By John Kyrou (Photo by Cindy Nitsos)
South Melbourne FC will look to get back to winning ways when it hosts Port Melbourne at Lakeside Stadium on Sunday evening. Having gone through a very inconsistent month of form that has yielded one win, one draw and two losses – including the disappointing Dockerty Cup defeat to the Melbourne Knights on Wednesday – Chris Taylor and his side need to defeat Port Melbourne in order to maintain at least a four point lead over the Oakleigh Cannons at the top of the National Premier League Victoria ladder.
Despite its midweek Cup loss, South is in winning form in the League, having defeated Heidelberg United 3-0 at Lakeside Stadium last Sunday 22 June. Transfer window signings Stephen Hatzikostas (midfield) and Shaun Timmins (left back) will be available for selection and it is likely that both will start on Sunday following the poor performance by the team in the Cup on Wednesday night. Port Melbourne also head into Sunday’s game in winning form, with Eric Vassiliadis’ side having recorded a professional 1-3 victory against Dandenong Thunder at George Andrews Reserve last Saturday 21 June. That win brought an end to a four-match losing streak in the League for Port and took it five points clear of the relegation zone, giving them great confidence heading to Lakeside to face a wounded South on Sunday.
Port Melbourne has defeated South Melbourne in both meetings between the two sides at Lakeside Stadium. As a State League 1 side at the time, Port recorded a famous 1-2 victory against South in the Fifth Round of the Dockerty Cup in 2012 and then defeated South 0-1 in their first League meeting in 2013. The two sides met earlier this season at SS Anderson Reserve and it was South that recorded a come-from-behind 2-3 win thanks to two late goals from substitute Leigh Minopoulos. South fans will be happy if they record another victory like that on Sunday evening to maintain their winning form in the NPL.
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 #SMvPM.