National Premier Leagues (NPL) NNSW clubs Broadmeadow Magic and Charlestown City Blues, have officially qualified for the 2018 FFA Cup Round of 32 following nail-biting victories that went down to the wire.
Broadmeadow Magic 2 (Mitchell Oxborrow 45’, John Majurovski 82’) def. Hamilton Olympic 1 (Jed Hornery 45+3’)
With Magic Park being unavailable for play, Magic and their fierce rival Hamilton Olympic met at the neutral venue of Adamstown Oval. Olympic were looking to qualify for the national stage for the first time, while Magic were hoping to make their fourth appearance.
The game began in cagey fashion, with neither team able to create any clear-cut chances and find a breakthrough. Time was stopped momentarily as Magic goalkeeper Paul Bitz, looked as though he would need to be substituted, but he soldiered on, as did his team.
As the clock ticked over into stoppage time, a Broadmeadow free-kick just on the edge of the box was expertly curled in by former Hyundai A-League man Mitchell Oxborrow, however, only minutes later, a great cross by Hamilton defender Tom Davies found Jed Hornery close to goal, and he made no mistakes, equalising the game as the two teams went into the break for half-time.
The second half saw more of the tense atmosphere that the first experienced, and it seemed as though extra time would be needed. However, with just eight minutes remaining, substitute John Majurovski latched onto a brilliant cross and headed the ball into the back of the net before celebrating frantically with coach Ruben Zadkovich.
Hamilton weren’t able to find a late equaliser, ending their great cup-run in heartbreaking fashion, going down 2-1 to their local rivals.
Charlestown City Blues 0 def. Lambton Jaffas 0 (3-2 on penalties)
Over at Lisle Carr Oval, Charlestown City hosted Lambton Jaffas in a game where the two teams could only be separated after a penalty shootout.
Rene Ferguson had the first chance of the match and seemed destined to score from inside the 6-yard box, however, a great save from Brad Swancott right on the goal-line kept the scores level.
Both midfields tug-of-warred over control and possession throughout much of the match and chances came at a premium. Lambton’s Pat Brown was denied by Danny Ireland in goals, while Cal Lewis wasn’t able to get past Swancott.
Defence continued to reign throughout the second half, as both teams’ back-four and goalkeepers were looking impenetrable. That was until Brown looked to have scored a winning header in the 86th minute, only to be denied by the offside flag.
As the two teams ventured into extra time, fatigue began to become a factor and space became easier to find as both teams made chances to take the lead. Luke Remington was denied on multiple occasions by Ireland and Ljubo Milicevic skied a free-kick right on the stroke of 120 minutes, leading to the dreaded penalty shootout.
Both goalkeepers made great saves to keep out the first two shots, but Ireland gave Charlestown the upper hand stopping Michael Sessions’ penalty attempt and with the game on the line, he again stepped up as Charlestown’s hero after denying Ben Hay from the spot and successfully putting his team into the Round of 32 for the first time ever.
Both Broadmeadow Magic and Charlestown City Blues will now represent Northern NSW Football (NNSWF) in the FFA Cup Round of 32 where they will have the chance to face other qualifiers from around Australia including the 10 Hyundai A-League teams.
The draw for the FFA Cup Round of 32 will take place LIVE on FOX SPORTS on the 26th of June, time is to be confirmed.