South Melbourne FC won through to the Fifth Round of the Dockerty Cup / Westfield FFA Cup qualifying with a comfortable 0-5 victory in the Fourth Round against Whittlesea United at Thomas Street Reserve on Saturday afternoon.
Several changes were made to the line-up that defeated Werribee City the previous weekend, with Mathew Theodore, Cody Martindale, Andy Brennan and Leigh Minopoulos all starting. David Stirton, Tim Mala and Nick Epifano were all rested. Centre-half Kristian Konstantinidis – who limped off at halftime at Werribee after coming off worse for wear in a tackle against him – will sadly be out of action for at least three months following medical advice received during the week.
South started the match strongly against a side five divisions below them in Victorian football, however the State League 3 based Whittlesea United battled bravely in the opening half hour. Their defence, led by their captain and South Melbourne NSL and VPL Championship player Tansel Baser, worked hard to keep out any chances created by South. Baser almost gave the home side a shock lead after fifteen minutes with a fine shot from a free kick that hit Nikola Roganovic’s crossbar. The 36 year old was Whittlesea United’s best player on the park and led by example all afternoon.
The away side opened the scoring eight minutes before halftime, when Brad Norton’s perfect cross from the left side was met by Milos Lujic and the centre-forward made no mistake by heading the ball into the back of the net. South doubled its advantage right on the 45th minute when Brennan was put through on goal and he neatly tucked the ball past goalkeeper for his second goal of the season across all competitions.
Theodore – making his first appearance for the Club in 2015 following hip surgery in the off-season – sealed the victory only six minutes after the halftime break with a low left-footed drive from the edge of the area. With just over twenty minutes remaining, centre-half Luke Adams found himself unmarked and scored his first goal for South with a header from a corner kick. With fifteen minutes remaining, Iqi Jawadi took on several Whittlesea United defenders before hitting a shot that the goalkeeper could only parry into the path of substitute Kecojevic to score his first ever goal for South Melbourne, with the youngster very pleased with the occasion.
With ten minutes remaining, coach Chris Taylor made a goalkeeping change and substituted Roganovic to give 16 year old Rory Brian his debut for the Senior side. With Kecojevic also 16 years old and playing very well on the field, Taylor proved that he is prepared to give opportunities to the younger players when possible.
South Melbourne FC returns to PlayStation 4 NPL Victoria action this Friday night (20 March), with a tough test against the Bentleigh Greens at Kingston Heath Soccer Complex. Kick-off is at 8:15pm.
FINAL SCORE: WHITTLESEA UNITED 0-5 SOUTH MELBOURNE (HT: 0-2)
0-1: Milos Lujic (37′)
0-2: Andy Brennan (45′)
0-3: Mathew Theodore (51′)
0-4: Luke Adams (69′)
0-5: Andy Kecojevic (75′)
Starting XI: Goksal GULER (GK), Daniel CHIODO, Taner KORKMAZ, Zafer AYGUN, Tansel BASER (C), Alptekin KALAYCI, Kadir IRFANOGLU, Yasin SAHIN, Sinan MIRIK, Emin SELE, Ugur YILDIZ.
Substitutes: Metekan YILMAZ, Josh ABAK, Fatih OZTAS.
South Melbourne FC:
1. Nikola ROGANOVIC (GK) (22. Rory BRIAN 81′), 4. Michael EAGAR (C), 5. Luke ADAMS, 6. Bonel OBRADOVIC (13. Dane MILOVANOVIC 52′), 8. Mathew THEODORE (23. Andy KECOJEVIC 55′), 9. Milos LUJIC, 11. Brad NORTON, 12. Iqi JAWADI, 15. Cody MARTINDALE, 17. Andy BRENNAN, 27. Leigh MINOPOULOS.
Fix Hellas Man of the Match: Brad Norton
Venue: Thomas Street Reserve
Date: Saturday 14 March 2015