A mounting list of absentees is doing Altona Magic no favours in the National Premier League.
Four regular first team players – Michiel Hemmen (ankle), Sami Nour (groin), Ross Archibald (knee) and Lirim Elmazi (suspension) – were missing from the line-up in the Magic’s 2-1 loss to South Melbourne at Paisley Park on Saturday night.
It eventually took its toll on the Magic as it fizzled out in the second half.
Magic football operations manager Rubin Todorovski said the outs had stretched the depth of the newly-promoted team.
“We’re pretty much at our bare bones,” he said.
“You’ve got these boys who haven’t played a lot of [first team] football that need to come in.
“The transfer window opens up on Tuesday.
“We’ll be looking to bring in a couple of new faces.”
The first half was an arm wrestle between Altona Magic and South Melbourne.
The game exploded to life after half time when the Magic got the go-ahead goal through a thunderbolt from captain Troy Ruthven.
The ball seemed to just bob up into the wheelhouse of Troy Ruthven for the skipper to unleash a powerful shot.
Todorovski said it was a much-deserved goal for Ruthven’s tireless work in the midfield.
“If we had another 10 players like Troy, we’d be unstoppable,” he said.
The last 40 minutes of the game belonged to South Melbourne who only needed two minutes and an element of luck to find an equaliser in the 52nd minute.
South’s Marcus Schroen took a free kick hemmed up on the byline and what seemed to be an apparent cross drifted over Magic goalkeeper Daniel Collison and into the top corner for a goal at the far post.
“That goal gave them belief,” Todorovski said.
“They started to up the tempo and we were struggling to stay with them.”
South Melbourne hit the lead in the 63rd minute when Giuseppe Marafioti latched on to a long ball and beat Collison one-on-one.
The Magic had no answers and they limped to a second consecutive loss.
“There were a lot of tired boys on our side,” Todorovski said.
“South sensed that and just kept on going.”
While Elmazi will return from suspension for Altona Magic, Johnny Stojcevski also picked up a fifth yellow card and will be unavailable to play against Pascoe Vale at CB Smith Reserve on Friday night.
Archibald is out for the season with an ACL injury, while Nour could be up to month away with his groin issue. Hemmen’s troublesome ankle is a week to week proposition.
It’s little wonder why the seventh-placed Magic is hoping to be active in the transfer window.
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