South Melbourne FC will be looking to get back on the winners list tonight when they host PlayStation 4 NPL Victoria newcomers Avondale FC at Lakeside Stadium.
South left it late to draw 2-2 with Port Melbourne in their previous outing, scoring deep into injury time to salvage a point that had seemed unlikely. Brad Norton was the scorer of that goal, while centre-half Luke Adams also got on the score sheet to complete an unlikely goal scoring duo.
Chris Taylor’s side are two points off the top of the NPL Victoria table. South is equal on points with the Bentleigh Greens and are just behind League leaders Heidelberg, who missed the opportunity to extend their lead at the top of the ladder when they drew 0-0 with bottom placed North Geelong last Saturday. South still hold a game in hand over the Bergers, with their catch-up game against Dandenong Thunder scheduled to take place next Tuesday.
Dynamic forward David Stirton trained strongly during the week and may be available for the clash, having missed the last two matches with a groin injury. Mathew Theodore missed the Port Melbourne game with soreness but will be in contention to return to the team tonight.
South remain undefeated across all competitions in 2015, with seven wins and three draws to show in the League thus far. Whilst not on par with their incredible eleven game winning run to start the 2014 season, Chris Taylor’s men have shown the ability to win ugly so far this campaign, a trait shared by many Championship winning teams. Five of South’s seven victories in the League have been by a margin of one goal, with three 1-0 wins.
This is the type of score Avondale became famous for last season. The 2014 NPL1 Champions were promoted to Victoria’s top flight on the back of an outstanding defensive season in which they kept eleven clean sheets.
Avondale are currently in eighth position on the table but come into this clash on the back of a 2-0 defeat by Bentleigh last weekend.
Oleksiy Khrapko has scored almost half of Avondale’s goals in the League this year, including a stunning hat-trick against Dandenong Thunder a few weeks back. The Ukrainian born striker looms as the danger man for the visitors, which will include multiple VPL title winner Jeff Fleming in its line-up.
Tonight’s match will be the first ever meeting between South Melbourne and Avondale FC.
The match kicks off at 8:15pm at Lakeside Stadium, with the Under 20s match postponed until a later date to allow for the pitch to recover. Those unable to make the match can follow proceedings on the club’s Facebook and Twitter accounts, using the handles #SMFC and #PS4NPLVIC.