By John Kyrou (Photo by Cindy Nitsos)
South Melbourne FC travels to John Cain Reserve to face Northcote City on Saturday afternoon. A win for Chris Taylor’s side will extend their lead over the Oakleigh Cannons at the top of the National Premier League Victoria to twelve points, at least until the Cannons host the Bentleigh Greens on Sunday evening.
South goes into Saturday’s meeting with Northcote City full of confidence, having won its past five League matches and having defeated the Melbourne Knights 4-3 in the original Melbourne derby last Sunday evening at Lakeside Stadium. A double from Milos Lujic and further goals from Shaun Timmins and Jamie Reed sealed the win for South, taking it to 49 points on the NPL ladder. Taylor looks to have a full squad to choose from for Saturday’s match, with Leigh Minopoulos back and available for selection. Goran Lozanovski’s Northcote City also go into Saturday’s game with confidence, having been undefeated in their last five League matches (three wins and two draws) and with their most recent result being a 1-3 victory against Werribee City at Galvin Park last Sunday afternoon.
This is the first meeting between Northcote City and South Melbourne in 2014, with the two sides having not met since last season’s Victorian Premier League Preliminary Final (on Sunday 13 October 2013) that Northcote won 5-0 at SS Anderson Reserve. In the corresponding meeting between the two sides at John Cain Reserve on Sunday 23 June 2013, goals from Lujic, Kristian Konstantinidis and Michael Catalano saw Northcote defeat a poor South Melbourne side 3-0.
South Melbourne may be 24 points ahead of Northcote City on the NPL ladder but Saturday poses a massive danger game due to Northcote’s superior record in their previous meetings. In the nine League matches between the sides, Northcote has won five, with three draws and only one win for South. More alarming is the fact that Northcote have scored 24 goals in the process compared to 10 for South, with Northcote having won 5-0 on two occasions and 3-0 once. South Melbourne defeated Northcote City 3-2 (after extra time) in their Dockerty Cup meeting at Lakeside Stadium in 2013, however history has shown Northcote’s superiority in the meetings between the two sides, which is something that Taylor will be looking to change both on Saturday afternoon and then on Sunday 24 August at Lakeside Stadium when South host Northcote.