South Melbourne FC has claimed an eighth Dockerty Cup triumph in its history after putting in a sublime team performance to defeat the Oakleigh Cannons 3-0 in the final at Lakeside Stadium on Sunday.
Two goals from Milos Lujic and another to Leigh Minopoulos, all after the half time break, delivered South its second piece of silverware in 2015 and a first Dockerty Cup Championship since 1995.
The win was the perfect way to avenge Wednesday night’s FFA Cup loss to the Palm Beach Sharks on the Gold Coast and was South’s third trophy since Chris Taylor took charge of the Club in mid-2013.
Lambros Honos had a fantastic chance to put Oakleigh ahead on the half hour mark when he went through on goal, however he was denied by an excellent one-on-one save from Nikola Roganovic. The save was the only clear cut chance for either side in a tight first half, with space in attacking areas hard to come by.
South won the game with a sensational burst immediately after the break, scoring three goals in the space of fourteen minutes to seal victory. Firstly, a brilliant backheel from Leigh Minopoulos put the ball on a platter for Lujic to score the first goal of the final on 47 minutes. Minopoulos raced onto a Nick Epifano pass and flicked it back into space for Lujic to find the back of the net with ease.
The big striker then sent the South fans into raptures when he scored again four minutes later with a thumping header from an Epifano corner. Lujic continued his penchant for delivering in the big games and has scored a staggering 21 goals across all competitions this season.
South sealed the result on the hour mark, with Minopoulos getting on the scoresheet after some great work from Iqi Jawadi. The tenacious midfielder dispossessed Steve Pantelidis and made a mazy run into the box before slipping the ball for Minopoulos to fire home from point blank range.
In addition to his two goals, Lujic also picked up the Jimmy Mackay Medal as Man of the Match.
Taylor praised the character of his side after a difficult week and said that the first twenty minutes of the game was the main focus heading into the final.
“After the disappointing week we had, the boys showed a lot of character out there.”
“Pre-game we just focused on the first twenty minutes. We just said that we wanted to match them for endeavour and intensity and then see how we progressed from there.”
“At the half time break, I felt we had to move the ball around quicker. We did that in the second half and the result came. I think it was probably our best half of football for the season.”
“This group has got very very good character. It’s been a difficult season for us with injuries, suspensions, boys going away on trial and those sort of things. We’re still a chance to come away with a few trophies at the end of it all, which is great.”
South defeated rivals Melbourne Knights, Heidelberg and Oakleigh on its way to lifting the Dockerty Cup trophy. South now has eight Dockerty Cup triumphs, having previously won the competition back in 1974, 1975, 1988, 1989, 1991, 1993 and 1995.
FINAL SCORE: SOUTH MELBOURNE 3-0 OAKLEIGH CANNONS (HT: 0-0)
1-0: Milos Lujic (47’)
2-0: Milos Lujic (51’)
3-0: Leigh Minopoulos (59’)
South Melbourne FC:
1. Nikola ROGANOVIC (GK), 2. Tim MALA, 4. Michael EAGAR (C), 5. Luke ADAMS, 7. Nick EPIFANO, 8. Mathew THEODORE, 9. Milos LUJIC, 11. Brad NORTON, 12. Iqi JAWADI, 27. Leigh MINOPOULOS, 77. Stephen HATZIKOSTAS.
Unused Subs: 22. Fraser MacLAREN (GK), 6. Tom LAKIC, 10. David STIRTON, 21. Jake BARKER-DAISH, 23. Andy KECOJEVIC.
Yellow Cards: None.
16. John HONOS (GK) (C), 4. John BLACK, 6. Steve PANTELIDIS, 11. Kofi DANNING, 12. Tremayne SADLER, 14. Mirjan PAVLOVIC, 15. Jake McLEAN (8. Dusan BOSNJAK 53’), 16. Sean ROONEY, 18. Adam LE CORNU (23. Theo PAPAGEORGIOU 73’), 22. Matthew FOSCHINI (5. Aron WILFORD 59’), 26. Lampros HONOS.
Unused Subs: 35. Lajos HUN (GK), 25. Delarno PHAROE.
Yellow Cards: Foschini (55’).
SMFC Fix Hellas Beer Man of the Match: Milos Lujic
Venue: Lakeside Stadium
Date: Sunday 2 August 2015