South Melbourne will have a score to settle tonight when it travels to Jack Edwards Reserve to take on rivals Oakleigh Cannons.
In this fixture last season, Oakleigh won 3-0 to end South’s undefeated streak. The circumstances are similar this time around, with South currently enjoying a 19 game unbeaten run in the league that extends back to round 20 of the 2014 season.
The top two sides of last campaign could not have had more contrasting starts to the 2015 season. South are now on the same amount of points as this time last year, and come into this match full of confidence after two important victories last week against Dandenong Thunder and Northcote City.
Milos Lujic was once again at the forefront of both victories, netting the opener against Thunder before heading home a memorable late winner in the clash with Northcote. The big striker is showing no signs of slowing down, having scored 13 goals in all competitions this season.
Oakleigh, on the other hand, have struggled to find their best football this year and are currently languishing in 12th place, a point above the relegation zone.
The Cannons parted ways with former coach Miron Blieberg recently, with Arthur Papas taking over as head coach. Papas recorded wins against North Geelong and Dandenong in his first two games in charge, however the side has since struggled with consecutive 2-1 losses to Bentleigh Greens and Werribee.
The Cannons’ squad remains full of talent, however, with former South players Goran Zoric and Dusnan Bosnjak both capable of scoring goals in attack. Oakleigh will be without star Ben Clarke, after the winger’s dismissal against Bentleigh last weekend.
When these two sides met in the NPL’s season opener, South took the spoils 1-0 in a tight game at the Lakeside. As always against Oakleigh, form and ladder positions can be thrown out the window, with a tight game expected between two of Victorian football’s modern day heavyweights.
The clash between South Melbourne and Oakleigh Cannons kicks off at 8.30pm at Jack Edwards Reserve in Oakleigh. Those unable to make the match can follow proceedings on the club’s Facebook and Twitter accounts, using the handles #SMFC and #PS4NPLVIC.