South Melbourne FC hosts eighth-placed Pascoe Vale at Lakeside Stadium on Friday night as they look to keep up the pressure at the top of the PlayStation 4 NPL Victoria table.
South enjoyed a fantastic series of results last week. Chris Taylor’s side followed up the derby win against the Melbourne Knights with an 8-0 drubbing of North Sunshine FC in the FFA Cup, before triumphing 1-0 in a gritty performance at Hume City last Saturday night.
South sit just two points behind Heidelberg United in second spot on the PS4 NPL Victoria ladder but hold a game in hand over their old foes. A win against Pascoe Vale would lift the men in blue to top spot ahead of Heidelberg’s meeting with the third-placed Melbourne Knights on Sunday afternoon.
The win against Hume last Saturday night was one that cannot be underestimated given the strength of the opposition and the difficulty of the conditions at Broadmeadows. In a superb defensive effort, South were able to record their third clean sheet in four outings, with Tim Mala in particular outstanding at the right side of defence. Mala and co will be looking to produce a similar performance this week in front of their home fans at Lakeside Stadium and against a Pascoe Vale side that contains a number of dangerous attacking options.
Pascoe Vale’s Jake Nakic has scored four times from six appearances in the League this season and the former Melbourne Victory youth captain is one of the most dangerous players in the League if given space to showcase his dribbling abilities. After losing their first four games, Pascoe Vale come into this clash on the back of four successive wins and have scored ten goals in their previous three games.
For the home side, Milos Lujic scored in all three fixtures last week and last season’s Golden Boot winner again shapes as the key man up front. Andy Brennan didn’t score against Hume but looked dangerous every time going forward. Nick Epifano will miss the match following a club imposed suspension, meaning one of Mathew Theodore, Andy Kecojevic or Leigh Minopoulos will return to the starting line-up. David Stirton, who was subbed at half-time following a groin injury against Hume, is expected to be fit for the match.
South Melbourne have won the past three encounters against Pascoe Vale, including both games last season (1-0 at Lakeside Stadium on Sunday 18 May and 3-0 at Hosken Reserve on Friday 1 August).
Friday night’s match against Pascoe Vale kicks off at 8:15pm at Lakeside Stadium. Those unable to make the match can follow proceedings on the Club’s Facebook and Twitter accounts, using the handles #SMFC and #NPLVIC.