By Skip Fulton
South Melbourne FC U20s walked away with a point following a 1-1 draw with Port Melbourne Sharks at a wet Lakeside Stadium on Sunday afternoon. A second-half goal to Stefan Zinni was the equaliser in a match where the teams pace and passing game was restricted by the conditions.
Coach Sasa Kolman made two changes to the team that drew at home 1-1 with Heidleberg United last week. Alexandru Sporea and Eric Hauser coming into the starting lineup in the place of Angel Taravillo and Sam Kagioglou.
The home team started on the front foot with opportunities coming early. Stefan Zinni made a blistering run down the left flank from the half way line all the way into the area only to push his shot across the face and just wide. Port Melbourne rallied and in the 30th minute some relaxed marking in the box resulted in a cross finding a free man for a tap into the top left corner of the net. The Sharks almost scored a second just minutes later only to be prevented by a good save from South goalkeeper Jason Giccominato.
Ryan Barbare was in good form picking holes in the Port Melbourne midfield. The wet slow conditions were however limiting South’s style of play and the usual sweeping attacks on both wings were limited.
In the second half, Port continued to press in attack but were held out by a strong defence. Zinni was impressive down the wing, finding his way in behind the defenders and looking to strike. In the 66th minute, he would again be in the action, this time on the receiving end of a superb cross from Joshua Markovski. An easy tap in for Zinni and South had the equaliser.
The remainder of the match settled into a battle of the midfield with Port Melbourne the more aggressive. A superb Port strike from outside area forced an equally impressive save from Giccominato who’s fingertip touch was enough to push the ball up and into the crossbar to keep South in the match.
With a few minutes remaining South launched on the counter. The last man was taken down by a Port defender with the ball spilling free. The referee played advantage giving South a one-on-one with the keeper. A fake left and push right wasn’t quite enough to beat the rushing glove man and the match ended in a 1-1 draw.
A disappointed South Melbourne coach Sasa Kolman spoke to smfc.com.au after the match saying “that was a really bad game, we couldn’t play our football. The game could have gone either way. They had a couple of really good chances, we were lucky. But at the end we had a really good chance too.I believe we have a very good team. Well done to the boys, it was a good fight”.
South remain in eighth on the ladder and next week take on Green Gully at Lakeside Stadium. The team will be looking to reverse the 2-0 loss to the Cavaliers in Round Three.
FINAL SCORE: SOUTH MELBOURNE 1-1 PORT MELBOURNE (HT: 0-1)
0-1 Senisios Frangos (31’)
1-1 Stefan Zinni (67’)
South Melbourne FC:
22. Jason Giccominato (GK), 13. Ryan Babare, 23. Andy Kecojevic, 28. Peter Constantinou, 29. Alexandru Sporea (42. Massimo Pesce 59’), 31. Dion Paola, 34. Ioannis Avramidis, 35. Stefan Zinni, 37. Eric Hauser (38. Juan Igic 63’), 41. Timothy Kakoliris, 43. Joshua Markovski (36. Angel Taravillo 74’)
Port Melbourne Sharks:
23. Alexander Connell (GK), 2. Darcy Rapa, 4. Aaron Maclean, 5. Blaine Burrell, 6. Nicholas Kozdra, 7. Sensios Frangos, 8. Stace Pagounis, 9. Tolumay Cokacar, 12. Billy Arggros, 17. Peter Michael, 18. Anthony Ianchello (10. Lisandro Paz 29’)
SMFC Man of the Match: Stefan Zinni
Venue: Lakeside Stadium
Date: Sunday 29 June 2014