Photo by Skip Fulton
South Melbourne FC won the inaugural FFV Community Shield when it came back from 1-0 down to record a thrilling 1-2 victory over old rivals Melbourne Knights last Friday night.
With less than ten minutes to play, substitute Andy Brennan scored a goal with his first competitive touch for the Club to level the scores at 1-1, before Leigh Minopoulos found the back of the net deep into injury time to give South their first trophy of the 2015 season.
In treacherous conditions at Knights Stadium, it was the home side that opened the scoring after ten minutes when David Stirton couldn’t clear Stipo Andrijasevic’s powerful header off the line.
Despite the goal, Chris Taylor’s side looked settled early and should have equalised five minutes later, when Milos Lujic spurned a golden chance following a brilliant pass from Nick Epifano.
Epifano was involved in the majority of South’s attacks for the night and came close to scoring himself just before the half-time break, shooting just wide after Iqi Jawadi played a nice ball to him.
Plenty of eyes were on the former Northcote City defender Kristian Konstantinidis in his first game for the Club and the title winning defender justified his credentials with a timely clearance off the line just after the restart to prevent a certain goal.
Not long afterwards, Peter Gavalas made an excellent save to deny Andrijasevic from a long-range free kick as the Knights looked to seal the game.
South had looked likely to score throughout the match and finally found the back of the net when new recruit Brennan tapped home at the back post with his first touch in a competitive fixture for the Club.
With penalties looming, Lujic headed back across goal for Minopoulos to side-foot past Chris May and into the back of the net to claim a remarkable late victory.
Head Coach Chris Taylor was somewhat dissatisfied with his team’s performance but was happy to claim a piece of silverware so early in the season. “I was disappointed with how we played at times, particularly in the first half, but we still created enough chances to win the game and that’s what it’s all about. It’s silverware, it’s another trophy in the cabinet and that is good for everyone involved.”
South Melbourne FC President Leo Athanasakis echoed Taylor’s sentiments. “Obviously you have to win the previous season’s Championship to qualify for this game, so this is a culmination of all of last year’s hard work. We take a lot of pride in winning this trophy, because you don’t get the chance to win these that often. It’s really a bit of icing on the cake for the Club and all of the supporters.”
South Melbourne FC take on the Oakleigh Cannons at Lakeside Stadium this Thursday night in a season opening blockbuster. Tickets can be purchased at https://www.smfc.com.au/promo.