Souths v Olympic

Round 12 report by Alan Clark
South Melbourne v Sydney Olympic

Vaughan Coveny's 13th minute shot on the turn was enough to give South Melbourne the points in a tough and tight contest against Sydney Olympic at Bob Jane Stadium on Saturday, allowing the Lakesiders to retain their position at the top of the table.

Coveny's goal was reward for South's early ascendancy. Vas Kalogeracos - making a rare start in a South shirt since his transfer from Perth Glory - had set it up with a cross from the right. Coveny immediately ran towards the grandstand, patting his newly-shaved skull in celebration.

Nick Carle had Olympic's best chance to level just after the half-hour, when his goal-bound header from inside the six-yard box was touched over at the last by South's in-form keeper Michael Petkovic.

"I tell you what," challenged Olympic coach Branko Culina after the game, "If you've seen a better save than Petkovic's from Nicky Carle's header - show us it."

Carle's header came after an incisive move up the right and a cross from Greg Owens which stretched the threadbare South defence.

Carle again had an opportunity to level midway through the second half when he was set free at the edge of the penalty-area, but Petkovic was quick off his line, and was involved in a four-way collision which caused Mehmet Durakovic's replacement. Carle himself needed several minutes of treatment before being able to return to the fray, and Fausto De Amicis as well as Petkovic also needed attention.

"(Mehmet's) alright," said South coach Micky Petersen after the game. "He just keeps getting whacked about on the head. He can't help himself - it's just his endeavour and his attack on the ball that lands him in a lot of trouble. It's bravery and commitment."

"I expected more from our guys," said Culina. "I thought we would close (them) down a lot better. But South Melbourne showed what a good side they are. They were just smarter, with more experienced players."

"South Melbourne had six or seven leaders on the park - we had one or two."

South coach Mike Petersen agreed with Culina's assessment, adding, "I thought it was one of the better games. Both teams were very fit, hard at it, and looking to play. I love seeing good football, and tonight's was a good game."