South Melbourne FC is within two games of qualifying for the Westfield FFA Cup Round of 32, following a clinical 8-0 victory against ten-man North Sunshine FC at Lakeside Stadium last night.
David Stirton was the star of the show for the home side after hitting a superb hat-trick, as Milos Lujic, Andy Brennan, Nick Epifano, Leigh Minopoulos and Jake Barker-Daish scored a goal each.
A strong contingent of North Sunshine fans made the journey to Lakeside Stadium in the hope that their side could cause another upset, after the State League 1 side sensationally drew 6-6 before winning on penalties against Sunshine George Cross in the previous round of the Cup in March.
Unfortunately for the travelling supporters, South Melbourne effectively won the game in the opening 21 minutes with three goals. After only five minutes, Lujic met Brennan’s cross and he tapped in the opening goal of the evening.
Brennan had been outstanding in the derby victory against the Melbourne Knights four days earlier and he continued his good form by doubling the home side’s lead ten minutes later by finishing off a tremendously slick team move.
The big Tasmanian was at the centre of a contentious decision a few minutes later, when the referee elected not to pay the advantage rule despite Brennan putting the ball in the back of the net. It mattered little, with Stirton scoring the first of his three goals from the resulting free kick.
Coach Chris Taylor made two first half substitutions, taking off Lujic and Brennan with Saturday’s League match at Hume City in mind. Minopoulos and Andy Kecojevic replaced the pair respectively.
Stirton continued the rout with his second goal of the evening six minutes before the halftime break. On 41 minutes, North Sunshine defender Besnik Kutleshi received a second yellow for hauling down Epifano in the box and was subsequently sent off. Epifano sent goalkeeper Daniel Kirkbride the wrong way as South went into the halftime break 5-0 ahead and with the extra man on the park.
South goalkeeper Nikola Roganovic made a couple of good saves early in the second half as the Eagles threatened the South goal on a few occasions, however the result never looked in doubt.
Leigh Minopoulos struck on the hour to reaffirm South’s dominance, before Stirton completed his hat-trick a short time later with a nice shot from long range. Barker-Daish scored his first goal for the club with a brilliant strike in injury time to cap off an impressive team effort.
Post-match, Stirton was stoked to have scored his first goals in front of the home fans at Lakeside Stadium, whilst also noting the ruthlessness of the team’s performance. “I’m pretty proud. It’s great (for me) to get a few goals away, especially for the first time at a home game. They (North Sunshine) have done well to get to this point but I think we played good football tonight, took our chances and put in a really good performance.”
The draw for the next round of the Westfield FFA Cup is this Friday at 12pm.
South Melbourne FC returns to PlayStation 4 NPL Victoria action on the weekend, with a trip to ABD Stadium in Broadmeadows on Saturday evening to play Hume City. Kick-off is at 7pm.
FINAL SCORE: SOUTH MELBOURNE 8-0 NORTH SUNSHINE EAGLES (HT: 5-0)
1-0: Milos Lujic (5’)
2-0: Andy Brennan (15’)
3-0: David Stirton (21’)
4-0: David Stirton (39’)
5-0: Nick Epifano (41’p)
6-0: Leigh Minopoulos (60’)
7-0: David Stirton (66’)
8-0: Jake Barker-Daish (90’)
South Melbourne FC:
1. Nikola ROGANOVIC (GK), 4. Michael EAGAR (C), 5. Luke ADAMS, 6. Bonel Obradovic, 7. Nick EPIFANO, 9. Milos LUJIC (27. Leigh MINOPOULOS 21’), 10. David STIRTON, 11. Brad NORTON, 12. Iqi JAWADI, 17. Andy BRENNAN (23. Andy KECOJEVIC 41’), 21. Jake BARKER-DAISH.
Unused subs: 28. Rory BRIAN, 8. Mathew THEODORE, 13. Dane MILOVANOVIC.
North Sunshine Eagles:
30. Daniel KIRKBRIDE (GK) (1. Amet MUSOSKI 46’), 2. Raul ISAC (6. Saul MEMISHI 46’), 3. Besnik KUTLESHI, 4. Miles SHANNON, 5. Feta MEMISHI (C), 7. Adriyan BEKTASH (9. Paul DICKIE 46’), 8. Daniel DRAGOVIC, 11. Diellon MEMISHI, 12. Lewis SHANNON, 14. Arben ISAI, 16. Fitim FERZULLA.
Unused Subs: 10. David DUDAJ, 15. Frankie BARILLA.
Fix Hellas Beer Man of the Match: David Stirton
Venue: Lakeside Stadium
Date: Wednesday 15 April 2015
Photo by Cindy Nitsos