South Melbourne FC will be looking to keep the pressure on at the top of the PS4 NPL Victoria table when they travel to Doyle Street to face Avondale FC today.
South are currently in third place on the ladder, three points behind first-placed Bentleigh (but with a game in hand) and one point behind second-placed Melbourne Knights (but with two games in hand). Following the Avondale match, South finish the home & away season with home matches against Hume City (19 August) and Northcote City (23 August). Bentleigh travel to Northcote today, before finishing the regular season at home against the Oakleigh Cannons next Sunday.
South come into the weekend on the back of two fantastic attacking performances and results. After putting Oakleigh to the sword in the Dockerty Cup final on Sunday 2 August, Nick Epifano and Milos Lujic combined for four goals last Friday 7 August as South saw off local rivals Port Melbourne 4-2 at Lakeside Stadium. The pair have 34 goals between them in all competitions this season and will be the key men in attack on the miniscule pitch at Doyle Street today.
Today’s match represents a significant hurdle for Chris Taylor’s men, given Avondale did South a great favour by holding Bentleigh to a 1-1 draw at Kingston Heath Soccer Complex last Friday night. Avondale sit in tenth position on the NPL Victoria ladder but are 13 points clear of relegation and have generally impressed in their first season in Victoria’s top flight.
Oleksiy Khrapko has scored seven goals this season to be the leading goal scorer out west, whilst former Green Gully favourite Matt Sanders is always a handful for defences.
As the home & away season draws to a close, today’s match is yet another absolute must-win game for South if they are to chase down Bentleigh in the race for the Minor Premiership and the resultant qualification for the National Premier Leagues Australia Playoffs.
This afternoon’s match against Avondale FC kicks off at 3pm at Doyle Street Reserve, Avondale Heights. Those unable to make the match can follow live updates on the Club’s Facebook and Twitter accounts by using the handles #SMFC and #PS4NPLVIC.