South Melbourne FC returned to winning ways with a professional 1-2 victory against a spirited ten-man Hume City side at ABD Stadium on Saturday night. Chris Taylor’s men enjoyed slices of luck but put in a solid 90 minute performance to secure a fifth consecutive league win against Hume.
The hosts put pressure on South in the opening half and had a great chance to open the scoring but Theo Markelis dragged his shot wide of Nikola Roganovic’s far post. Hume captain Nick Hegarty was looking dangerous but South’s defenders – including Kristian Konstantinidis, who had come into the team to replace captain Michael Eagar – did well to clear any dangerous balls played into the area.
The match swung majorly towards South’s favour shortly before halftime. Hume centre-half and former South captain Rama Tavsancioglu was controversially shown a second yellow card for a challenge on Milos Lujic that was only awarded as a foul by the referee when the lineswoman put her flag up. From the resulting free kick, Matthew Millar headed Nick Epifano’s free kick towards Chris Oldfield but what looked like a regulation catch for the Hume City goalkeeper somehow saw the ball go over him and into the back of the net.
Lou Acevski’s side then had a big shout for a penalty for handball by Konstantinidis from a Kofi Danning shot right on halftime but referee Lucien Laverdure judged the contact as being ball-to-hand instead of hand-to-ball and South maintained a clean sheet at the break. Hume were then punished again shortly after the hour mark when their former player Marcus Schroen pounced on Shane Rexhepi’s failed clearance to set the ball up for Millar to blast home his second goal of the night.
With a two-goal lead and the extra man on the park, it seemed that South would comfortably see the game out and win the three points but Hume kept pressing and eventually got a deserved goal. Joe Franjic met Hegarty’s pinpoint cross with a bullet header that gave Roganovic no chance and halved Hume’s deficit on the scoreboard. Although the home side had been excellent in the second half playing with ten men, South had done just enough and managed to secure all three points.
It was further good news in the Under 20s, with Brian MacNicol’s South Melbourne side coming from a goal down to defeat Hume City 1-2. Brandon Jansz (38′, 51′) scored both goals for South, who played with ten men for over half the game following Dean Nicolaidis’ red card on 41 minutes.
South finally returns to Lakeside Stadium on Sunday and will mark the occasion by hosting the Bentleigh Greens in the 2015 Grand Final rematch. Both sides are currently locked at the top of the NPL Victoria table with 13 points apiece, setting the scene for what should be a memorable match. Kick-off is at 4pm.
FINAL SCORE: HUME CITY 1-2 SOUTH MELBOURNE (HT: 0-1)
0-1: Matthew Millar (39′)
0-2: Matthew Millar (63′)
1-2: Joe Franjic (77′)
Hume City FC:
1. Chris OLDFIELD (GK), 2. Daniel CHABAANI (14. Kym HARRIS 70′), 3. Jeremy WALKER, 6. Rama TAVSANCIOGLU (sent off 38′), 7. Kofi DANNING, 8. Theo MARKELIS, 10. Joe FRANJIC, 12. Daniel CLARK (28. Hernan ESPINDOLA 60′), 13. Shane REXHEPI, 17. Shaun TIMMINS (11. Ivan PAVLAK 12′), 39. Nick HEGARTY (C).
Unused Subs: 20. Jordan FRANKEN, 21. Kristian TRACJEVSKI.
South Melbourne FC:
1. Nikola ROGANOVIC (GK) / 2. Tim MALA, 3. Kristian KONSTANTINIDIS, 5. Luke ADAMS, 11. Brad NORTON (C) (12. Amadu KOROMA 63′) / 23. Matthew FOSCHINI, 8. Mathew THEODORE (77. Stephen HATZIKOSTAS 74′) / 18. Matthew MILLAR, 17. Marcus SCHROEN, 7. Nick EPIFANO (27. Leigh MINOPOULOS 81′) / 9. Milos LUJIC.
Unused Subs: 21. Zaim ZENELI (GK), 22. Andy KECOJEVIC.
SMFC Melbourne City Toyota Man of the Match: Matthew Millar
Venue: ABD Stadium (Broadmeadows Valley Park)
Date: Saturday 2 April 2016