South Melbourne FC hosts Werribee City at Lakeside Stadium this Sunday evening in a match that Chris Taylor’s side simply must win in order to maintain at least a seven point lead over the Oakleigh Cannons at the top of the National Premier League Victoria ladder by the conclusion of the weekend’s matches.
South goes into the match having suffered only its second League loss in 2014, with a mid-week defeat at the hands of the Bentleigh Greens. The 2-1 loss was a real blow as South missed a series of chances in the opening fifteen minutes of the game before conceding two goals and being unable to recover from the deficit. South still enjoys a seven point lead over the Oakleigh Cannons, however the Cannons have a game in hand and could potentially reduce that lead to just four points. Werribee City had been in serious relegation danger, however two massive wins in their last two League matches (2-0 away against Pascoe Vale on 29 July and 2-1 at home against Dandenong Thunder on 3 August) has elevated Nino Ragusa’s side to eleventh spot on the NPL ladder. With five rounds remaining, a couple more wins for the Bees should secure their safety in the division for this season and they will be looking for the three points on Sunday evening.
The suspended Iqi Jawadi was clearly missed during South’s mid-week loss and is expected to return straight into the starting eleven against Werribee. The previously injured Jamie Reed came off the bench against Bentleigh on Wednesday night and will be pushing for inclusion into the starting eleven. Youngster Dion Kirk came off the bench and set up Tyson Holmes for South’s consolation goal on Wednesday night and may feature against Werribee City.
Sunday will be the first time that South Melbourne and Werribee City have played against each other at Lakeside Stadium and only their second ever meeting. In the previous (and first ever) League match played between the two sides earlier this season on Sunday 25 May, Milos Lujic’s goal right on halftime proved to be the difference as South defeated Werribee 0-1 at Galvin Park.
Sunday’s game kicks off at 5:00PM 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 #SMvWC.