” Another youngster who featured last night was Slaven Vranesevic, who played 81 minutes before being replaced by Boahene. He noted that “I was really happy to be given the chance to play tonight…the boys really dug in to get the win and now we are one game away from qualifying [for the Dockerty Cup Semi Finals and the FFA Cup].”
Both South Melbourne FC and Dandenong Thunder will need to re-group quickly to be ready for their League meeting against each other on Sunday evening at Lakeside Stadium, with the match kicking off at 5PM.
FINAL SCORE: DANDENONG THUNDER 0-1 SOUTH MELBOURNE
After Extra Time (HT: 0-0, FT: 0-0)
0-1: Kobbie Boahene (93′)
Key Stats (Provided by Steven Orchard):
Shots: DTFC (16) – SMFC (13)
Corners: DTFC (6) – SMFC (12)
Free kicks: DTFC (23) – SMFC (16)
Turnovers: DTFC (99) – SMFC (99)
Balls into final third: DTFC (52) – SMFC (46)
Clearances: DTFC (24) – SMFC (2o)
South Melbourne FC:
1. Jason SALDARIS (GK), 2. Tim MALA, 3. Andrew MULLETT, 4. Michael EAGAR (C), 7. Nick EPIFANO (6. Dimi TSIARAS 100′), 9. Milos LUJIC, 10. Tyson HOLMES, 11. Brad NORTON, 12. Iqi JAWADI, 17. Jamie REED (27. Leigh MINOPOULOS 72′), 20. Slaven VRANESEVIC (15. Kobbie BOAHENE 81′).
SMFC Man of the Match: Andrew Mullett
Venue: George Andrews Reserve
Date: Wednesday 28 May 2014