South Melbourne FC

The Blue and White Forever

Bentleigh too strong for depleted South outfit

Bentleigh too strong for depleted South outfit

South Melbourne FC’s two year unbeaten PlayStation 4 NPL Victoria run at Lakeside Stadium has ended following a 0-1 defeat to Bentleigh Greens on Sunday evening.

Chris Lucas’ second half goal consigned an undermanned South Melbourne to its first League loss at home since a 1-4 loss against Bentleigh on 21 July 2013.

South pushed hard for an equaliser but ultimately came up short against a strong Bentleigh defence, with Brad Norton’s late dismissal capping a sour night for the reigning champions.

In a match that pitted the League’s top two sides against each other, South were without two key players in defender Luke Adams and in-form winger Nick Epifano.

Nevertheless, Chris Taylor’s men acquitted themselves well in a tight first half. Milos Lujic had the game’s first chance when he headed over the bar from Tim Mala’s cross.

Nikola Roganovic made a great one-on-one save on the stroke of half-time to prevent Lucas from scoring. Leigh Minopoulos came on at half-time, replacing Mathew Theodore, who was suffering from the effects of concussion.

The game opened up when Lucas scrambled home a goal following a Bentleigh set piece, bundling the ball in the back of the net after Troy Ruthven’s header.

With South pushing for an equaliser, Liam McCormick had a tremendous chance to put the game beyond doubt for the visitors but blazed a header over the bar from point blank range.

Nikola Roganovic made another great save not long after to deny Lucas a second goal and keep the score at 0-1. Stephen Hatzikostas came off the bench to play his first minutes of the season following a lengthy injury layoff and received a warm reception from the home crowd.

In the dying minutes, Lujic headed straight at Alistair Bray as South failed to break through a resolute Greens defence.

Brad Norton’s second yellow card in the third minute of injury time capped a disappointing night.

Coach Chris Taylor was disappointed with the way his side conceded and pointed to Mathew Theodore’s substitution as a turning point in the game. “With the three or four changes we were forced into from last week, I thought we set ourselves quite well. It was a pretty even first half. Theodore with concussion had to come off at half-time, which probably changed the game. A bit disappointed with the goal we conceded, a set play. We’re not used to doing that.”

Taylor was also disappointed with Norton’s dismissal, with his side now short on defenders. Norton will miss next Friday night’s clash with Heidelberg United, which takes place at Lakeside Stadium at 8:30pm.

In the Under 20s, Nick Morton’s late goal gave South Melbourne a 1-0 victory over the Bentleigh Greens.


Goal Scorer:
0-1: Chris Lucas (53′)

South Melbourne FC:
1. Nikola ROGANOVIC (GK), 2. Tim MALA, 4. Michael EAGAR (C), 6. Thomas LAKIC (13. Stephen HATZIKOSTAS 83’), 8. Mathew THEODORE (27. Leigh MINOPOULOS 46’), 9. Milos LUJIC, 11. Brad NORTON (sent off 90+3′), 12. Iqi JAWADI, 14. Chris IRWIN (16. Andy BEVIN 62’), 21. Jake BARKER-DAISH, 23. Andy KECOJEVIC.

Unused Subs: 10. David STIRTON, 22. Fraser MacLAREN (GK).

Bentleigh Greens:
21. Alastair BRAY (GK), 4. Troy RUTHVEN, 5. Jack WEBSTER, 6. Liam McCORMICK, 9. Chris LUCAS, 10. Tyson HOLMES, 11. Dion KIRK, 19. Daniel VISEVIC, 23. Ryan DE VRIES, 24. Luke PILKINGTON, 36. Steven TOPALOVIC.

Unused Subs: 1. Ryan SCOTT (GK), 7. Jamie DE ABREU, 8. Wayne WALLACE, 16. Luke O’DEA, 17. Ryan LOVE.

SMFC FIX Hellas Beer Man of the Match: Michael Eagar
Venue: Lakeside Stadium
Date: Sunday 28 June 2015

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