South Melbourne swept aside Melbourne Knights at Somers Street on Sunday, with five unanswered goals, four in the first half, creating a new record margin for games between these two city rivals.
Knightsı coach Ian Dobson indicated heıd ³gone off² at his players in the rooms at half-time for his sideıs sub-standard performance. ³It was totally embarrassing in the first half,² he said. ³(We) showed a lack of passion and effort I thought it was pathetic.²
³We were disgusting in the first-half,² said Dobson. ³We were very disorganised and consequently got punished for it.²
³You never expect anything like that,² said South coach Stuart Munro after the game. ³We had to make sure we came away from here with three points. One-nil would have done me today. The supporters and the club and the Directors would be really happy because we got five, (but our aim is) to gather the three points in places we should.²
Michael Panopoulos opened the scoring just before the quarter-hour, Paul Trimboli a double either side of the half-hour, and Vaughan Coveny the fourth with almost ten minutes of the first half still to be played.
Michael Curcija blasted home a 25 metre free-kick in the gameıs dying moments to end the game.
With South four-nil up at the break, the game had long ceased to be a contest, a fact the larger than usual home crowd who had responded to their clubıs call loudly made clear to their team as they departed the pitch.
³The (crowdıs) criticism aimed at the players at half-time was justified,² said Dobson.
Their mood was not improved by the dismissal ten minutes into the second-half of midfielder Andrew Vargas who collected his second yellow cars of the game with a foul on Panopoulos, leaving his side to weather a rampant South combination undermanned.
The game had burst into life just before the quarter-hour when Panopoulos struck sweetly from 25 metres. Marcus Stergiopoulos, who has had a quiet start for South since joining the Lakesiders this season, made his arrival known with a raid through the middle before laying off to Panopoulos to his right. With defenders melting away in front of him, Panopoulos launched a right-foot thunderbolt which whistled by Knightsı keeper Tommi Tomich and into the roof of the net.
South extended the lead midway through the half when club favourite Trimboli celebrating his first start for South this season ghosted in at the far post to blast home a cross from Sam Poutakidis. Poutakidis had barely been troubled by the challenge of Isyan Erdogan as he made his way to the bye-line inside the penalty-area before sending across his fierce low drive.
Referee Angelo Nardi had to deal with a number of clashes in a sticky patch either side of the goal. Henry Faıarodoıs last involvement in the game was to receive a yellow card after his challenge on Panopoulos at the half-way line which also resulted in him departing the pitch with what was later reported as medial ligament damage. His replacement, Bill Natsioulas, was instantly into action, serving up a cross from the right to the head of Nick Waite at the far-post only to see the burly striker head extravagantly over the bar.
The miss proved costly, as within a four minute period, South doubled its lead. Trimboli put away his second and Southıs third from an impossible angle, running on to a cross from Con Boutsianis, instantly controlling it with his chest, then shooting around the hapless Tomich despite the close attentions of Adrian Leijer.
Coveny then made it four following up a shot from Boutsianis. Covenyıs first shot was into the body of Tomich, but not held, allowing Coveny to put away the rebound.
If Dobson had hoped his half-time team-talk could turn things around it was dashed following Andrew Vargası dismissal. South, however, seemed to be of the view that its job had been done, and rarely made the same commitment to attack as in the first period. Whatever the reason, Knights was much more competitive. ³Considering we went down to ten men, I thought we competed very well in the second half,² Dobson said. ³But the game was done and finished at that stage.²
Pelikan had a rare Knightsı chance when he snapped up a badly-directed cross-field pass by Ante Kovacavic and hared towards the open goal, only to shoot wide.
Tomichıs second-half was a much more suitable addition to his highlights tape, saving well from consecutive efforts from Scott Tunbridge and Coveny. His opposite number Eugene Galekovic had a very quiet game, only coming into action on one occasion seven minutes from the end when he tipped Pelikanıs penalty-edge free-kick onto the bar.
Curcija had a longer-range free-kick shortly after, which Tomich never got near, to put an end to an unequal contest.