By John Kyrou
South Melbourne FC hosts Green Gully at Lakeside Stadium on Sunday evening in what will no doubt be another tough match for the home side. South’s inconsistent form in June, coupled with Gully’s now traditional mid-season run of winning form and their good record against South at Lakeside Stadium, makes Sunday’s game a very difficult one for Chris Taylor’s men.
South goes into the game having won two National Premier League Victoria matches in succession, with the 3-0 win against Heidelberg on Sunday 22 June followed up with a 2-1 win against Port Melbourne last Sunday 29 June (both games at Lakeside Stadium). South extended its lead at the top of the NPL Victoria ladder to six points ahead of the second-placed Oakleigh Cannons and at this present time will be confirmed as League Champions should they win ten of their last eleven matches. However, there is still a long way to go yet in the season and the first hurdle to overcome will be a Green Gully side that has enjoyed a good run of form in recent weeks. After losing four of their opening fives League matches in 2014, Gully has begun their now traditional mid-season revival and have picked up four wins and a draw from their last six matches. This has elevated them to equal fifth spot on the NPL Victoria ladder with 22 points, though they still trail South by a whopping 18 points.
The two sides met earlier this season at Green Gully Reserve on Saturday 5 April. On that day, South raced to a 0-4 lead in the opening half hour before a ten-men Green Gully (who had their goalkeeper Kieran Gonzalez sent off early in the second half) pulled the score back to 3-4. Luckily for South, substitute Leigh Minopoulos scored deep into injury time to confirm the three points and a 3-5 win. In their last meeting at Lakeside Stadium (Sunday 29 September 2013), Tyson Holmes’ 91st minute winning goal saw South overcome Gully 1-0 in the Elimination Final amid wild celebrations from the South supporters. In the ten League meetings between the two sides at Lakeside Stadium, both South and Gully have won four games each, with the other two games ending in draws. These previous results show how tough Gully are to defeat and how South needs to be very sharp on Sunday if they are to overcome them.
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 #SMvGG.