BASL: South v La Trobe preview

By Alex Mitchell

Shepparton South will be keen to make sure it does not slip behind the Bendigo Amateur Soccer League’s top dogs when it travels to Bendigo to take on La Trobe University tomorrow.

Eight points back from top spot with two games in hand, the Southerners know a clash with ninth-ranked University should be money in the bank for a team with title aspirations.

Furthermore, South would want to make a big statement after a disappointing loss at the hands of Moama-Echuca last weekend, where a failure to capitalise on chances saw the Border Raiders claim a 3-2 win.

South coach Gino Saracino said his side had not found the back of the net and it hurt in a big way.

‘‘We had numerous opportunities as we have had all season, but haven’t converted our chances,’’ he said.

‘‘It seems like we’ve come up against a very good goalkeeper every week, but in this competition, if you don’t take your chances you’ll get what we got.

‘‘We should have probably been two or three-nil up, and they went up the other end and scored. We probably panicked a bit and they caught us out.

‘‘We did fight it out and it doesn’t look like a bad result, but it wasn’t at the level of expectation we have as a club.’’

The result was the Southerners’ second defeat of the season, having lost 2-1 to Eaglehawk in their second game of the season.

Joel Aitken again looks their most dangerous player with four goals in four games, while new talent Kabir Kareem has taken to the league well, scoring twice so far.

But Saracino said the BASL’s quirky fixture — which saw the side play just once in 35 days leading into the Moama-Echuca game — had not helped his side as it looks to build cohesion.

‘‘The fixture probably hasn’t helped, we played two, had a bye, played one, then had two weeks off, it means no continuity and that’s frustrating,’’ he said.

‘‘But we realise this week we can pick up points and it’s an opportunity to get back close to the top two or three sides.

‘‘We’ve been working hard, and scoring early would be nice.

‘‘When we create chances, we’ve got to convert early on, because we’ve been behind in all four of our games. Ideally we’d score early and press from there.’’