A dominant second-half display by Heidelberg has seen them triumph over rivals Sth Melb at Bob Jane Stadium. The two former NSL giants were battling for the RadioMarathon Cup, and it was the ‘Bergers who prevailed 2-1 to complete a season double over South, having won the season opener with the same score at the Olympic Village.
Sth Melbourne had taken an 18th minute lead courtesy of a Sam Poutakidis goal. The midfielder scored after springing the Heidelberg off-side trap with a run from deep and calmly slotting past Gavalas. Heidelberg responded with a Hockless volley which was well-saved by South’s keeper Jelic, after the diminutive midfielder had been well found by a pin-point Ouliaris through ball. De Moraes & Poutakidis were looking threatening for South, providing good service for forwards Diaco & Caldwell, but the Heidelberg back four led by Jones & Stefanou held firm. Up forward Alilovic & Tsiorlas were finding it difficult to get free of the tight marking South defence & the ‘Bergers were forced into long range efforts from Kozic & Hockless which went well wide of the mark. As the half-time mark approached, the ‘Bergers midfield was gradually working its way on top, and the duo of Kozic & Hockless combined with the latter finding a metre of space in the box after a clever header by Kozic. Hockless’ first-time low shot beat Jelic at the near post & left the teams level at 1-1 going into the main break.
The second half belonged to the visitors, as it appeared the equaliser & tiring South midfield lifted the ‘Bergers. Ouliaris & Hockless were now in complete control of the midfield & the introduction of Aleksovski on the hour mark further stamped the ‘Bergers’ midfield dominance. South’s only real threat appeared to come from substitute De Nittis, who forced the Heidelberg back four to remain vigilant for any counter-attacks by the home side.
Heidelberg missed a couple of real chances, first a looping header by Alilovic, after some neat lead-up work by Tsiorlas, and then a golden chance from Kozic after he’d been put through one-on-one with the ‘keeper. Unfortunately for the ‘Bergers, his low shot found the side netting on the near post. Kozic was to make amends in the 80th minute, as he got in behind the South defence once more. On this occasion, his shot blasted past a hapless Jelic, sparking wild scenes behinf the goals, with the vocal ‘Berger contingent celebrating wildly. There was final twist to the derby with South substitute Bourakis given his marching orders by the referee for a profeesional foul on Aleksovski.
The final whistle saw jubilant Heidelberg fans giving their team a standing ovation after its first win at Bob Jane Stadium since the two teams have been back in the VPL since 2005.
The result means that the ‘Bergers have now won six & drawn one of their last seven matches, climbing to fourth spot on the table, just four points adrift of the Melbourne Knights. They now host Oakleigh next Sunday, in what promises to be another fascinating derby.