Heffernan double silences South
By Lou Verga
Heidelberg United remained in contention for the title with a dramatic 2-1 win over South Melbourne at Lakeside Stadium on Friday night.
On his return to the stating line-up, Daniel Heffernan opened the scoring early on for the visitors before Milos Lujic equalised for South shortly before half time.
As it seemed the match was headed for a draw, Heffernan again popped up deep into second half stoppage time to score his second and the winner.
Heidelberg lost Andreas Govas to injury in the opening minute of play, but fashioned an opportunity almost immediately after as Kaine Sheppard’s effort from a cut-back was deflected over the bar.
A fantastic lofted ball from Kostas Kanakaris gave Reuben Way a sight at goal after eight minutes, and the attacker checked onto his left foot before releasing a wicked low shot across Nikola Roganovic that was centimetres wide of the post.
The Bergers were making all the incisive play as Heffernan rose at the back post to meet Kaine Sheppard’s deep cross, with the header just off target in the 13th minute.
The visitors were rewarded in the 18th minute when Heffernan looped a header over the onrushing Roganovic and into an empty net.
Lujic then had a great opportunity on 37 minutes from Jake Barker-Daish’s corner, only to put a free header over the target.
But the big South striker would make amends one minute before half time, putting a glancing header past Griffin McMaster with Barker-Daish again the supplier to level the scores at the break.
South came out the stronger team in the second half, with two Andy Kecojevic free kicks from the same position having freakishly similar results, beating the wall but skimming the upright on both occasions.
In between that was a fabulous save from McMaster to tip a South volley over the crossbar following a set piece.
But Heidelberg found another gear, with Nejc Kolman’s vicious half volley well saved by Roganovic with ten minutes to go.
Substitute Kenny Athiu thought he had scored with a towering header from Heffernan’s cross five minutes later, but a superhuman goal line clearance from Tim Mala somehow diverted the ball safely wide.
Three minutes into stoppage time it seemed the points would be shared.
But Heffernan showed great determination to beat his defender to a hopeful ball forward before slotting it through Roganovic’s legs from a tight angle to send the travelling support into raptures.
The win takes Heidelberg one point ahead of South and three behind Bentleigh, who have a game in hand.
Photo: South Melbourne FC
Match details: South Melbourne 1 (Lujic 44’) defeated by Heidelberg United 2 (Heffernan 18’, 90+3’) at Lakeside Stadium, Albert Park
South: 1. Nikola ROGANOVIC 2. Tim MALA, 4. Michael EAGAR, 6. Thomas LAKIC 77. Steve HATZIKOSTAS (16. Andy BEVIN 76’), 9. Milos Lujic, 10. David STIRTON (20. Nick MORTON 80’) 12. Iqbal Jawadi, 14. Chris Irwin, 21. Jake BARKER-DAISH, 23. Andy Kecojevic (27. Leigh MINOPOULOS 64’)
Unused substitutes: 22. Fraser MACLAREN, 19. Massimo PESCE
Yellow card(s): Irwin 73’
Red card(s): None
Heidelberg: 23. Griffin MCMASTER, 2. James CUMMING, 7. Reuben WAY, 9. Kostas KANAKARIS (12. Ken ATHIU 76’), 10. Jack PETRIE, 13. Luke BYLES, 17. Steven PACE, 20. Nejc KOLMAN, 21. Andreas GOVAS (3. Leslie DOUMBALIS 2’), 14. Daniel HEFFERNAN, 22. Kaine SHEPPARD (5. Daniel VASILEVSKI 83’)
Unused substitutes: 1. Jason KOUTSODONTIS, 24. Andrew CARTANOS
Yellow card(s): None
Red card(s): None