‘Bergers Grind Out Derby Win

The number 16 guernsey at Alexander has been synonymous with Gary Cole, the prolific goal scorer for the club in the formative years of the NSL era of the late 1970s to early 1980s. On a traditional Greek Derby Day in which many former greats of Alexander, Hellas and Juventus gathered to celebrate the life of the late Len McKendry – who coached all three clubs, and led Alexander to its 4-0 NSL Grand Final triumph, with a Gary Cole hat trick the standout performance.

It was perhaps fitting that on such an occasion that Heidelberg’s 2024 number 16 would provide the only goal of a tight contest – to give his team the vital three points against the league leaders. He may not be the household name that Gary Cole is, but Asahi Yokokawa unleashed an unstoppable thunderbolt early in the first half – a memorable strike from outside the box worthy of winning any game – let alone a derby.

However, the Bergers were forced into a rearguard type win – playing out the majority of the second half a man down following the dismissal from the pitch of striker Josh Pin.

The Bergers defended their lines with a collectively determined mindset, digging deep to thwart the direct physical threat of South Melbourne to inflict only the second defeat of the season to its rival.

Coach John Anastasiadis was delighted with his team’s ability to come away with all three points in difficult circumstances.

“It wasn’t always pretty, but our discipline in maintaining our shape of 4-4-1 when we went down a man was great. We just had to get the win today to keep pace with the top sides.”


Goalkeeper Yaren Sozer, who had another fine match, praised the efforts of his team mates: “We knew it was going to be a tough game, especially when went down to 10 men, but our back four really dealt with their threats well all evening.”


Match Details:

Heidelberg United FC 1 (Yokokawa 6’) – 0 South Melbourne FC