South Melbourne FC plays the first of two consecutive PS4 NPL Victoria matches at Knights Stadium when it travels there to face Avondale FC on Friday night.
Avondale is using Knights Stadium as its home base in 2016 and will welcome the challenge of hosting South. Anthony Barbieri’s side lost their opening five matches in 2016 but have steadied and go into Friday’s game having won four matches in a row across all competitions. This includes three league wins and a 5-1 thumping of South Springvale in FFA Cup qualifying, elevating Avondale out of the relegation zone and into ninth place on the league standings.
Avondale have a wealth of experience in their team, with players such as Massimo Murdocca, Chris May, Jeffrey Fleming, Jonatan Germano, Matthew Sanders and Spase Dilevski having either been involved in the national league in recent times or having many years of experience playing in Victoria’s top flight. One player in good form has been Oleksiy Khrapko, who scored Avondale’s first goal in the 2-1 win at Port Melbourne last round.
South also goes into the game in excellent form, having defeated Melbourne Victory’s NPL team 1-0 at Lakeside Stadium last Sunday to confirm five straight wins across all competitions. Milos Lujic scored the winning goal with an excellent header as South remained on top of the NPL Victoria ladder. Chris Taylor’s side will be wanting a sixth straight win in order to maintain their position at the top of the tree ahead of the derby against the Melbourne Knights next week.
With a recent heavy schedule of three games in seven days possibly starting to take its toll on his players, it will be interesting to see if Taylor gives other squad members a chance against Avondale.
Friday night’s match kicks off at 8:15pm at Knights Stadium.
SMFC v Avondale – Head to Head
Matches Played: 2
Wins (SMFC): 2
Wins (Avondale): 0
First match: SMFC 1-0 Avondale FC (8 May 2015, Lakeside Stadium)
Last match: Avondale FC 0-7 SMFC (15 August 2015, Doyle Street Reserve)
Biggest Winning Margin (SMFC): 7 goals (7-0 win, 15 August 2015, Doyle Street Reserve)
Biggest Winning Margin (Avondale): None
Most Goals in a Match (SMFC): 7 (7-0 win, 15 August 2015, Doyle Street Reserve)
Most Goals in a Match (Avondale): 0
Biggest Finals Win (SMFC): None
Biggest Finals Win (Avondale): None