South Melbourne FC climbed to top spot of the NPL Victoria table, following a hard earned 2-1 derby win over Melbourne Knights on Friday night.
South started the brighter of the two sides, with numerous chances being wasted in a dominant 25-minute spell at the start of the half.
It wasn’t until Marcus Schroen’s speculative long rang effort in the 28th minute that saw South hit the lead. Schroen, who has found his goal scoring touch over the past few weeks, hit a left footed drive from 30 yards and despite taking a slight deflection, found itself into the top corner.
This would be enough to see South head into the break with a deserved 1-0 lead.
To their credit, the desperate Knights came out for the second half seeking an equaliser to try and claw themselves out of the relegation play off spot. They had numerous opportunities through Harris and Cahill to open the scoring, with the latter striking the bar.
The more bizarre moment of the second half came fifteen minutes from time, when South were awarded a penalty for Ben Surry grabbing the ball in the area. Prior to this, Surrey, along with the rather loud Knights fans claimed that Milos Lujic had handballed the ball prior to this. South fans would also argue, Milos may have been pushed prior to handling the ball. Regardless, after consulting with the fourth official, the referee reversed the decision, with no penalty awarded.
South however would ice the game minutes later when a brilliant Nick Epifano run, would culminate in a sublime cross into the path of Lujic. As with most derby matches of late, Lujic would score against the Knights to give the club three points.
With Heidelberg being defeated by Hume, the win would also see South reach top spot for the second time this season.
South will now travel to the tricky ABD Stadium in Broadmeadows for a tough away clash on Saturday night against Hume City. Kick-off is at 7pm.
Luvarc Player of the Match – Nick Epifano