South Melbourne FC defeated Dandenong Thunder 0-1 at George Andrews Reserve on Saturday night to make it three 0-1 wins at the venue in their last three visits across all competitions.
South Melbourne enjoyed comfortable 5-0 wins against the Dandenong Thunder at Lakeside Stadium in 2014 and earlier this season, however Chris Taylor’s side had been made to work very hard for both of their 0-1 wins at George Andrews Reserve in 2014 (in both the PS4 NPL Victoria and the Dockerty Cup). Saturday night’s match was no different, with the home side very unlucky not to score.
Fraser MacLaren – who arrived at Lakeside Stadium from Kingston City during the recent transfer window – started in goal for South, after regular custodian Nikola Roganovic received a one-match suspension for his sending off against the Melbourne Knights in the FFA Cup last week. Also starting for South was new signing Andy Bevin, who arrived from the Seattle Sounders during the week.
Yusuf Ahmed had enjoyed a fantastic first half of the 2015 season and toyed with South with some excellent build-up play for Dandenong during the first half. Ahmed created the first genuine chance of the match when he got behind the South defenders but MacLaren intervened and made a good save to deny him from opening the scoring.
Jawadi then scored what proved to be the winning goal just before the halftime break when he made space for himself before firing an unstoppable shot past Zaim Zeneli from the edge of the area. It was Jawadi’s fourth League goal in 2015 and his second against his former side.
It was deja vu early in the second half, when MacLaren again had to make an important block to deny Ahmed and the home side from scoring. MacLaren was then called upon to make an awkward yet smart save, running back and tipping Brodie Paterson’s long-range lob over his crossbar and out for a corner kick.
Dandenong piled on the pressure in the final fifteen minutes yet South’s defenders kept finding ways to deny the home side an equalising goal. The final whistle brought sheer relief as Taylor’s side extended its winning run against Dandenong Thunder to six consecutive matches across all competitions.
The news was not as good in the Under 20s, as the Dandenong Thunder defeated South Melbourne 2-0.
South’s next match is the all-important FFA Cup Round 7 match against the Frankston Pines at Lakeside Stadium this Wednesday night, with kick-off at 7:30pm. The winner of this match will qualify for both the Westfield FFA Cup Round of 32 proper as well as the semi finals of the Dockerty Cup.
FINAL SCORE: DANDENONG THUNDER 0-1 SOUTH MELBOURNE (HT: 0-1)
0-1: Iqi Jawadi (44′)
1. Zaim ZENELI (GK), 2. Jarryd BARNES, 3. Rama TAVSANCIOGLU, 4. Adam PETKO, 5. Faisal SAKHIZADA, 7. Yusuf AHMED, 9. Veton KORCARI (22. James GOULOPOULOS 72′), 11. Timmy PURCELL, 12. Brendan ELMAZOVSKI (C), 14. Brodie PATERSON (10. Feston AZIZI 77′), 15. Nelson SALVATORE.
South Melbourne FC:
22. Fraser MacLaren (GK), 2. Tim MALA (6. Tom LAKIC 77′), 4. Michael EAGAR (C), 5. Luke ADAMS, 7. Nick EPIFANO, 8. Mathew THEODORE, 9. Milos LUJIC, 11. Brad NORTON, 12. Iqi JAWADI, 16. Andy BEVIN (14. Chris IRWIN 56′), 27. Leigh MINOPOULOS (21. Jake BARKER-DAISH 68′).
SMFC Man of the Match: Fraser MacLaren
Venue: George Andrews Reserve
Date: Saturday 13 June 2015