Photo by Anita Milas
South Melbourne FC made a winning start to its National Premier League Victoria title defence after narrowly defeating the Oakleigh Cannons 1-0 at Lakeside Stadium last Thursday night. An own goal from Oakleigh defender Adam Le Cornu in the first half was enough to secure the points for South in a hard-fought match played in front of 3523 spectators.
In the NPL Victoria’s opening match for 2015, the two top sides of the 2014 campaign battled hard to create chances in a game where no player was easily afforded time on the ball.
Dean Piemonte had a chance to put Oakleigh ahead early in the match, however he hit his shot tamely into the arms of new South goalkeeper Nikola Roganovic.
South took the lead in the 23rd minute after Milos Lujic’s shot was saved by John Honos before ricocheting off Le Cornu and into the back of the net.
Following the goal, Chris Taylor’s men were forced onto the back foot for large periods of the game. Playing the only side they failed to beat in the League in 2014, South was resolute in defence against an Oakleigh side that was applying plenty of pressure.
Milos Lujic had a difficult chance to put the game beyond doubt in the 75th minute, when the star striker attempted a difficult bicycle kick that was saved by Honos in goal.
Roganovic was instrumental in keeping the three points safe for the home side. In stoppage time, the goalkeeper firstly made an acrobatic save to deny the Cannons from a free kick and then made a sensational reflex save from the resulting corner. Kristian Konstantinidis cleared another shot off the line to ensure that the three points remained at Lakeside Stadium.
South Melbourne FC travel to Geelong this weekend to play the newly-promoted North Geelong Warriors. The match kicks off at 5PM on Saturday 28 February.
FINAL SCORE: SOUTH MELBOURNE 1-0 OAKLEIGH CANNONS (HT: 1-0)
Goal Scorer: Le Cornu Own Goal (23’)
South Melbourne FC:
1. Nikola ROGANOVIC (GK), 2. Tim MALA, 3. Kristian KONSTANTINIDIS, 4. Michael EAGAR (C), 5. Luke ADAMS, 7. Nick EPIFANO, 9. Milos LUJIC, 11. Brad NORTON, 20. David STIRTON (13. Dane MILOVANOVIC 59’), 22. Iqi JAWADI, 27. Leigh MINOPOULOS (17. Andy BRENNAN 73’).
76. John HONOS (GK), 2. Adrian CHIAPETTA, 4. Brian VANEGA (8. Dusan BOSNJAK 50’), 6. Steve PANTELIDIS, 7. Ben CLARKE, 10. Dean PIEMONTE (15. Jake McLEAN 70’), 11. Evan CHRISTODOULOU (C) (12. Tremayne SADLER 80’), 18. Adam LE CORNU, 19. Goran ZORIC, 23. Dominic D’ANGELO, 26. Lambros HONOS.
SMFC Man of the Match: Nikola Roganovic
Venue: Lakeside Stadium
Date: Thursday 19 February 2015