(Photo by Cindy Nitsos)
South Melbourne FC and Hume City played out a thrilling 2-2 draw in an action-packed Round 19 PS4 NPL Victoria match at Lakeside Stadium on Friday night. It was the first time since September 2014 that Chris Taylor’s side had drawn a league match at Lakeside, with Friday’s result keeping South at the top of the NPL Victoria ladder by one point.
Hume should have had an early lead following a poor back-pass from Luke Adams but Nikola Roganovic raced out to block Craig Carley’s shot. Theo Markelis then sent South a warning with a clever chipped shot from outside the box that Roganovic tipped over, before Kristian Trajcevski opened the scoring for the away side with a nice finish past Roganovic that went in off the far post.
Milos Lujic had an earlier one-on-one chance with Hume goalkeeper Chris Oldfield saved but got his side back on level terms deep into first half injury time after the referee spotted a handball in the area. Lujic tucked his penalty past Oldfield for his 61st league goal in South Melbourne colours, seeing him overtake Michael Curcija in outright seventh position on South’s all-time leading league goal scorers of all time.
South had Matthew Foschini to thank for a desperate goal-line clearance to deny Hume, before Taylor made a double-change just before the hour mark to bring captain Michael Eagar and Spanish forward Manolo onto the field. On 78 minutes, Manolo worked himself into a good crossing position on the near grandstand side before providing a perfect cross for Lujic to clip over Oldfield and into the back of the net, sparking wild celebrations by the players and the home fans.
South had done the hard work to edge the advantage after initial being 0-1 down but the hard work was undone straight from the kick-off. Hume worked the ball down the right side before the ball was fired to an unmarked Markelis to tap home at the back post, setting up a grandstand finish to the match. An all-in scruffle erupted between the players following a foul on Marcus Schroen that saw right-back Tim Mala shown a straight red card by the referee. Members of both team’s coaching staff were also sent off with emotions very high on the pitch.
With only ten men, it was expected that South would sit back and be content with a 2-2 draw. That was not the case, as South created three very late chances that would have dramatically won them the match. Former South captain Rama Tavsancioglu cleared the ball off the goal line before Lujic was put through on goal and beat Oldfield but the ball trickled agonisingly wide of the far post. With the match deep into the five minutes of injury time, Schroen hit an unstoppable shot from outside the area that left Oldfield rooted to the spot but the ball smashed into the crossbar and stayed out as the match ended 2-2.
South’s Under 20s started brilliantly against Hume thanks to Giordano Marafioti’s goal after just 19 seconds. Unfortunately, Hume scored two goals of their own in the second half to defeat Brian MacNicol’s side 1-2.
South heads to Kingston Heath Soccer Complex next Friday night for what is undoubtedly the match of the round against the Bentleigh Greens. With just a single point separating the two sides on the league table, Bentleigh will overtake South in first place should they win but South will remain on top by avoiding defeat.
FINAL SCORE: SOUTH MELBOURNE 2-2 HUME CITY (HT: 1-1)
0-1: Kristian Trajcevski (33′)
1-1: Milos Lujic (45+3’p)
2-1: Milos Lujic (78′)
2-2: Theo Markelis (80′)
South Melbourne FC:
1. Nikola ROGANOVIC (GK) / 12. Amadu KOROMA (4. Michael EAGAR 57′), 2. Tim MALA (sent off 84′), 5. Luke ADAMS, 11. Brad NORTON (C) / 23. Matthew Foschini, 18. Matthew MILLAR / 17. Marcus SCHROEN, 22. Andy KECOJEVIC (15. Manuel HERRERO 57′), 7. Nick EPIFANO/ 9. Milos LUJIC.
Unused Subs: 21. Zaim ZENELI (GK), 27. Leigh MINOPOULOS, 99. Iqi JAWADI.
Hume City FC:
1. Chris OLDFIELD (GK), 3. Jeremy WALKER, 5. Petar FRANJIC, 6. Rama TAVSANCIOGLU, 8. Theo MARKELIS, 9. Tom CAHILL, 11. Craig CARLEY, 13. Shane REXHEPI (C), 17. Daniel DIXON (15. Charlie BEVERLEY 62′), 19. Declan HARGREAVES, 21. Kristian TRAJCEVSKI (12. Daniel CLARKE 70′).
Unused Subs: 10. Joe FRANJIC, 14. Kym HARRIS, 20. Jordan FRANKEN (GK).
SMFC Melbourne City Toyota Man of the Match: Matthew Foschini
Venue: Lakeside Stadium
Date: Friday 1 July 2016