By John Kyrou
South Melbourne FC hosts Northcote City at Lakeside Stadium on Sunday evening in a match that could possibly decide the National Premier League Victoria Championship. If the Bentleigh Greens defeat the Oakleigh Cannons at Kingston Heath Soccer Complex tonight and South then defeats Northcote on Sunday, South will have a ten point lead over Oakleigh with only three League matches remaining for the Cannons and will therefore be crowned as League Champions.
South goes into Sunday evening’s match against Northcote having won their last two matches, with the most recent being the hard-fought 0-1 victory against the Dandenong Thunder at George Andrews Reserve last Saturday 16 August. Jamie Reed’s goal on the hour mark gave Chris Taylor’s side a crucial victory and set up the possibility of winning the Championship against current League Champions Northcote on Sunday. Goran Lozanovski’s Northcote come into the match having also won their last two matches, with the most recent being the 1-0 victory against Heidelberg United at John Cain Reserve last Sunday 17 August.
South Melbourne are 26 points ahead of Northcote City on the NPL ladder but Sunday’s game is a massive danger game due to Northcote’s superior record in their previous meetings. In the ten League matches between the sides, Northcote has won five and drawn four, with South winning only once. More alarming is the fact that Northcote have scored 25 goals in the process compared to 11 for South. In the League meeting between the two sides at John Cain Reserve earlier this season on Saturday 26 July, Milos Lujic opened the scoring against his former side on 74 minutes before Jonathan Munoz scored a penalty against his former side after 80 minutes for a 1-1 draw. In the corresponding League meeting between the sides at Lakeside Stadium last year on Saturday 14 September 2013, Evan Kounavelis opened the scoring for Northcote on 75 minutes before Trent Rixon headed the equalising goal after 83 minutes to secure a 1-1 draw.
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 #SMvNC.