South Melbourne’s first match of 2015 was a friendly against NPL1 club Dandenong City FC at Somerville on the Mornington Peninsula. Recently arrived from South Hobart FC, forward Andy Brennan picked up a double on the way to a 3-1 win for the NPL Champions.
The Dandenong City friendly match was the first opportunity for new signees Andy Brennan and Bonel Obradovic to get some match time and for Head Coach Chris Taylor to see some trial and youth squad players in action. South still has a number of positions to sign in the NPL squad and the friendly matches scheduled in the coming weeks will assist to finalise the line-up.
A total of twenty one players made the trek to Somerville for the match and this ensured plenty of rotations and game time for all. The first half of the match was well balanced through the mid-field with neither team able to gain solid control. Few opportunities presented themselves however when the City goal keeper came off his line to clear and a subsequent pass went wayward, Cody Martindale (on trial) quickly pounced and lobbed the keeper from about thirty yards out on the wing to open the scoring.
The senior squad members came on at half-time and the line-up represented what many South fans would have seen from last year. The pace and fluidity of passing picked up and soon the City back four were under increasing pressure. It took Andy Brennan just twelve minutes on the pitch to open his account for his new club, extending the South lead.
The two goal advantage was short lived as a scrambling defence inside the area resulted in a foul and the referee wasted no time in pointing to the spot. The resulting kick from twelve yards wasn’t convincing as it rebounded off the bottom of the cross-bar and down on to the back of a diving Chris Maynard before rolling across the line putting Dandenong on the scoreboard.
The balance of the second half continued with the South midfield feeding the forwards with passes that challenged and penetrated the City defence. Iqi Jawadi linked well with Milos Lujic up front and despite numerous chances and multiple corners, it was finally Brennan who found space and scored with a classy strike from the edge of the area.
The 3-1 win was the result but for both Dandenong City and South Melbourne the match was about pre-season preparation, seeing the squads play under match conditions and trying different positions and combinations for the line-ups.
After the match, smfc.com.au spoke with Andy Brennan about his arrival in Melbourne and his first match for South Melbourne. “I only played the second half but it was really great play with some high class players, a really good game. South Hobart has some quality players but there are a lot of high quality players here at South who can always find you where ever you are, so it’s really good to play with them all” he said.
Brennan was also asked about his arrival in Melbourne and what he hopes to achieve at South Melbourne in 2015. “I’ve been here six days now and am settling in quite well. Had three training sessions and the match today so a good start to Melbourne. This year all I want to do is play as much as I can, not aiming too high. I want to play each week and contribute to the team” he said.
South Melbourne’s next friendly is on Wednesday 14th January against Frankston Pines at Monterey Reserve. Kick off at 7:00pm.