South Melbourne has made it four wins in a row after trouncing the previously top placed Richmond in a one sided match at Bob Jane Stadium last Sunday.
Despite South’s winning streak, the undefeated Richmond approached the game as warm favourites, with South having played a delayed game just days earlier.
But it was the home side that came out of the blocks running, with Goran Zoric and Vaughan Coveny combining early to create a half chance early on.
With Richmond goalkeeper Peter Zois to beat, Zoric hit a timid drive into the arms of the prying Zois.
South however did find the net in the 26th minute. A sweeping move forward culminated in the ball finding the South wingback Rhodri Payne on the left hand side of the area.
Payne then launched a wonderful swinging ball into the area and onto the head of Joseph Youssef, who nodded the ball past the hapless Zois to give South a deserved lead.
South continued to dominate the game and possession in the remaining minutes of the half, though to the frustration of coach Michael Michalakopoulos, the final ball was continually letting down the hard work of his side further up the park.
This however changed in the second half when South came out like a house on fire.
In the first five minutes of the half, both Zoric and Coveny missed chances from just outside the area, with both players failing to beat Zois from long range.
South continued to pepper the Richmond goal and should have had a second goal in the 57th minute when a mazy run by Zoric concluded in the diminutive attacking player playing a square ball into the path of the open Sebastian Petrovic.
With the keeper to beat, Petrovic slammed the ball over the bar from just inside the area.
The blues were finally rewarded in the 62nd minute after some delightful work in the midfield allowed for Coveny to find the ball in acres of space just outside the area.
With the Richmond defence unwilling to close down the veteran, he opted to hit a steaming 30 metre pile driver at the goal. With the keeper helpless, the ball flew over the top of him, before sensationally dipping below the bar and crashing into the back of the net.
Undoubtedly a goal of the year contender.
With Coveny now on 99 career goals at South Melbourne, he was intent on trying to claim his 100th career goal for the club.
He came agonisingly close in the 66th minute, when he launched a free kick from just outside the area inches wide of the target.
The 282 game veteran continued to torment the Richmond defence at every opportunity and in the 65th minute he was once again released by Youssef down the right hand side of attack.
With the defence backtracking, Coveny hit a hard shot toward goal, only for the ball to be deflected out for a corner.
From the resulting corner, Zoric hit a well placed cross to the back post to which Coveny managed to header into the upright and away for a goal-kick.
In the 77th minute, the man known as the “Horse” was seemingly on track to finally break the milestone after a lovely ball by young Sam Torrens found its way into the path of Coveny.
With the ball bouncing in the area and no Richmond defender able to track him down, Coveny then launched a chipped attempt on target, only for the ball to be caught by Zois.
The veteran was substituted in the 80th minute to the applause of the boisterous South Melbourne faithful, who were appreciative of Coveny’s man of the match performance.
South closed off the comprehensive victory in the 84th minute when some lovely interplay by Zoric and De Nittis on the half way line concluded with De Nittis playing a well weighted ball past the stagnant defence and into the path of speedy Zoric.
With only Zois to beat, Zoric tucked the ball onto the right side of the keeper to score. IT was his sixth goal of the season in just six games.
South plays Green Gully in on Easter Saturday at Green Gully Reserve on Saturday April 18 at 4pm.
Meanwhile Heidelberg United leap-frogged South after their 1-0 home win over winless bottom side Whittlesea Zebras. The Bergers moved into third place on the table, one point and one place ahead of South.
Oakleigh also kept the pressure on the top five with a crushing 3-0 home win over Preston Lions. The cannons notched up their third win of the season, and moved to sixth spot, two points behind Green Gully in fifth place. The top five teams in the VPL this season qualify for the finals.