PHOTO: SPROULE SPORTS FOCUS
Match of the Round
Lambton Jaffas 2 (Remington 53’, Griffiths 69’) defeated Edgeworth Eagles 0 at Jack McLaughlan Oval.
Lambton confirmed themselves as the team to beat in 2017 after defeating the Edgeworth Eagles for the second time this season.
Ryan Griffiths scored in his first match in the PlayStation®4 NPL Northern NSW and played a significant role in Luke Remington’s goal as the Jaffas won 2-0.
The win should prove a major psychological boost for the Jaffas who meet the Eagles next Saturday in the Westfield FFA Cup.
The match was very much an arm-wrestle for the opening 45 minutes with neither side creating any golden chances. Returning Edgeworth striker Daniel McBreen headed wide from inside the box right on the stroke of halftime in the only real opportunity of the half.
But, in similar circumstances to last weekend Lambton came out of the sheds firing and when Ryan Griffiths curled in a pinpoint cross to brother Joel who teed up Luke Remington, the Jaffas were ahead.
Just over 15 minutes later the visitors doubled their lead when Ryan Griffiths scrambled the ball under Eagles keeper Nate Cavaliere and over the line after a goalmouth tussle.
Edgeworth searched for a goal to get them back into the contest with coach Damian Zane bringing Will Bower, Kieran Sanders and Aaron McLoughlin into the fray.
But, it was Jaffas keeper Brad Swancott who stole the limelight, making a pair of brilliant saves to deny Daniel McBreen – the first Swancott dove to his left to touch the long-range shot wide and the second a save low to his left to stop a McBreen header in its tracks.
Sanders tried his luck from distance, however, struck straight at Swancott and when the Eagles were awarded a late penalty Sanders was unable to finish with Swancott making a diving save to his right.
The Jaffas returning to the top of the table with the 2-0 triumph.
Lambton coach James Pascoe thought his side were nervous in a tight opening half.
“I think in the first half, both sides were pretty cagey. Otherwise, I thought they moved the ball a little bit better than us in the first half.”
But, a half-time chat and some tactical changes saw his side win the big moments in the second half.
“You expect that from experienced boys [to win those moments], boys that have played the game for their living.”
Edgeworth coach Damian Zane agreed with his counterpart simply saying, “they were better in the big moments.”
“There wasn’t, I don’t think a lot [between] the teams and chances wise. The first goal I can’t fault how we set up, just Ryan drifted off a guy and Swanny [Brad Swancott] makes a good save off Macca’s [Daniel McBreen] header.
“It was just those big moments.”
Zane also added that in his 30 years of experience with local football it was “one of the highest quality games I have ever seen.”
Next weekend, the sides will do it all again as they meet at 12 pm at Lake Macquarie Regional Football Facility in round six of the Westfield FFA Cup.
Valentine Phoenix 1 (J.Brown 75’) defeated Lake Macquarie City Roosters 0 at Cahill Oval.
American sensation Jalon Brown scored his third goal in his last two PS4 NPL Northern NSW (NNSW) matches, and seventh of the season as Valentine Phoenix edged out a plucky Lake Macquarie side in the solitary round 13 match on Saturday.
Brown’s strike ensured Valentine would win their third match in a row, and solidify a spot within the top four.
The match was tight early only with both sides unable to break through in the first half. Jalon Brown had the best chance of the half, with his shot just sliding wide as he went one-on-one with Lake Macquarie keeper Benn Kelly.
The match was predicted to be a low scoring one, with both sides only conceding just over one goal on average per game.
The sides headed to the break deadlocked at 0-0, and when they returned the match continued along a similar path. That was until Matt Toohey was given his marching orders.
Jalon Brown was bumped to the ground on a few occasions by the Roosters defenders, and it was a clip from Toohey in the 63rd minute which proved to be the final straw for referee Rebecca Davies.
After some minor protesting Toohey left the park and Lakes had to play with ten men for the second week in a row.
However, unlike last weekend Lake Macquarie paid the price for the send-off. In the 75th minute, Alex Tserepas curled in a cross from the left edge, which the Roosters failed to deal with at the top of the box.
Josh Murray controlled and squared a pass to Brown whose shot deflected off Lakes defender Corey Fletcher and looped into the top left corner.
Lakes tried to find an equaliser, however, struggled to create any opportunities of note.
Valentine skipper Scott McGinley should have sealed the match in stoppage time after substitute Chris Brown controlled a cross and laid it off, only for McGinley to smack his shot well over the bar.
Phoenix coach Darren Sills put the win down to their rock solid defence and keeping PS4 NPL NNSW leading scorer Sam Walker quiet.
“He scored two goals the last time we played them. He is a super footballer, but the boys reacted really well. They knew they buggered up last time we played them,” Sills said.
“We did our homework on the way they play and our Tuesday, Thursday stuff we did came to the fore this week.”
Sills also added that keeping possession was a key to the victory.
“We wanted to keep the ball at all costs because I firmly believe that we play half decent football when we have the ball.
“We don’t normally break on teams, like the perception that we break all the time, but when we actually kept the ball we did really well.”
Disappointed Lake Macquarie coach Anthony Richards felt his side “didn’t do enough to win it, but we weren’t bad enough to lose it.”
“Benn [Kelly] our goalkeeper wasn’t troubled too much, he just took his crosses well, but I didn’t think we troubled their keeper enough.”
“It was difficult to play that last 20 minutes with a man down, and for them to get a deflected goal was a little heartbreaking,” Richard said.
While the PS4 NPL takes a breather next weekend, the same can’t be said for Valentine or Lake Macquarie.
Valentine meet Magic in round six of the Westfield FFA Cup next Saturday, while Lake Macquarie meets the Jets Youth in a re-scheduled round 20 match due to the Jets commitments at the Weifang Cup.
Hamilton Olympic 3 (Cooper 23’, Smith 25’, 74’) defeated Adamstown Rosebud 0 at Darling Street Oval.
In his first start back from injury, Rhys Cooper returned to the scoresheet at Darling Street Oval in Hamilton’s 3-0 demolition of Adamstown.
Reeling from the sacking of former coach Peter McGuinness during the week the Rosebud’s struggled against an Olympic side inspired to end their coach Michael Bolch’s final season at the club on a high.
Cooper opened the scoring in the 23rd minute after the intricate build up from Olympic. Andrew Swan played in his brother Matt down the left edge who squared to Cooper. Cooper rushed into the box and hit his shot first time, into the right post and the ball deflected in to make it 1-0.
Just two minutes later and Olympic were up by two. Cooper turned provider on this occasion curling in a cross from the right onto the head of Smith who made no mistake from point blank range.
Hamilton took their 2-0 advantage into the sheds and pushed on in the second half through Smith. The build-up was brilliant once more as Tom Davies crossed in from the right edge to Sean Pratt.
Pratt squared to ball back to Tommy Spencer, who chipped over the top to Kane Goodchild. Goodchild was tackled by Rosebud defender Alex Read, however, the ball sat up for Smith who powered home from close range.
The win moves Olympic to within five points of top spot and keeps them in fourth on the ladder.
Olympic coach Mick Bolch felt two of his returning stars were crucial to the win.
“We played some good stuff today and knocked the ball around really well.
“We got into some good areas and Coops made a difference, scored the first, set up the second, but even having Andrew Swan back at left fullback, he and his brother engineered the first goal down the left-hand side.”
With Olympic now having a three-week layoff before their next match, Bolch says how they return will be crucial to their finals aspirations.
In his first match in charge of the Rosebuds caretaker coach Nick Webb said the result “was a bit of a learning curve.”
“Overall, it was a little disappointing, but obviously, there is a bit of work to do.”
After only taking his first training session on Friday it would a very short build-up for Webb who admitted there wasn’t a lot he could change in the short period.
“I just wanted to have a look at them [on Friday]. We had a bit of a game against the 20s so we could see some shape and set up how I wanted to set up in defence, which wasn’t far off how they have played this year. I didn’t want to do too much with them.”
Webb will get two weeks to work with his squad before their next match against Edgeworth, while Olympic has a three-week break before they next play in the PS4 NPL, against Maitland.
Maitland Magpies 1 (M.Thompson 35’) drew with Charlestown City Blues 1 (Ferguson 19’) at Cooks Square Park.
Charlestown ended a two-match losing run as they drew 1-1 with Maitland at Cooks Square Park on Sunday.
Blues talisman Rene Ferguson struck again for the visiting side but was cancelled out by a Matt Thompson strike before half-time.
Charlestown controlled the opening period of the match and were rewarded in the 19th minute when Daniel Bartlett cut down the right edge and squared back to Ferguson who slid his shot low and across goal into the left corner.
Ferguson’s early strike was cancelled out just over 15 minutes later when the Blues turned the ball over inside their own half and Josh Dutton-Black found Matt Thompson on the right edge who struck his shot across goal and into the left corner.
The sides were locked at 1-1, at half-time and neither could find a winner in the second stanza.
Maitland created the better of chances in the second 45 minutes, however, were unable to finish and shared the points with the Blues.
Charlestown coach Shane Pryce saw the performance as a marked improvement in recent weeks.
“From where we have been to what we did today was awesome. To make changes, to make structural positional changes as well, and for the guys to go the way they did and the fight they showed for each other was really good.
“It was a draw, but I was happy with the performance”
Pryce said he was most impressed with his side’s attitude.
“To bounce back from copping six goals and a couple of disappointing defeats, you make some changes to the side and their attitude and commitment was terrific.”
On the other bench, Magpies coach Phil Dando was happy to take a point out of the match but felt with the way they finished the match Maitland could have snagged all three points.
Sitting just four points outside the top four with a game in hand, Dando said there is plenty of time left to make up the gap, and there is “no need to panic.”
The Blues have a rest next weekend while the Westfield FFA Cup round six is played, while Maitland faces Byron Bay on Saturday afternoon.
Broadmeadow Magic 4 (Cox, Haynes, Bradbury, Fajkovic) defeated Weston Bears 1 (Thompson) at Rockwell Automation Park.
Broadmeadow Magic returned to the winners’ circle for just the second time in nine matches in round 13 of the PS4 NPL Northern NSW.
In his starting debut, Charlie Cox scoring his first goal in the top grade, and Dino Fajkovic grabbed his first of the season in the 4-1 victory.
The match remained scoreless over the opening 45 minutes until Cox struck from long range.
James Virgili’s shot from the left edge was blocked by the Bears’ Nick Thompson and fell to Cox just outside the D. Cox fired low and hard into the bottom left corner giving keeper Kane Runge no chance.
With Magic leading 1-0 at the break it took a special strike 15 minutes into the second half to draw Weston level. James Thompson darted down the left, cut inside onto his right foot and curled a wonderful strike inside Niko Giantsopoulos’ far post.
However, the lead would be short-lived as five minutes later the home side failed to deal with a Takumi Sunada corner and Peter Haynes scrambled home the bouncing ball to make it 2-1.
As Weston pushed men forward in search of an equaliser Broadmeadow took full toll, as they piled on some late pain. Dino Fajkovic headed home a Luke Virgili free kick from deep on the right edge in the 86th minute before Kale Bradbury nodded home James Virgili’s cross in the final minute of regulation time.
The 4-1 victory sits Broadmeadow six points outside the top four and in seventh place on the ladder.
Bears coach Steve Piggott felt his side were “pretty good” for the majority of the game.
“After last weekend performance, I’m mighty proud of their effort and their intensity. They worked tirelessly for me.”
Piggott felt while the scoreline didn’t flatter Broadmeadow “it was closer than you think.”
“I took a few chances on the weekend, which I wouldn’t normally do with this young group. With 16 minutes to go, it was still 2-1 and I said, ‘We’ll I’ll put two attackers on and we’ll play three up the top’ and we opened the game up a little bit and they punished us.
“They’ve got some quality players,” Piggott concluded.
Weston gets the weekend off next weekend with the Westfield FFA Cup weekend, while Broadmeadow meet Valentine at 10 am next Saturday in round six of the Cup.