South Melbourne FC will be looking for a return to winning ways in the league when it welcomes Northcote City to Lakeside Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Chris Taylor’s side quickly overcame the heavy derby loss to Heidelberg last Sunday by defeating NPL 2 side North Geelong in their Sixth Round FFA Cup match on Wednesday night. South remains on top of the PS4 NPL Victoria ladder by a single point and will want a win over Northcote to maintain that position.
Goran Lozanovski recently returned as Northcote’s coach and the results have slowly improved, with Northcote picking up two wins and a draw from their last six league matches. Despite the positive results, Northcote are still in last place on the NPL Victoria ladder but did enjoy a 3-0 win over Melbourne Victory’s NPL team last Saturday. Two-time South NSL Championship winner Lozanovski will use last weekend’s win as confidence going into Sunday’s meeting against his former side, who have struggled in matches against the lower-ranker NPL Victoria sides in 2016.
Zaim Zeneli and Tim Mala played the full 90 minutes in the cup win mid-week and with the continued absence of Luke Adams (international duty) and Kristian Konstantinidis (injury), Mala may play at centre-half again on Sunday. Zeneli played in goal due on Wednesday night to Nikola Roganovic pulling up sore in the pre-game warm-up and it remains to be seen whether he will retain his place. Zeneli has done his selection chances no harm, keeping two clean sheets in his two appearances this season.
Sunday’s match is also the first time that South’s senior men’s and women’s teams have featured in a double-header at Lakeside Stadium since the ‘One Club Policy’ was ratified at the club’s Annual General Meeting in March. The Senior Women will host Melbourne University at 1pm, with the Senior Men’s match to kick off at 4pm. Following the conclusion of the Men’s game, SMFC and Football Federation Australia will host the Greek National Team’s training session at Lakeside Stadium.
SMFC v Northcote City – Head to Head (League & Finals)
Matches Played: 14
Wins (SMFC): 5
Wins (NCFC): 5
First match: Northcote City 3-3 South Melbourne (13 March 2010, John Cain Reserve)
Last match: Northcote City 0-4 South Melbourne (27 February 2016, John Cain Reserve)
Biggest Winning Margin (SMFC): 4-0 (27 February 2016, John Cain Reserve)
Biggest Winning Margin (NCFC): 5-0 (08 May 2011, John Cain Reserve / 13 October 2013, Anderson Reserve)
Most Goals in a Match (SMFC): 4 (4-0 win, 27 February 2016, John Cain Reserve)
Most Goals in a Match (NCFC): 5 (2011, 2013)
Biggest Finals Win (SMFC): None
Biggest Finals Win (NCFC): 5-0 (13 October 2013, SS Anderson Reserve)