PHOTO: SPROULE SPORTS FOCUS
Match of the Round
Lambton Jaffas 4 (Brown 18’, Baker 37’, Ryan Griffiths 74’, Ben Hay 90+3’) def. Edgeworth Eagles 3 (Byrnes 11’, Holz 76’, 88’)
Saturday 17th March, 2:30 pm
Arthur Edden Oval
As season openers’ go, this one turned out to be an absolute pearler of a match – four goals out of seven coming in the final twenty minutes, and Lambton claiming their fourth straight league win over the Eagles.
It was a scorcher at Lambton, with temperatures up as high as 32 degrees which meant drinks breaks were in play in this one.
After a fairly cagey start to the match, Jamie Byrnes broke the deadlock with a delightful chip over Brad Swancott in the 11th minute to give Edgeworth an early lead.
Lambton wouldn’t be kept quiet for long though; Pat Brown struck back in the 18th minute after heading home a pinpoint Ryan Griffiths cross to equalise the scores.
Twenty minutes later, Jaffas had the lead, another pinpoint pass from the other Griffiths brother, Joel, put Jarrod Baker through who finished with composure.
Daniel McBreen should have made it 2-all just before halftime, turning a free header at the back post onto the crossbar after a nice ball cross from Edgeworth youngster Tyson Jackson.
Ryan Griffiths would double Lambton’s lead in the second half, finishing off some fantastic work from Ben Hay down the left-hand side to make the score 3-1.
Two minutes later though and Edgeworth were back in with a shout – substitute Dylan Holz making the score 3-2 with a fantastic left-foot shot from outside the area.
Holz had already scored one from the bench but was hungry for a second and would score just that in the 88th minute after slamming home at the back post to level the scores at 3-all.
Edgeworth almost had a penalty courtesy of Holtz once again in the 92nd minute, but rather than pointing at the spot the referee chose to punish him for diving with a yellow card.
It was the free kick which proved almost instrumental to Jaffas’ chances – they turned around and went up the other end, with Ryan Griffiths claiming involvement in his third Jaffas’ goal of the day via a nice cut back to ‘man of the match’ Ben Hay, who finished well to hand Lambton a 4-3 win.
Newcastle Jets Youth 2 (Cairelli 46’, Harrison 67’) drew Adamstown Rosebud 2 (Abshilava 80’, Haydon 86’)
Saturday 17th March, 2:30 pm
Up by two and seemingly cruising towards a win, it all went wrong for Jets as they surrendered two points to Adamstown with the two sides playing out a first round draw for the second season running.
It was a big game for both sides, looking to improve on poor season’s respectively in 2017 but it took until the second half for this one to come to life.
From the kick-off, the Jets controlled the ball superbly and managed to move the ball down and back up the park and took only 32 seconds to turn the ball into the back of the net.
There were only two Adamstown touches between kick-off and Jets’ Anthony Woods squaring the ball across to Josh Cairelli, who finished nicely to make the score 1-0.
NPL NNSW debutant Ryan Goodhew provided the second goal for the Jets in the 67th minute, threading the needle through to Kent Harrison who finished nicely despite howls for offside from the Adamstown players.
It was another debutant that clawed one back for Adamstown in the 80th minute, with former Kahibah man Gocha Abshilava winning the ball in midfield and firing a strike from well outside the area past the outstretched arm of Jets’ keeper Tristan Esquilant.
Things turned worse for the Jets yet, with Jackson Frendo giving away a penalty for a rough challenge on Rosebud’s Matt Sokulsky in the 86th minute. Connor Haydon dispatched the penalty with ease to level the scores and ensure a share of the points.
Maitland Magpies 2 (Read 85’, Comerford 90’) def. Weston Bears 1 (Burston 56’)
Saturday 17th March, 2:30 pm
Cooks Square Park
For 30 minutes, it looked like being the most unlikely of wins for an unfancied Weston side.
But Maitland dug in and managed to score two goals in the last ten minutes to pip the Bears to the three points.
It was fiery from the outset, with players on each side up against an old club.
Things threatened to boil over at the end of the first half after a rough tackle on Jackson Burston sparked a reaction from the young Weston striker and then handbags and words thrown around by both sides.
Ten minutes into the second half, Burston opened the scoring with a stunning left-footed strike from outside the area which managed to sail past the outstretched arm of Maitland keeper Matt Trott.
Maitland had chances after that – Josh-Dutton Black forced an outstanding save from Weston ‘keeper Kane Runge before the Englishman sent a certain goal right into the arms of Runge ten minutes later.
The Pies capitalised on a flurry of chances and possession later on though, Alex Read combining with substitute Matt Comerford to finish into an empty net to level the scores in the 85th minute.
Comerford turned from helper to hero in the 90th minute, managing to somehow turn the ball into the far side of the goal direct from a corner to put Maitland ahead for the first time in the match.
Things turned from bad to worse for Weston late into injury time, when substitute Regan Payne was shown a second yellow and subsequent red card for lashing out after giving away a free kick.
In the end, it was an ecstatic Maitland side who went away with the three points – leaving a deflated Weston in their wake.
Lake Macquarie City 0 def. by Broadmeadow Magic 6 (Virgili 2’, 41’, 63’, 90+3’, Bradbury 81’, 90+1’)
Sunday 18th March, 2:30 pm
Broadmeadow Magic have been tipped by a couple for big things this season and showed early signs that they may be headed in just that direction with a big win on opening weekend to send them top of the ladder.
While Saturday was a warm one, Sunday was where the mercury peaked with temperatures reaching as high as 39 degrees for this one at Macquarie Field.
James Virgili scored four on the way to victory, dispatching a penalty after being fouled in the opening minutes of the match to put Magic ahead early. He scored a second not long before halftime, finishing off the scraps of a John Majurovski attack.
Magic made it three just after the hour mark, with Majurovski intercepting an attempted Lakes clearance and teeing up Virgili who would put the game out of reach for the home side, finishing comfortably past Riley Hill.
Kale Bradbury would score his first and Broadmeadow’s fourth in the 81st minute after Cody Carrol won the ball in the centre of midfield and played the wide man in on the left-hand side, who cut in and placing his shot in the far corner of the net.
Majurovski bagged his third assist of the day in the 91st minute, receiving the ball from Luke Virgili at the back and teeing up Bradbury for a one on one finish to make it a 5-star performance from the boys in red.
The fun wasn’t over for Magic though – a flick on from Majurovski after a ball from Luke Virgili helped put younger brother James through, and he made no mistake in finishing to make it six for Broadmeadow. A huge win in the opening round, and a big message to the rest of the competition.
Hamilton Olympic 2 (Honery 7’, Cooper 68’) def. by Charlestown City Blues 3 (Smith 34’, 50’, Ferguson 39’)
Sunday 18th March, 6 pm
Darling Street Oval
It was a rough start to the reign of one coach, but relief for another as a ten-man Hamilton fought hard but were downed by a Charlestown side assisted by two former Olympic men.
A debut goal for Hamilton’s Jed Honery got the ball rolling, after he was set off by Rhys Cooper and finished low past Danny Ireland, playing his first match between the Charlestown sticks.
The light Blues struck back just past the half-hour mark after a strong sliding tackle from Rene Ferguson forced a turnover on the halfway line. The ball fell nicely to Kane Goodchild, who put through fellow former Olympic man Scott Smith. Smith finished low and hard to level the scores at 1-all.
Five minutes before half-time, and Charlestown were ahead with Rene Ferguson again in the thick of the action. The left winger curled a beautiful shot in from the right-hand side in the afters of a corner, which nestled in the inside of the side netting to make the score 2-1.
Five minutes after half-time, Charlestown doubled their lead thanks to yet another link-up between Goodchild and Smith. The former teed up the latter after being played through by Matt Tull, and Smith had a second.
Disaster struck for Olympic in the 57th minute, when Jake McGuinness earned himself a second yellow and subsequent red card for a pull of Tom Smart’s shirt.
Hamilton were back in with a shout in the 68th minute after a Reece Papas free kick from the right-hand side eventually found it’s way in courtesy of Rhys Cooper at the back post. It wasn’t to be a miracle point for Olympic, though – the ten-man side went down 3-2.