Sunday, 28 March 2010

And a clean sheet to boot - Dandenong Thunder 0 South Melbourne 2

A good performance against an opponent struggling to regain what made them far and away the best team in 2009. The Thunder's central midfield was pretty much non existent - we were pretty much able to do as we pleased in there, putting together several excellent short and quick passing chains. It was the Thunder defence's ability to read the play which denied us more than anything in that first hour or so - even good crosses and swift moves were being picked off at the opportune moment.

Perhaps it was little surprise then that South's opening goal was an opportune one. Carl Recchia's powerful shot forced a diving save from Stuart Webster, but rather than going out for a corner or cleared  away, the ball bounced next to the goal post, with Marinos Gasparis netting in easily from a tight angle to give us the lead.

Then we dropped back and tried to absorb whatever pressure the home side could throw at us. Though we had our scary moments after scoring our goal - Dandenong took advantage of our dropping back and delayed use of badly needed substitutions - to have lost or even drawn this game would have been an injustice. De Nittis tapped in with the last kick of the game to make it 2-0.

A clean sheet is a great, but it required a bit of fortune. Recchia, still obviously not entirely match fit, is getting there, and had his best game so far. His reading of the play was first rate going forward and back. Gasparis had his best game for the club so far. Sammy Torrens could have done better with some of his crosses, but nevertheless ran himself into the ground. Apart from the 15 or so minutes after we scored, the defence did an excellent job, especially considering Steven O'Dor was subbed early yesterday with a hamstring injury.

Next up is Heidelberg in two weeks, in what will almost certainly be the final game at Lakeside in its current state. Plenty of time for injured players - and we have several of them - to get themselves right to continue our strong start to the season.

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