Oakleigh ends South's unbeaten run with 2-0 win
By Damir Kulas (@DamirKulas)
Oakleigh Cannons have ended South Melbourne’s undefeated start to the season with a well-earned 2-0 victory over their rivals at Jack Edwards Reserve on Friday night.
Goals to Lambros Honos and new signing Mirjan Pavlovic proved to be the difference on a horror night for the visitors in which they lost Dane Milovanovic to injury and had Michael Eagar sent-off late on.
Coming into the clash, Oakleigh was looking to bounce back after two successive defeats whereas South were looking to maintain their position as league leaders and keep intact an unbeaten streak which stretched back to September last year.
A timid opening to the game saw Milovanovic have the first shot in anger when his strong hit from range went wide of the post as the visitors looked to pinch an early opener.
Teammate Nick Epifano was next to try his luck as he met a cross from the right before unleashing a dipping effort that sailed over Oakleigh goalkeeper John Honos’ crossbar.
The Cannons then fired their way in front in the 20th minute mark when a swift counter-attack saw Dusan Bosnjak play the ball to Pavlovic who launched an accurate cross-field ball to Lambros Honos, who did well to control the ball before finishing past Nikola Roganovic in South goals.
That lead was nearly doubled immediately after when some great work from Bosnjak saw the attacking midfielder nutmeg Tim Mala, before his curling hit from the edge of the box narrowly went over Roganovic’s bar.
The defending champions should have equalised when Nick Epifano won possession of the ball in midfield before going on a surging run forward but hit his shot well over the on-coming Honos and behind for a goal kick.
An injury to Dane Milovanovic saw Chris Taylor give new signing Chris Irwin his debut for the club and it almost instantly reaped rewards as his nice one-two with Lujic saw him put through before he too hit his effort over Honos and wide of goal.
Oakleigh almost snatched a second on the stroke of half-time when some more neat work from Bosnjak saw him play Tremayne Sadler in with his cutback finding the feat of Pavlovic who turned his marker before seeing his strong effort parried away by Roganovic.
The second half saw South put plenty of numbers forward in an attempt to find an equaliser but their resolve was met by a resilient Oakleigh defensive performance, keeping the visitors to half-chances including an Andy Brennan overhead which flew high and over.
The points were sealed in the 70th minute when a fantastic run down the left by Bosnjak saw him round a few defenders before slotting it for Pavlovic, whose neat flick beat Roganovic and doubled the Cannons' advantage.
Bosnjak himself should have found himself on the scoresheet when he was put through only to scuff his shot with just Roganovic to beat.
South’s woes were compounded in injury time as Eagar saw himself sent off for deliberately throwing the ball into a crowd of players.
It was a night to forget for South Melbourne as it relinquished top spot on the ladder, with Oakleigh sending a warning shot to others around the league that the Arthur Papas resurgence is well and truly alive.
Oakleigh Cannons 2 (L.Honos 20, Pavlovic 70) defeated South Melbourne 0 at Jack Edwards Reserve
OC: 76. John Honos, 3. John Black, 6. Steve Pantelidis, 8. Dusan Bosnjak, 10. Dean Piemonte, 12. Tremayne Sadler, 14. Mirjan Pavlovic, 15. Jake McLean (19. Goran Zoric 60’), 18. Adam le Cornu, 21. Jakob Williams, 26. Lambros Honos (16. Rowan McNamee 90’)
Unused Subs: 23. Dominic D’Angelo, 25. Delarno Pharoe, 35. Lajos Hun (GK)
Yellow Card(s): Pantelidis 25, Williams 44
Red Card(s): None
SM: 1. Nikola Roganovic, 2. Tim Mala, 4. Michael Eagar, 5. Luke Adams, 7. Nick Epifano, 9. Milos Lujic, 11. Brad Norton, 12. Iqbal Jawadi, 13. Dane Milovanovic (6. Chris Irwin 39’), 17. Andy Brennan (10. David Stirton 70’), 21. Jake Barker-Daish
Unused Subs: 8. Matthew Theodore, 23. Andy Kecojevic, 27. Leigh Minopoulos
Yellow Card(s): Lujic 25, Epifano 90+2, Barker-Daish 90+3
Red Card(s): Eagar 90+2