South holds off late Werribee surge to win
By JAMES MANTON
South Melbourne has held off a late surge from Werribee City to secure a 1-0 victory at Lakeside Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
South dominated the majority of the scrappy affair, but Werribee came excruciatingly close to stealing a point in the dying minutes of the match.
Milos Lujic had the first genuine chance of the match as he picked up the ball from halfway and surged towards the goals, but his shot was tame and easily kept out by David Thomson.
Ryan Filipovic had an opportunity at the other end of the field just a minute later as he got on the end of a chest-down from Evan Batsis in the box, however his effort was also saved.
Both sides struggled to create clear opportunities in the first half, with Batsis' inability to take advantage of a one-on-one situation rather symbolic of the match at large.
However that was soon to change as Nick Epifano - the clear man of the match - managed to get onto the end of a flick from Andy Bevin, running behind the Werribee backs and sliding the ball into the back of the net.
Epifano nearly scored again just before the break as he collected the ball at the edge of the box, cutting onto his right foot and just curling the ball wide of the goalmouth.
The South Melbourne winger continued his impressive performance after half-time, winning a penalty for the hosts after playing a neat one-two with Bevin before being tripped by a stray leg in the box.
Unsurprisingly Lujic stepped up to take the penalty, but his shot was poor at best and easily saved by Thomson.
Tempers began to fray as the half progressed, with Werribee suffering an awful few minutes as Milan Savic and Simon Colosimo were both booked for reckless tackles before head coach Nino Ragusa was sent from the sideline for abuse.
That didn’t stop the visitors from pushing for a late result as they threw all of their players forward.
Three shots cleared off the line and a number of saves from Nikola Roganovic within a few minutes just kept the lead for South Melbourne, who were forced to fight right to the final minute.
South Melbourne 1 (Epifano 29') defeated Werribee City 0
SOUTH MELBOURNE: 1. Nikola ROGANOVIC, 2. Sheptim MALA, 5. Luke ADAMS, 6. Tom LAKIC, 7. Nick EPIFANO, 8. Matthew THEODORE, 9. Milos LUJIC, 11. Bradley NORTON, 12. Iqbal JAWADI, 14. Chris IRWIN (21. Jake BARKER-DAISH 87'), 16. Andy BEVIN (23. Andy KECOJEVIC 65')
Unused substitutes: 27. Leigh MINOPOULOS, 19. Massimo PESCE, 22. Fraser MACLAREN
Yellow card(s): Lakic 60', Epifano 90+4'
Red card(s): Nil
WERRIBEE CITY: 25. David THOMSON, 3. Ryan FILIPOVIC, 4. Simon COLOSIMO, 5. Dean TOMESKI, 6. Anthony RAGUSA, 8. Kobbie BOAHENE (15. Deang AGUEK 70'), 9. Evan BATSIS, 13. Milan SAVIC, 16. Angus MARTIN (11. Bobby VIDANOSKI 70'), 19. Rob NAUMOSKI, 23. Steven CUDRIG
Unused substitutes: 1. Frano SARIC, 2. Michael SIMMS
Yellow card(s): Tomeski 44', Savic 73', Colosimo 76'
Red card(s): Nil