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Match of the Round
Edgeworth Eagles 2 (Taylor 6’, Bower 90+2’) defeated Maitland Magpies 1 (Cansdell-Sheriff 12’) at Cooks Square Park.
Edgeworth young gun Will Bower proved to be the hero for the Eagles as he scored a stoppage time goal to steal three points at Cooks Square Park on Sunday.
The ‘Match of the Round’ could not have been tighter with both Edgeworth and Maitland very evenly matched as they have proved already this season. But, in the moment that mattered, it was Bower who stood tall.
The Eagles flew into an early lead inside the opening ten minutes when Brody Taylor darted down the left edge of the box and finish astutely into the right corner.
Their lead didn’t last long though as the Magpies applied sustained pressure on the Eagles defence. Josh Dutton-Black curled in a free-kick from the left edge and the tall timber of Shane Cansdell-Sheriff nodded the ball on to lock up the scores.
Maitland were swift on the counter-attack and caused the Eagles defence plenty of headaches in the opening half. An injury to Matt Comerford midway through the opening half was a setback for the home side as they searched for the go-ahead goal.
Both sides continued to probe until half-time but neither could trouble the scoreboard as they headed to the sheds lock at one goal apiece.
When they returned, Ben Martin had a golden opportunity to put the Magpies ahead but his shot from close range was well blocked by goalkeeper Nate Cavaliere.
Keanu Moore came off the bench for Edgeworth in his first match back after a stint in Victoria and immediately looked sharp.
With one of his first touches, the speedy midfielder had a chance to nod the Eagles into the lead but headed straight at Magpies keeper Matt Trott.
Trott was brilliant in the second half, pulling off some tremendous saves as Edgeworth pushed hard. The final 15 minutes was all the Eagles as the Magpies seemed to fatigue and in the end, they couldn’t hold them out.
A Kieran Sanders corner was not dealt with by the Maitland defence and Bren Hammel nodded the ball on to Bower who scrambled the ball over the line among a sea of bodies.
There were appeals for offside from the Magpies players, but from replays, it seemed as though power was just onside.
Maitland were left to rue another late fade out, while the Eagles celebrated the fourth victory in a row.
Magpies coach Phil Dando felt his side were slow out of the blocks but was impressed with how they matched Edgeworth for large parts of the contest.
“I thought we were very, very sloppy to start with. But, then we got back into it very quickly and for much of the game, I thought we were on a par with them.
“They’re the yardstick and the best team in the comp and we matched them for large periods of the game.”
Dando said a hectic early season schedule was “certainly a large part of the reason” for his side’s late fadeouts in the last two matches.
The busy schedule ensured they couldn’t build their fitness base after they were “largely underdone” fitness-wise when he arrived.
Hamilton Olympic 2 (Cooper 75’, Swan 87’) defeated Newcastle Jets Youth 1 (Moric 43’) at Darling Street Oval.
Hamilton Olympic produced another stirring second-half fightback against the Jets Youth, as they scored twice in the final 15 minutes to record an important 2-1 victory.
For the ninth time, this season Hamilton scored in the final 15 minutes, as they begin to develop a reputation as the competition’s comeback kings.
Mark Moric got the Jets off to a dream start, but goals from Andrew Swan and Rhys Cooper in the second half ensured the three points would stay at Darling Street.
The Jets worked the first goal beautifully as Cody Carroll found space down the left edge and hit a chipped pass centrally to Finn Parris who laid the ball off for Moric to drive the ball into the right corner from close range.
The Jets led 1-0 at the break and looked set to record an upset victory.
Enter Andrew Swan.
In his first match for Olympic, Reece Papas whipped in a free kick from 45 degrees on the left edge, and onto the head of Jets defender Kieran Hayes.
It ballooned high off Hayes towards goal and Andrew Swan was too strong in the air, rising above keeper Tristan Esquilant and nodding the ball over the line.
Just as it seemed the Jets Youth would quell the Olympic fightback, Kane Goodchild broke free down the middle of the park.
Charging down the ground, he curled a through ball across to the left, which judging by the groans of the Hamilton faithful, seemed too deep.
But, the experienced Swan ran the ball down just inside the line, darted infield, and squared the ball for Rhys Cooper who tapped home a first-time finish which brought the Olympic fans to their feet.
The comeback kings producing another stunning fightback to claim all three points and consolidate their spot within the four – for this weekend at least.
Olympic coach Mick Bolch wasn’t best pleased with his side describing it as “our worst performance of the season”.
“The old cliché is the sign of a good side is you can win when you are playing bad, but look we were poor. We didn’t string three passes together for the whole first half and we continually turned the ball over.”
Bolch said Andrew Swan’s injection off the bench was a match-turner.
“Andrew Swan probably changed the game. Within two minutes of him coming on, he scored the equaliser and set up the winner.
In contrast, Jets Youth coach Clayton Zane was very happy with his side’s performance saying they were “excellent from start to finish”.
“We dominated the game, we led 1-0. We should have led by more at half-time, we fluffed our lines a few times in front of goals.
“I was always a little bit worried with not taking chances against them. You know they’ve got a bit of steam in their front third when they start throwing things at you.”
Adamstown Rosebud 4 (Read 59’, Littlewood 77’, 84’, Tannock 88’) defeated Valentine Phoenix 2 (J. Brown 14’, 23’) at Adamstown Oval.
Adamstown recorded one of the comebacks of the season as they fought back from a two-goal deficit at half-time to record a 4-2 victory over Valentine.
The Phoenix look set to sew up a finals spot after Jalon Brown struck twice in the opening 23 minutes, but the Rosebud’s came home like a steam train.
With the bye, next weekend, Valentine’s race for a top four spot just got a whole lot tighter.
The day began disastrously for the Rosebuds when Owen Littlewood played a weak back-pass to keeper Riley Hill in the 14th minute, which Phoenix striker Jalon Brown took full advantage of.
Hill reached the ball first, but it was too late as Brown blocked the clearance and tapped the ball into an empty net.
The afternoon got even worse less than ten minutes later for the home side as Alex Read stuck out an arm out to a Scott McGinley chipped pass.
The defender was rightly given a yellow card and Brown would make him feel even worse seconds later as he whipped a free kick inside the near post to make it 2-0.
Valentine had a chance to make it 3-0 in the 43rd minute when Scott McGinley was adjudged to have been fouled in the box by Jordan Harrison. Valentine’s skipper stepped up and blazed his penalty over the bar.
Less than 14 minutes into the second half and the Adamstown fightback began, as Alex Read made up for his earlier mistake.
Dayne Pawlik’s corner wasn’t punched clear of the box Phoenix keeper Perry Budden and Alex Read hit a strike with venom which powered into the back of the net to reduce the deficit to one.
Rosebuds continued to push on for an equaliser and they got their reward in the 77th minute.
Ryan Ensor curled in a corner from the right edge with was bundled home by Own Littlewood and the fightback was well and truly in full swing.
If Adamstown Oval had a roof on it in the 84th minute, it would have been blown off as Pawlik whipped in a free kick from 45 degrees on the right.
It looked as if it had too much power, but no one told Owen Littlewood that as he rose high to head the Rosebuds into the lead.
Justin Tannock put the icing on a memorable comeback in the 88th minute, after Aaron Niyonkuru headed on an Alex Read clearance.
Tannock was in a footrace with Josh Murray who stumbled and the tall striker took full toll, rounding Phoenix keeper Perry Budden and rolling home his second of the season.
To add further misery to the Phoenix’s afternoon, defender Zac Sneddon was given a second yellow card when he and Pawlik collided.
Pawlik looked to collect Sneddon who clutched at his ankle as he went to ground. The match was called off as he received medical attention and in his final match for Valentine this season he was handed a red card in what looked a strange decision.
Adamstown coach Nick Webb described the comeback as “awesome”.
“The club needed it, the players needed it just to show some real fight. For me, as a coach, it was a really good experience.
“They didn’t follow any game plan I put in the first half. Second half they went out and they completed everything they wanted to do and tore them to bits, to be honest.”
Webb said he talked to his side at half-time about the importance of putting on a quality second-half.
“I wanted them to show some life, show that the shirt means something to them. A few of the senior boys stood up and tore shreds of the other senior boys and that really led the way for the younger boys to realise this is not just a game, this is what it is all about.”
“I’ve nearly had all of them come up to me today and said, ‘I never felt anything like that today’ and it was just amazing.”
Valentine coach Darren Sills was clearly dejected post-match.
“We trained so well this week and really well. I thought we are on fire, we’re right. Then we came out and [Adamstown] didn’t touch the ball the first 20 minutes. Possession had to be up near 80 percent, it was just unbelievable.
“We got in the sheds. They were all buzzing and happy, confident. Then we go out there and fall asleep at a set piece again. It was just a terrible, terrible performance in the second half.
“We got into a dog fight with them and no one wanted to get in the fight with them.”
Lambton Jaffas 3 (J.Griffiths 24’, Verity 33’, R.Griffiths 53’) defeated Lake Macquarie City Roosters 1 (Walker 78’) at Arthur Edden Oval.
Ryan Griffiths kept up his perfect scoring record in the PlayStation®4 NPL Northern NSW netting his fourth goal in as many matches as Lambton proved too strong for Lake Macquarie.
His brother Joel got the ball rolling for Lambton when he opened the scoring for in the 24th minute when the Roosters struggled to clear the ball out of their penalty box.
Luke Remington controlled the miscued clearance on the edge of the ‘D’ and teed up Joel Griffiths on the right who powered home on the volley from close range.
Nathan Verity then headed the Jaffas into a two-goal lead in the 33rd minute, after Joel Griffiths curled in a pinpoint corner.
Lambton took a 2-0 lead into half-time and when they returned Ryan Griffiths made it four goals in as many PS4 NPL matches.
When the game resumed, Michael Kantarovski played a beautiful pass between the lines to Joel Griffiths, who squared to the top of the six-yard box. Lakes keeper Benn Kelly couldn’t claim the ball, and Ryan Griffiths cleaned up the scraps.
Sam Walker added a late consolation for the Roosters in the 78th minute when Lambton defender Liam O’Dell’s clearance could only find Tom Walker who headed a pass to his brother Sam who finished expertly.
It was a much needed three points for Lambton after a disappointing loss last weekend to Valentine. The Jaffas ensuring they will stay top of the table at the end of the weekend.
Lakes coach Anthony Richards conceded they were beaten by a better side.
“They were just too good in that top third, they took their chances when they came. We didn’t really help ourselves with injuries today. Brad York hurt his knee early, Dean Holt got caught at work in Dubbo and Tommy Smart had to come off early.
“Having said all that, the boys created some really good chances. But, they are a good side, they are well organised and they’ve got quality around the park.”
Broadmeadow Magic 2 (J. Virgili 24’, Oxborrow 80’) defeated Charlestown City Blues 0 at Magic Park.
Broadmeadow Magic ensured their finals hopes are alive and kicking in a huge way as they secured a 2-0 victory over 8th placed Charlestown.
Goals from former Hyundai A-League players James Virgili and Mitch Oxborrow bookended the win for Broadmeadow, with a red card for defender Scott Robertson the only sour note.
Charlestown striker Rene Ferguson caused some early headaches for Magic’s defence, but it was James Virgili who opened the scoring for Broadmeadow in the 24th minute.
After some quality build up from Dino Fajkovic, Oxborrow chipped a pass to Virgili who darted down the right edge of the box and finished superbly past Nathan Archbold in the Blues goal.
Josh Piddington almost doubled the lead for Broadmeadow minutes later, but his header was brilliantly saved by Archbold.
Magic took a deserved 1-0 lead into the break and when they returned Nathan Archbold continued to thwart the home side. First, James Virgili found space down the right and Archbold pushed his cross away from danger.
Then, Dino Fajkovic couldn’t find a way past Archbold twice. Fajkovic weaved into the box and powered his shot towards goal. Archbold parried the initial strike back to the strong front man who headed another effort on goal which Archbold jumped to his feet to grab.
For the second time this season against the Blues, Magic were reduced to ten men when Scott Robertson was sent off after a receiving a second yellow card for what looked to be referee abuse.
Charlestown had a late chance to lock the match up with a goalmouth scramble, but couldn’t force the ball across the line.
Magic were good enough down a man to seal the three points when Oxborrow played a wonderful one-two with Kale Bradbury and finished expertly across Archbold from the left side of the box.
Broadmeadow ending the round in fifth place on the ladder, just a point outside the top four.
Magic coach Ruben Zadkovich was hugely impressed with his side’s showing.
“We thoroughly, thoroughly deserved to win. We pretty much battered them, to be honest. Chance after chance after chance after chance.
“Their coach has come out and said their keeper was their best player and he was by a long shot. Our football was very good, our attitude was very good and the boys are getting their rewards.”
Zadkovich said his side could have won by a lot more, if not for Archbold.
“To be honest, if the scoreline was 8-0, I think it would have been a fair result. Then again, that’s football you don’t expect them all to do in.
“So more realistic, it should have been five or six nil. I’m stoked we are creating all the chances and keeping a clean sheet as well.”