PHOTO: SPROULE SPORTS FOCUS
Match of the Round
Maitland Magpies 1 (Clarke 50’) defeated Lake Macquarie Roosters 0 at Cooks Square Park.
It may have been seven long years between matches in the top flight between these two sides, but it seemed not much has changed when Maitland and Lake Macquarie met for the PlayStation®4 National Premier Leagues (NPL) Northern NSW ‘Match of the Round’ round eight match on Sunday.
The fixture once again delivering a tight contest at Cooks Square Park.
On the last occasion, it was the Roosters who claimed a tight 1-0 victory, on Sunday the scoreline was reversed courtesy of a sole Ryan Clarke strike.
A tight first half saw both sides head to half-time locked at 0-0, it was Clarke who struck five minutes into the second half.
Liam Thornton intercepted a bouncing Lake Macquarie pass and using its momentum, he chipped the ball over the top of the Roosters defence and to Clarke who sped down the left edge, into the box, and finished powerfully inside Benn Kelly’s near post.
Clarke’s first goal of the campaign was enough to see the Magpies record their fourth win of the season and move into the top four.
Maitland coach Phil Dando said post-match his side were “dogged” and “persevered” and he was happy to come away with the three points.
“[I’m really impressed with] the willingness to do what has to be done to win the game. Seven games in 25 days, I keep harping on about it, but it still keeps going on. We’ve now played all our catch-up games and we’ve got 13 points from those seven games and we are in fourth place.
“It’s a testament to the character of the team that they haven’t just gone ‘this is all too hard’. They’ve gone out there and they have done the job. It hasn’t been pretty and it certainly hasn’t been easy. It’s been damn hard for them. Everyone just keeps working away and giving everything they’ve got.”
On the flip side, Lake Macquarie coach Anthony Richards summed it up post-match as “they took their chances and we didn’t”.
“We just weren’t good enough to get the biscuits, unfortunately. In their attacking third, we just didn’t create too much. We tried hard all over the place but we just didn’t open them up as much as what we’d like to have.”
In the Westfield FFA Cup, this week Maitland faces a trip to away to Zone League Premier League side Warners Bay, who currently sit last after three matches, while Lakes will travel to Howe Park in Singleton to face the Strikers.
Hamilton Olympic 2 (Goodchild 40’, (p) 75’) defeated Weston Bears 0 at Darling Street Oval.
Hamilton Olympic recorded their sixth consecutive victory against the Weston Bears on Sunday at Darling Street Oval.
A doubled from striker Kane Goodchild was enough for the home side to claim all three points in a ‘Man of the Match’ performance.
Both sides struggled to create chances in the opening half. Olympic’s leading scorer Scott Smith tried his luck from long range. Weston keeper Kane Runge was up to the task, making a solid save.
James Thompson and Cooper Buswell probed up front for the Bears but were unable to find an opener.
The two sides deserved to head to the sheds level at the break, but just before the interval, Hamilton captain Kane Goodchild was given a gift by Weston centre-back Greg Anderson.
Anderson underhit a back pass which Goodchild sped onto, diving feet first towards the ball, and prodding it under Runge and into the back of the net to open the scoring.
Hamilton took the lead into the break and when they returned Scott Smith should have made it two. After some delightful passing from Matt Swan, Goodchild and Tommy Spencer set up Smith with a one-on-one chance with Runge which he sprayed wide.
Greg Anderson was in the thick of the action all afternoon and went close to equalising after a Bears corner fell to him at the back post. He drove a powerful shot which was well blocked by keeper Danny Ireland.
James Thompson then went close for the Bears as he tried to squeeze a low shot inside Ireland’s near post which just curled wide.
Matt Swan was then teed up after another exquisite passing move from Olympic, but his shot was well blocked by Runge as Hamilton looked for the killer blow.
They got the killer blow they wanted in the 74th minute as Anderson handballed in the box, and Olympic were awarded a spot kick, which Goodchild stepped up and converted to make it 2-0.
The afternoon went from bad to worse for Weston in the 87th minute when substitute Nick Thompson was given his marching orders after receiving a second yellow card after he criticised a decision of referee James Cleal.
Hamilton coach Michael Bolch described it as a “scrappy performance” but was none the less pleased with the three competition points.
“They are not a side that are easy to beat. They do work hard and they make it difficult for you. I’m happy with the clean sheet and the three points. They can be banana skins for you,” Bolch said.
“I was more happy because it was a similar game to the Azzurri [Charlestown] game, where it became an arm wrestle and a scrap fest and we probably weren’t good enough. We went missing a little bit when it got a little bit hard whereas today I thought we improved as the game went.”
Olympic face a quick recovery before meeting Cessnock at Turner Park on Tuesday evening in the Westfield FFA Cup. Weston meet Cooks Hill on Wednesday night at Bear Park.
Valentine Phoenix 1 (Paul 42’) defeated Newcastle Jets Youth 0 at Cahill Oval.
Valentine Phoenix recorded their fourth consecutive victory and kept their third consecutive clean sheet as they downed the Newcastle Jets Youth 1-0 on Saturday afternoon.
They Phoenix have now gone five hours without conceding in the PS4 NPL Northern NSW as they consolidated their spot in the top two.
In a gritty affair at the multi-purpose Cahill Oval, the Phoenix were dealt a severe blow in the 36th minute when defender Zac Sneddon attempted to block a Leroy Jennings shot and had his ankle trodden on by the young Jets attacker.
Phoenix leading scorer Jalon Brown – who was on the bench, and had his right leg heavily strapped – was forced onto the park as Sneddon was carried off and took no further part.
Daniel Minors dropped back into Sneddon’s defensive role as coach Darren Sills began the shuffling act.
Six minutes after Brown entered the fray, the Phoenix found the only goal of the match.
Alex Tserapas played a delightful cross in from the left edge, bouncing up to Matt Paul who guided home his second of the season.
The Phoenix would take the lead into the break and in a relatively uneventful second half – where both sides created few chances of note – Valentine were able to hold onto their lead and grind their way to a 1-0 victory which was also their first win over the Jets Youth in the clubs history.
“We had players out of position and we hung on. It was a bit of a stalemate and a bit of a grind out,” Phoenix coach Darren Sills said post-match.
“I said in the sheds ‘good teams can win games when they aren’t at their best and we might just be half a good team’”.
Sills also praised goal-scorer Matt Paul who he said was “brilliant”.
“He is an unsung hero. He just does not stop and his fitness is unbelievable.”
Valentine will get the week off without Westfield FFA Cup commitments, after drawing the bye. They will face a tough test next weekend when Hamilton Olympic will visit Cahill Oval.
Edgeworth Eagles 2 (Sanders 36’, Taylor 63’) defeated Charlestown City Blues 0 at Jack McLaughlan Oval.
Edgeworth coach Damian Zane described the Eagles second victory in four days as their “best of the season” after a 2-0 victory over the Charlestown City Blues.
Goals from Kieran Sanders and Brody Taylor were enough to earn the Eagles their third victory of the season as they consolidated a spot in the top half of the ladder for the first time this season.
Sanders opened the scoring in the 36th minute and in fine style. His first goal in the PS4 NPL Northern NSW swerving and dipping from on the edge of the box to beat Blues keeper Nathan Archbold and put the home side in front.
The Eagles headed to the sheds was a 1-0 advantage and when the sides returned Charlestown had their best period of the game, as they created a few half chances.
In the 63rd minute, Brody Taylor would ensure the Blues were made to pay for not making the most of their opportunities, as he thumped a shot from 25 yards out which dipped inside the top corner.
After the win, the Eagles moved to third on the ladder, and while coach Zane thought the performance was their best of the season, there is still plenty of improvement to be made.
“We are still not there, but, the depth is coming back. We’ve got Macca [Daniel McBreen] to add as well, so it’s looking alright now,” Zane said.
“The delivery was good and to their credit, they were pretty desperate. On another day, it could have been 3-0 at half-time and would have been all over almost. We’ve still got another level I think to lift, but the signs are there.”
“People were saying to me after the game ‘that looks like last year’ which is a good sign.”
Edgeworth will meet NewFM Northern League One side Belswans during the week, while Charlestown faces a tough assignment as they face the Jaffas.
Lambton Jaffas 3 (Remington 29’, Kantarovski 45’, Griffiths 90+2’) defeated Adamstown Rosebud 1 (Berlin 61’) at Adamstown Oval.
Lambton Jaffas continued their strong form against Adamstown in round eight of the PS4 NPL Northern NSW as they recorded a 3-1 victory to return to the top of the table.
Former Newcastle Jets and current Lambton midfielder, Michael Kantarovski, opened his goal-scoring account for the season with a clinical finish, as he joined Joel Griffiths and Luke Remington on the scoresheet.
After keeping a clean sheet on ANZAC Day against Broadmeadow Magic, it took just 29 minutes for the Rosebud defence to be breached by the visiting Jaffas.
Ridge Marpu’s shot from a tight angle on the right was well blocked by defender Owen Littlewood before Ben Hay calmly played in Luke Remington on his left. Remington slotted past keeper Paul Bitz to make it 1-0.
Kantarovski doubled the lead before the interval with an impressive chipping shot from an acute angle on the right edge of the box. The midfielder curled the shot, high and inside the far post with his left boot.
The Jaffas took the 2-0 lead into the sheds.
After half-time Chris Berlin gave the home fans a glimmer of hope when he clinically finished at the near post after Tom Beecham whipped in a pinpoint cross.
But, it would be the Jaffas who would come home with the three points as veteran Joel Griffiths headed home a Ridge Marpu cross for in stoppage time to net his sixth goal of the season.
Despite the result, Adamstown coach Pete McGuinness feels he is seeing continual improvements in his side.
“Once we got in the contest we stayed in the contest. Last week it was all about discipline. This week it was a little bit different in the game plan. They followed it quite well and they gave me everything they had in the tank.
“With the ball we were ok, we just lacked that polish in the front third to score lots of goals. We get up there, but we don’t really [finish out chances]. I think about it, Swanny [Brad Swancott] didn’t have many saves to make.”
The loss came at a cost for Adamstown with Captain Dayne Pawlik injuring his hip flexor in the warm-up and didn’t take any part in the match. In addition, Mitch Hunter (groin), Chris Berlin (hamstring) and Charlie Horsley (concussion) all were forced from the park.
The injuries couldn’t come at a worse time for Adamstown who face Thornton in the Westfield FFA Cup midweek. Lambton faces a much sterner test in the only all-NPL clash in round four when they meet Charlestown.