By John Kyrou
South Melbourne FC defeated Dandenong Thunder 5-0 at Lakeside Stadium on Sunday evening to record eleven straight wins in the National Premier League and fourteen straight wins across all competitions in 2014. Chris Taylor’s side set up the win with two quick goals before the halftime break and finished the game off in the second half to maintain their nine point lead over the Oakleigh Cannons at the top of the NPL Victoria ladder.
The two sides met for the second time in a week following the thrilling Sixth Round Dockerty Cup tie last Wednesday night (28 May) that South won 0-1 in extra time. Mathew Theodore replaced Slaven Vranesevic in the starting eleven and James Musa sat on the substitutes’ bench after representing New Zealand against South Africa on Friday night. Dean Hennessey’s Dandenong had been the best side South had faced so far in 2014 and they began the match well, with chances falling to Alan Kearney and Kieran Dover that they were unable to capitalise on. South had their chances too, with Milos Lujic blasting a shot over the goal before Jamie Reed hit the crossbar with an excellent free kick. The home side blew the game open with two well-taken goals in the 41st and 44th minutes. Theodore set Lujic up with an excellent through-ball for the centre-forward to pick his spot before blasting past Zaim Zeneli before the midfielder helped himself to a goal, pouncing to score after Zeneli did well to initially save Nick Epifano’s shot at the near post.
South stepped up the intensity in the second half and sealed the three points in the 70th minute when Zeneli could only parry Reed’s free kick into the path of a thankful Tyson Holmes who made no mistake in scoring his first goal of the season. With the result sealed, Musa came on for Captain Michael Eagar and ended up scoring South’s fourth goal when he slid in to score following Leigh Minopoulos’ low cross in the 88th minute for his first South goal. The scoring was completed a minute later when Reed was bundled over in the penalty area and stepped up to score the resulting penalty by blasting the ball straight up the middle of the goal as Zeneli dived to his right.
Post-match, Eagar was proud of his side’s effort in what was a very tough week, noting that “tonight was very pleasing following on from that tough game on Wednesday night.” Right-back Tim Mala was proud of South’s fourth straight clean sheet across all competitions (with nine in fourteen matches this season), adding that “it doesn’t matter who is back there (at centre-half) during a game (Musa, Eagar or Andrew Mullett), they are all capable of coming in and doing the job. We had to be a bit more vocal when our leader went off (Eagar) and I think we did that well.”
It was further good news in the NPL 20s as South Melbourne defeated Dandenong Thunder 2-1, with Josh Markovski and Angel Taravillo scoring South’s goals.
South’s next game is against the second-placed Oakleigh Cannons at Jack Edwards Reserve this Friday night.
FINAL SCORE: SOUTH MELBOURNE 5-0 DANDENONG THUNDER (HT: 2-0)
1-0: Milos Lujic (41′)
2-0: Mathew Theodore (44′)
3-0: Tyson Holmes (70′)
4-0: James Musa (88′)
5-0: Jamie Reed (89’p)
Key Stats (Provided by Steven Orchard):
Shots: SMFC (19) – DTFC (15)
Turnovers: SMFC (66) – DTFC (70)
Balls into final third: SMFC (28) – DTFC (27)
Clearances: SMFC (10) – DTFC (5)
South Melbourne FC:
1. Jason SALDARIS (GK), 2. Tim MALA, 3. Andrew MULLETT, 4. Michael EAGAR (C) (14. James MUSA 74′), 7. Nick EPIFANO, 8. Mathew THEODORE (27. Leigh MINOPOULOS 84′), 9. Milos LUJIC, 10. Tyson HOLMES, 11. Brad NORTON, 12. Iqi JAWADI (15. Kobbie BOAHENE 87′), 17. Jamie REED.
21. Zaim ZENELI (GK), 4. Rama TAVSANCIOGLU, 6. Alan MULCAHY, 7. Kieran DOVER, 8. Matt MILLAR, 11. Kris KIOUSSIS, 12. Brendan ELMAZOVSKI, 14. David KING (23. Feston AZIZI 67’), 16. Alan KEARNEY, 17. Marcus SCHROEN, 23. Jake NAKIC.
SMFC Man of the Match: Iqi Jawadi
Venue: Lakeside Stadium
Date: Sunday 1 June 2014