Bentleigh keeps perfect record in check with win over South
By Damir Kulas (@DamirKulas)
Photo Matt Johnson
Bentleigh Greens have prevailed with a 1-0 away victory over South Melbourne in Sunday’s top of the table clash at Lakeside Stadium.
A solitary second half goal from Chris Lucas proved to be the difference between the two sides in a tight contest where chances were few and far between.
South Melbourne went into the contest without the services of Nick Epifano and Luke Adams due to a trial in Scotland at Dundee United for the former and representative duty for the latter.
Both sides started cautiously with not a great deal of chances created in a cagey opening half hour to the game.
Troy Ruthven went close for the Greens when he met Liam McCormick’s free-kick with a header that failed to trouble Nikola Roganovic before Milos Lujic headed Tim Mala’s cross from the right over the bar.
A good team move from the visitors saw Lucas presented with an opportunity in front of goal but his effort was well saved by Roganovic in South goals.
Straight up the other end, a long ball found Lujic but he failed to test Bentleigh goalkeeper Alastair Bray in what was the host’s best chance of the contest.
Then right on the stroke of half-time, Roganovic was called up to produce a fantastic save to deny McCormick’s shot which was destined for the top corner of the net as the players went into the break with the scores deadlocked.
However the scoreline would soon change as a McCormick free-kick saw Ruthven flash a header across goal which was bundled into the back of the net by Lucas at the back-post to hand the Greens the opener.
With South now needing to attack to find an equaliser, Bentleigh attempted to exploit possible holes left at the back with McCormick and Ryan de Vries coming close to sealing the contest.
Lucas himself was denied a second by the superb Roganovic who made himself big and retrieved the ball from another 1 v 1 with the pacey striker.
17-year-old Andy Kecojevic then supplied Lujic with a great cross but the striker’s powerful header lacked the accuracy to trouble Bray who greatly picked it up in his arms.
South’s misery was further compounded in stoppage time as Brad Norton received his second caution of the game for a foul on Lucas, who with his goal jumped joint-top on the goalscorers standing, equal with his injured Bentleigh teammate Matt Thurtell and South counterpart Lujic.
The 1-0 result extends Bentleigh’s unbeaten start to the season to 18 games, one-short of South’s NPL record of 19, as they travel to face Green Gully next week as second-placed South have a huge derby clash against third-place Heidelberg United on Friday night.
South Melbourne 0 defeated by Bentleigh Greens 1 (Lucas 53) at Lakeside Stadium
SM: 1. Nikola Roganovic (GK), 2. Tim Mala, 4. Michael Eager, 6. Thomas Lakic (13. Stephen Hatzikostas 83’), 8. Matthew Theodore (27. Leigh Minopoulos 46’), 9. Milos Lujic, 11. Brad Norton, 12. Iqbal Jawadi, 14. Chris Irwin (16. Andy Bevin 62’), 21. Jake Barker-Daish, 23. Andy Kecojevic
Unused Subs: 10. David Stirton, 22. Fraser Maclaren (GK)
Yellow Card(s): Lujic 18, Norton 37, 90+2
Red Card(s): Norton 90+2
BG: 21. Alastair Bray (GK), 4. Troy Ruthven, 5. Jack Webster, 6. Liam McCormick, 9. Chris Lucas, 10. Tyson Holmes, 11. Dion Kirk, 19. Daniel Visevic, 23. Ryan de Vries, 24. Luke Pilkington, 36. Steven Topalovic
Unused Subs: 1. Ryan Scott (GK), 7. Jamie de Abreu, 8. Wayne Wallace, 16. Luke O’Dea, 17. Ryan Love
Yellow Card(s): None
Red Card(s): None