South Melbourne FC

The Blue and White Forever

South extend lead at the top to nine points after thrilling derby win

South extend lead at the top to nine points after thrilling derby win

By John Kyrou (Photo by Cindy Nitsos)

South Melbourne FC defeated the Melbourne Knights 4-3 in a thrilling National Premier League Victoria meeting between the two old rivals at Lakeside Stadium on Sunday evening. The win extended South’s lead at the top of the NPL ladder to nine points (following Oakleigh’s loss to Hume City on Friday night) with eight League games left to play in 2014.

Chris Taylor’s men went into the game keen on gaining revenge over the Knights, after Andrew Marth’s side triumphed 0-2 at Lakeside Stadium on Wednesday 25 June to knock South out of the Dockerty Cup. The Knights were confident going into the game, having won their last six matches across all competitions and having been the only team to not only keep South scoreless but also defeat them at Lakeside Stadium this season. The Knights also hadn’t lost at Lakeside Stadium since South moved back into the venue in 2012, so Sunday’s game was always going to be a tough encounter for the home side.

South opened the scoring after 13 minutes when left-back Shaun Timmins scored his first goal for the Club after cutting past his marker in the penalty area and firing the ball past Chris May at his near post. South had several chances to extend its lead but failed to do so and was punished when Daniel Visevic delivered an excellent cross for Stipo Andrijasevic to put the ball past Jason Saldaris and into the back of the net on the half hour mark. The scores were only level for a couple of minutes before a long ball caught the Knights defence napping and Jamie Reed took full advantage by sneaking through and slotting the ball past the onrushing May and into the back of the net. The home side pressed for more goals and got what they wanted right on halftime, when Tyson Holmes’ scrambled shot fell perfectly for Lujic to blast into the net to give South a commanding 3-1 lead at the break.

The second half was an end-to-end affair, with both sides creating several opportunities to score goals but failing to take them. With six minutes of normal time remaining, Shayan Alinejad won the ball off Timmins before cutting inside and scoring past Saldaris with an effort that took a deflection on the way through. The Knights could sense a comeback and kept pressing for a third goal but it was South who scored next thanks to a quick counter-attack that ended with the unmarked Lujic at the back post putting away Nick Epifano’s low cross. It was Lujic’s 14th League goal in 18 matches in 2014, with the centre-forward having scored 15 goals in 22 matches across all competitions this season. With 90 minutes gone and the score now 4-2, it looked like the three points were sealed for the home side but there was a late twist as the Knights scored again in the second minute of injury time. Alinejad took full advantage of substitute Brad Norton slipping over by stealing possession of the ball and cutting into the penalty area before scoring past Saldaris on the second attempt after the South custodian had saved his initial shot. However, there was no time for the Knights to score a dramatic fourth goal as the full-time whistle was blown shortly after, giving South another three crucial points in its quest to win the NPL Victoria Championship.

Taylor was very pleased with the win post-match, adding that “the Knights are a very direct side, at every set piece they caused us problems so we had to deal with that, which I thought we did quite well.” Captain Michael Eagar agreed and elaborated by saying that “we created many chances and we really should have scored a few more but we scored enough…as a back four it’s very frustrating to have conceded three goals but we’ll work on that, the most important thing was getting the three points.” Lujic was delighted with the win, adding that “it’s always good to score against the Knights, they’re a tough team, very physical…so it was good to get the win.” On his return to former club Northcote City next Saturday, Lujic dismissed the hype by saying “I’ll just take it as another game…from all reports the pitch isn’t the best out there so it’s going to be a battle like it was today…we just have to be focussed on getting the three points again.”

The news wasn’t as good in the NPL 20s, as South Melbourne was defeated 0-1 by the Melbourne Knights.

South is back on the road for the first time since Friday 6 June when it travels to John Cain Reserve to play Northcote City next Saturday 26 July, with kick-off at 3PM.


Goal Scorers:
1-0: Shaun Timmins (13′)
1-1: Stipo Andrijasevic (30′)
2-1: Jamie Reed (32′)
3-1: Milos Lujic (45+1′)
3-2: Shayan Alinejad (84′)
4-2: Milos Lujic (90′)
4-3: Shayan Alinejad (90+2′)

Key Stats (Provided by Steven Orchard):
Shots: SMFC (18) – MKFC (17)
Free Kicks: SMFC (14) – MKFC (26)
Balls into Final Third: SMFC (43) – MKFC (35)
Clearances: SMFC (13) – MKFC (15)

South Melbourne FC:
1. Jason SALDARIS (GK), 2. Tim MALA, 4. Michael EAGAR (C), 7. Nick EPIFANO, 9. Milos LUJIC, 10. Tyson HOLMES, 12. Iqi JAWADI, 14. James MUSA, 17. Jamie REED, 25. Shaun TIMMINS (11. Brad NORTON 86′), 77. Stephen HATZIKOSTAS.

Melbourne Knights:
1. Chris MAY (GK), 3. Sam TORRENS (2. Chris STEFANI 68′), 5. Milan BATUR (13. Antun KOVACIC 60′), 6. Tomi USKOK, 7. Daniel VISEVIC, 9. Stipo ANDRIJASEVIC, 10. Marijan CVITKOVIC, 11. Jordan O’DOHERTY, 12. Ivan GRGIC, 14. Michael DOYLE, 19. Shayan ALINEJAD.

SMFC Man of the Match: Stephen Hatzikostas
Venue: Lakeside Stadium
Date: Sunday 20 July 2014

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