by John Fotinos
Football rivalry can provide great melodrama at times. Friday night at Lakeside was such an example.
South Melbourne, at home, atop the table, with an imposing recent home record & with four wins in as many outings in 2023 – hosting a previously out of sorts Heidelberg United team with just one goal and one point from four matches – still reeling from a heavy home defeat against Oakleigh.
The form book favoured the hosts – but derbies often conjure up the unlikely. On the back of dual milestone achievements, with George Katsakis’ 350th game as coach & skipper Adrian Zahra’s 150th appearance for the club, the ‘Bergers produced a resolute performance to chalk up their first victory of the season.
An early goal by Kaine Sheppard, ably assisted by Kenny Athiu, was the ideal start for Heidelberg. For large parts of the match, South Melbourne piled on the pressure, but could not break through the ‘Berger rearguard.
Having absorbed the hits, Heidelberg doubled its advantage late in the second stanza, with substitute Sean Ellis coolly finishing to seal a hard earned three points.
“The boys really worked hard for each other tonight, so to get the result in a big derby match was great” reflected George Katsakis post match.
“These are the types of wins that you love being involved in”
Adrian Zahra was pleased for his coach on such a milestone occasion.
“Kats has such a great legacy at Heidelberg, and the boys were just great tonight. We all stuck together for a big win.”
South Melbourne 0 – 2 Heidelberg Unitrd (Sheppard 7’, Ellis 79’)
Watch Full Game