PHOTO: SPROULE SPORTS FOCUS
Maitland Magpies 4 (L.Thornton 30’, Clarke 46’, OG 71’, Comerford 72’) defeated Lake Macquarie Roosters 0 at Macquarie Field.
Maitland kept their finals hopes flickering in the ‘Match of the Round’ with a comprehensive 4-0 victory over seventh placed Lake Macquarie. The win set up their round 20 fixture with Broadmeadow Magic as a finals-like match-up with the loser unlikely to feature in the playoffs.
However, the big story out of the afternoon was the news that Roosters coach Anthony Richards announced to his player’s post-match that he will leave the club at the end of the season.
Richards said it was a difficult decision.
“I just told the boys that I won’t be here next year. I’m going to move on to maybe somewhere else. I didn’t tell them before the game, I told them after the game. These guys and terrific, they’ll do everything for me so it’s a tough call to go,” Richards said post-match.
“The boys are a little upset, as I am. Unfortunately, that is going to happen.”
On the park, Liam Thornton opening the scoring for Maitland on the half-hour mark, when he looped his header over Roosters keeper Benn Kelly after a Josh Dutton-Black free-kick from the right edge.
It was Thornton’s second chance of the afternoon, after his previous header hit the crossbar and bounced away.
The Magpies took their slim lead into the break and were given a gift when they returned courtesy of Lake Macquarie who turned it over at the back to Chris Fayers who set up Ryan Clarke to stroke it home.
The Roosters then got a foothold into the match, with Sam Walker and Tom Sparre causing problems for the Maitland defence.
But, in the 68th minute Lake Macquarie’s resurgence was brought to an abrupt halt when Benn Kelly took on the Magpies with the ball at his feet.
It’s was a comedy of errors from the experienced keeper who slipped over after receiving a back pass, got back to his feet, took on Matt Sokulski, turned over the ball and then dived at the feet of the Maitland midfielder, bringing him to ground in the box.
Kelly was sent off and Lakes hopes were dashed. The errors then continued in the ensuing penalty, with Matt Comerford striking it hard and straight and reserve keeper Kannon Ford who stood his ground.
He saved the penalty and then fumbled the ball, before the Magpies scrambled the ball over the line to make it 3-0.
There was nothing lucky about Maitland‘s fourth, with Matt Comerford showing off his dazzling speed and skill. He ran from inside his own half, darting past several yellow shirts and into the Roosters penalty box to slide in the Magpies’ fourth of the afternoon.
Maitland, spoiling Old Boys Day while setting up a showdown with Broadmeadow next weekend as they look to keep the finals dream alive.
Magpies Coach Phil Dando said he was pleased with a “good professional performance.”
“We struggled a bit early on, we found it hard on a difficult pitch. They were looking to atone from a heavy defeat the other night.
“They [Lakes] played it long and put us under pressure, but we got the goal in the first half and we said we need to go on with it. All credit to the guys, we really did do well in difficult circumstances.”
Lambton Jaffas 6 (Griffiths (p) 36’, Remington 45+1’, 74’ Brown 47’, 48’, 66’) defeated Adamstown Rosebud 1 (Hunter) at Arthur Edden Oval.
After weeks of up and down performances, Lambton Jaffas returned to form in style with a 6-1 crushing defeat of strugglers Adamstown Rosebud.
Pat Brown scored his first hat-trick since 2015, Luke Remington scored a double and Joel Griffiths converted a penalty to lead Lambton to just their second victory this month.
The Jaffas took a while to get on the scoreboard, but when they did, they rammed home the advantage.
Rosebud keeper Riley Hill felled Ryan Griffiths in the box to give Lambton a chance to open the scoring from the spot. Joel Griffiths, making it count with the easiest of penalties, rolling it into the bottom right corner.
Just before the break Lambton struck a hammer blow when Luke Remington stepped past defenders and curled a shot into the left corner from the top of the ‘D’.
It seemed Remington’s strike before the break had deflated the Rosebuds when they returned as Pat Brown put the game beyond doubt with two goals within three minutes of the resumption.
The first came after Adamstown failed to clear their lines. Michael Kantarovski chipped a neat ball over the top of the Rosebuds defence and Brown guided it past Hill to make it 3-0.
The second came less than a minute later when the Rosebuds turned the ball over from the kick-off, Joel Griffiths threaded the needle for Brown and he rounded Hill and slotted home his second.
Brown sealed his hat-trick in the 66th minute after Ben Hay curled a free-kick onto the head of the tall striker he powered the ball into the net.
Luke Remington made it 6-0 in the 74th minute when a Dain Greentree pass sent him one-on-one with Hill and he chipped a controlled finish to rub salt into the Adamstown wounds.
Mitch Hunter gave the visiting fans something to cheer about in the 78th minute when he headed home a near-post cross. But, it was a harrowing day for Adamstown as they slumped to a third straight defeat.
It was a good three points to put in the bank for Lambton coach James Pascoe.
“It was a good performance. It was one of those weeks where up to match morning we didn’t know which match 11 would be available to play. We managed to be really comfortable in the end so it was a good day in the end.”
“It’s fair to say we need to keep the winning perspective. I thought Adamstown started the game ok, but when Remo [Luke Remington] scored the goal on the stroke of half-time, it took the wind out of their sails and it looked like a couple of their boys had clocked off a little bit.
“We keep it in perspective, it was a good result and it could have potentially been an even bigger score line. They looked like a team that thought their season was over already.”
Rosebud coach Nick Webb said the uncertainty of coaches at the club was starting to take its toll on performances.
“Trying to lift them is hard. We did quite well for 35 minutes, and then when we conceded the penalty the heads went down and that was the end.
“The extra five percent you expect out of players just isn’t there because most of them are thinking of next year and where they are going to play and not concentrating on what’s in front of them.”
Edgeworth Eagles 3 (Sanders 61’, Moriyasu 78’, Moore 84’) defeated Charlestown City Blues 1 (Purcell 31’) at Lisle Carr Oval.
Three goals in the final 30 minutes ensured Edgeworth regained the ascendency in the minor premiership race with three matches to play.
The Eagles trailed just after the half-hour mark after Jarrod Purcell scored for the Blues, but second half strikes to Kieran Sanders, Keigo Moriyasu and Keanu Moore led Edgeworth to all three points.
Edgeworth had the first opportunity to open the scoring when Ayden Brice was bumped to ground in the box by Rene Ferguson. The tall right-back stepped up to take the spot-kick, but was denied by the outstretched boot of Blues keeper Nathan Archbold.
Five minutes later Ferguson sped down the left edge before playing Purcell in on goal in the 31st minute, who rolled his shot over a diving Nate Cavaliere and into goal to give Charlestown a shock lead.
The Blues took their 1-0 advantage into the sheds and when they returned it seemed like they would cause a huge upset. Enter Keigo Moriyasu.
The Japanese sensation, who has had a difficult time of late, burnt the Blues down the right and squared a ball to Sanders on the penalty spot who guided it into the right corner.
From there, Moriyasu’s confidence grew. This time it would be Sanders providing for Moriyasu, as the Englishman knocked a pass down the left. Moriyasu stepped onto his right foot and curled his shot inside the far post of Archbold.
Keanu Moore then sealed the win, with his first goal in Eagles colours this season. The fleet-footed midfielder turned defenders inside and out, before rolling a calm left foot finish into goal with the assistance of the right post.
The Eagles relieved to get the three points and keep pole position in the minor premiership race and give them confidence heading into the Westfield FFA Cup where they play South Melbourne on Wednesday night.
Eagles coach Damian Zane felt the win moves them a step closer towards the minor premiership.
“We were on top the whole time, bar probably ten minutes after they scored to be honest,” Zane said.
“They scored a nice goal and for that next ten minutes they were pretty upbeat, but second half I just said don’t lose patience, do our defensive job and we will win.”
Zane was pleased with the performance of Moriyasu who returned to form.
“He trained well this week and he was great. He’s going to be big for us coming home and I feel he is going to have a big finish to the year.”
Blues coach Shane Pryce couldn’t knock the performance of his side.
“Again, the players put up a good fight and a good effort. I think we worried them for a bit, making them chase the game for a bit. But, in the end obviously, class rises to the top and they were just that much better than us last night.
He sounded out keeper Nathan Archbold for special praise.
“Archie, he’s pulled off another couple of saves. Over the last four to six weeks he has been a consistent high performer. I’ve been more impressed with him this year.
“He along with Josh Maguire have been our best this season.”
Hamilton Olympic 3 (Smith 10’, Papas 41’, M.Swan 84’) defeated Weston Bears 0 at Rockwell Automation Park.
Weston’s wretched run of results continued on Sunday afternoon as the Bears lost their eighth PS4 NPL NNSW match in a row to Hamilton.
Scott Smith returned to the starting side for Olympic and returned to the scoresheet, while Reece Papas scored his first goal of the season, and substitute Matt Swan snagged his second goal of 2017.
Smith got the ball rolling for Olympic inside ten minutes when Daniel Bird squared a pass from the right to the striker at the top of the box.
Smith struck his shot low and through traffic, making it difficult for Weston keeper Kane Runge as Hamilton opened the scoring.
Bird was provider once more as Papas got on the scoresheet. From a similar position to the opening goal, Bird cut a ball back to Papas from the right edge. Papas shot low and hard, across goal to make it 2-0.
Matt Swan sealed the result in the 84th minute when Papas turned provider. The recent signing chipped a neat pass through the Bears’ defence and Matt Swan drove home on the volley to put some icing on the cake for Olympic and cement their spot in the top four.
To back up last weekend’s win over Edgeworth was the most pleasing aspect of the result for Hamilton coach Mick Bolch, who said the match reached “no great heights”.
“They did what they needed to do. It was tough conditions; the ground was really bumpy and it was really windy up there.
“It became a bit of an arm-wrestle for a while in the second-half. We were pretty comfortable, but they made it difficult. They put themselves about and they tried really hard. But, I think the experience showed at the end of the day.
“They have got a team of young kids who were more than willing and chased all day. Tyler Warren made some good saves, they had a couple of good strikes from just outside the box, but I think the experiences showed, we were a little bit stronger in the individual battles.”
Weston coach Steve Piggott said his side were physically outplayed.
“We played ok in patches. We certainly had more scoring opportunities than we did in the last month which was good, but no finishes. We hit the bar twice, again we’ve got to take those opportunities, they are few are far between.
“We were just pushed off the ball, outmuscled, dived in a few times and got punished for it. They were just too strong physically.”