Match of the Round
Charlestown City Blues 1 (S. Smith 77’) def. Edgeworth Eagles 0
Sunday 16 July, 2:30pm, Lisle Carr Oval
Charlestown City have edged their way closer to the top four following a courageous victory over the defending premiers having played the match with a man down for the majority of the game and finishing off with nine men.
Tom Smart was the first to go for the Blues after he was shown a straight red card after just 17 minutes of football and the Eagles looked to capitalise as Tyson Jackson and Adam Cawley both looked to score but were denied by Nathan Archibold in goals.
Charlestown’s lock-down defence was proving impossible for Edgeworth to penetrate, even for a returning Daniel McBreen who came on from the bench during the second half and began looking dangerous.
In the end though, it was his opposite number down the other end, Scott Smith, who found the all-important goal late in the half after he latched himself onto a Rio Nishiura cross with a volley into the side of the goal.
Edgeworth looked to notch things up a gear in search for an equaliser – Oliver Smith had a long strike stopped by Archibold, and two chances close to goal for McBreen were also denied by the Charlestown goalkeeper.
Late into stoppage time, a reckless challenge from Riley McNaughton saw him receive a second yellow card leaving his team two players down for the final seconds, but his side successfully held on for all three points.
Charlestown coach David Tanchevski praised his side for their efforts, particular that of new man Adam Hughes who shone in his first outing for the club.
“I thought the first 15 was a pretty tight contest and was shaping up to be a good game until we got Tommy Smart sent off, which didn’t help,” said Tanchevski.
“We were focused on the defence first. I said to the boys it wasn’t going to be an enjoyable second half, we weren’t going to play much football, but I thought that there’d be one chance and Scott Smith got it.
“For a coach it’s often hard to communicate instructions to your team while the game is going, but the good thing about having someone like Adam [Hughes] out there is that I can communicate with Adam, and he can communicate with the boys and he brings that calmness to the team.
“He had a great first game. He was tremendous today.”
Sitting just one point outside the top four, Tanchevski said the side are focusing on improving their consistency as they head into the pointy end of the competition and look for that coveted spot in the finals.
“Our goal has always been to push for a top four position,” he said.
“The boys show up against the big teams and are playing really well at the moment.
“We’re trying not to get ahead of ourselves and are just taking it one game at a time. Our main goal for the second round is consistency. We can’t beat teams like Edgeworth and Magic and then lose to the teams below us.”
Lambton Jaffas 2 (Hammel 20’, 24’) def. Hamilton Olympic 0
Saturday 16 July, 2:30pm, Arthur Edden Oval
Lambton have added to a discouraging week for Hamilton, defeating them at home thanks to two quick-fire goals from Bren Hammel and sealing their first victory in the league since mid-April.
It was the visitors who seemed to get off to the better of starts and had a golden chance to take the lead after receiving a penalty kick just after the ten-minute mark.
Kent Harrison stepped up for Olympic, but his shot was saved and held onto by the veteran goalkeeper, Brad Swancott, and just minutes later, his side would make Hamilton pay.
A free-kick from Hammel that was wide and outside shooting range somehow found its way into the back of the net as his cross-turned-shot looped over Jez Murray’s head, placing itself into the bottom of the goal.
It didn’t take long for Hammel to grab a brace, this time from an intended strike on goal after he was placed in behind the defence by a brilliant Michael Kantarovski pass and putting it past Murray from an acute angle.
Hamilton’s Rhys Cooper came close to getting one back for his side with a header, but in the second half, the Jaffas successfully kept the opposition at bay with Tom Waller being the only one to come close to scoring another goal for the hosts, until youngster Anthony Wood slipped through the defence but had his one-on-one effort saved.
Olympic coach Pete McGuiness highlighted his side’s disappointment from their recent matches especially since he believes the team have been showcasing good football.
“It’s a couple of disappointments in one week that are hard to swallow,” said McGuiness.
“I thought we really tried our guts out. I thought we dominated field position and possession, but just didn’t really threaten much in goal-scoring opportunities.
“But the guys went right to the final whistle to try and score.”
Hamilton now sit on the border of losing their chance of playing semi-final football this season, and McGuiness confessed their next few weeks will need to be vital wins.
“We want to make the top four, there’s no doubt about that,” he said.
“We have a tough run in the next few weeks, but if we want to make it, we have to beat them.
“The group are disappointed. They’ve done really, really well and in the last couple of weeks, I can’t really fault them and they’ve played games out to the 95th minute.
“Their effort is there, their ability is there, it’s just that little bit of luck that could turn it for us. We haven’t lost sight of where we want to be.”
Broadmeadow Magic 2 (J. Virgili 17’, 51’) def. Lake Macquarie City Roosters 0
Saturday 16 July, 5:00pm, Magic Park
They may not have been able to regain first-place after this weekend’s football, but Broadmeadow have continued to heave the pressure on Weston above them following a clinical victory over the last-placed Lakes.
The Virgili brothers combined for the first goal of the game after older brother Luke, launched a cross-field ball to James near the wing who then proceeded to take on the defence and somehow score from the unlikeliest of angles.
The Roosters had a good chance of their own late in the first half though when Mitch Hunter asked questions of the defence with some fleet feet before launching a shot straight at Paul Bitz in between the sticks.
The hosts entered the second half full of confidence and it showed right from the whistle as James Virgili doubled his tally and put himself equal-top of the Golden Boot race after jumping on a loose ball in the box following a scrambling cross.
As the match wore on, Mitch Oxborrow was denied spectacularly on two occasions by Stuart Plant’s palming hand while down the other end Sam Walker was causing problems for Magic but neither team found a goal leaving the hosts to take all three points.
Broadmeadow are now just one point that of league-leaders Weston in second place, while Lake Macquarie remained anchored to the bottom of the table for yet another week.
Valentine Phoenix 2 (Murray 42’, Niyonkuru 84’) def. by Maitland FC 4 (M. Swan 7’, 44’, Wood 45+2’, Townsend 90+2’)
Sunday 16 July, 2:30pm, CB Complex
It’s been a hectic week for both of these clubs due to progressing to the final qualification stage of the FFA Cup, and it was the team who are set to feature in the Round of 32, Maitland, who rolled out a win at Valentine.
It was the hosts’ Old Boy and Sponsors’ Day and it boasted a large crowd for the match, but the visitors were the ones who struck first as Ryan Clarke’s cross landed perfectly for Matt Swan who tucked it into the goal.
Both sides traded opportunities and troubled one another’s defences, but the second goal finally came minutes before half-time as a terrific flick-and-volley from Valentine’s Josh Murray smashed its way into the goal.
Just five minutes after finding an equaliser though, things completely turned around for the Phoenix as Joel Wood tore through his former side leading to two goals.
The first saw the former multiple-Golden Boot winner slide past numerous defenders and setting it up perfectly for Matt Swan at close range, before then scoring one of his own, chipping Perry Budden from outside the box.
With a two-goal lead at the half-time break, the Magpies looked to strengthen their lead even more so and came extremely close to scoring a fourth but were stopped by a brilliant, scrambling effort from Budden to deny both Wood and Clarke, before the woodwork came to his aid on the second occasion when Wood hit the crossbar.
Valentine’s attack looked to send their Old Boys home happy by trying to pull off a great comeback that started with Aaron Niyonkuru sneaking in a goal from a tight angle, but Maitland put an end to their last-gasp effort with a nicely worked goal that finished with Louis Townsend scoring.
Mick Bolch, Magpies’ coach, said he was proud of his team’s effort particularly following a very busy schedule recently and that although they are still four points from the top with games in hand, his side are still focusing one game at a time.
“It wasn’t a brilliant performance by any stretch of the imagination, but it was tradesman like. They got the job done,” said Bolch.
“There’s a lot of tired and sore boys and we’re running a real thin squad at the moment.
“I wouldn’t say we played badly, but it was all about the three points today.
“We’re not talking about it [the premiership] at all.
“Its more about a semi-finals spot because it’s so tight,” he concluded.
Weston Bears 2 (Wilson 35’, 53’) def. Adamstown Rosebud 1 (Vallone 60’)
Sunday 16 July, 2:30pm, Rockwell Automation Park
The Bears have retained their spot at the top of the table following two stunning goals from Liam Wilson to attain a slim win over Adamstown at home.
The hosts almost found themselves in the lead in the first opening minutes when Regan Lundy played a dangerous cross in the six-yard box that almost found Wilson at close range, but so too did Adamstown through Chris Berlin who’s great attempt at a volley only found Scott Carter in goals.
The breakthrough came midway through the first half thanks to Wilson launching a dipping shot from distance, and early in the second half, he did the exact same thing at the opposite end of the field to grab his sixth of the year and give his team a brace.
The Rosebuds were able to bounce back and within touching distance as Luke Vallone linked up with Connor Heydon to score from close-range – his first since returning to the club once again – and minutes later a firing shot from Judd Duncan almost had them level.
The Bears were able to hold on though to collect the three points as another close match goes against Adamstown.
The league-leaders Weston will now look towards their huge ‘El Clasicoal’ Derby match with Maitland next week.