Match of the Round
Lambton Jaffas 2 (Remington 7’, Crowley 17’) def. Weston Bears 1 (Lundy 15’)
Friday 19 April, 4:30 pm, Arthur Edden Oval
Good Friday was capped off with a brilliant tug-of-war style match as Lambton showcased a great defensive display to hold on to a one-goal lead with ten men for over 70 minutes to beat Weston and take the top spot on the ladder.
It didn’t take long for the Jaffas to find a way past the Bears’ defence as Bren Hammel slipped through quite easily in behind the backline and although his shot was initially saved by Tristian Esquilant, the follow-up was easily knocked home by Luke Remington.
Lambton continued to look dangerous and only minutes later, a Tom Waller header almost doubled the lead for the hosts had it not been for a great save by Esquilant, and from there, his team would go down the other end to equal the scores.
Regan Lundy made a nice run down the right flank before getting a shot away from outside the box which was saved by Brad Swancott in goals. The rebound, however, saw some scrambling play from both teams and it once again popped back out for Lundy who made no mistakes the second time around.
Down the other end of the field though, the Bears continued to be susceptible to Lambton’s attack and it was the right side of their defence that again saw the Jaffas cruise past with a ball in behind and striker Braedyn Crowley did all the rest, beating a player before tucking it into the bottom corner of the goal to restore their lead so soon after conceding.
The match turned on its head though when a second yellow card was shown for Hammel for retaliating to being fouled, and it meant Lambton would need to dig in their heels for the majority of the game to come away with a victory.
That’s exactly what they did though as they withstood the Weston onslaught that saw Lundy go extremely close to scoring on multiple occasions as well as his teammates in Jason Tjien-Fooh and Cooper Buswell, but nothing more found its way past Swancott as the Jaffas took all three points.
The loss extends Weston’s draught at Arthur Edden to five games, while for Lambton, they now move to the top of the table and continue their terrific undefeated start to the year.
Maitland FC 2 (Pratt 89’, Own Goal 90+2) def. Edgeworth Eagles 1 (Cairelli 19’)
Friday 19 April, 2:30 pm, Cooks Square Park
In one of the most incredible comebacks this league has ever seen, Maitland trailed for the majority of the match at home before knocking in two goals at the death to steal three points from the defending premiers Edgeworth, and work their way back to the top four.
The Magpies looked to build momentum early as Zach Thomas was able to get a shot away from a corner that ended up being blocked, but the breakthrough came through a well-placed cross from Josh Rose that found Josh Cairelli close to goal and a deft touch was all it needed to take the lead.
Both teams traded opportunities as Maitland looked to grab an equaliser while the Eagles tried to find a brace, however, neither keeper was budging as they continued to make saves to keep the score locked at 1-0.
Edgeworth looked to have the better of the chances in the second half, one of which saw a Tyson Jackson header from close range force an amazing reflex save from Matt Trott to deny him before Sam Maxwell came within a whisker of scoring after his dipping shot smacked into the crossbar.
Maitland would make the visitors rue their missed chances as the game ticked ever so close to completion when a Liam Thornton cross expertly found the head of Sean Pratt who rose and tucked it away past Josh Low in goal for the equaliser.
However, the Magpies weren’t satisfied with one point. In the dying embers of the game, Trott launched a kick out of the hands down the field for Ryan Clarke, and although it seemed his cross would be snuffed out by Low, unfortunately for the Eagles’ keeper, it was bundled into his own net instead.
The own goal meant that Maitland would leave home with the three points and their first victory over Edgeworth since being promoted back to the NPL NNSW in 2015.
Maitland coach Mick Bolch believed it was an inspiring team effort to “never give up and chase the game to the death.”
“I was very happy with the performance of the boys especially against the comp leaders,” said Bolch.
“We started well and had a couple of good chances but Edgy scored first on quick counter attack from our corner and they probably had the better of the rest of the half and deserved the lead.
“We scrambled well defensively and Matt Trott was very good in goals, but our bench probably changed the game. The introduction of Read, Duggan and Pratt coming on in the last 30 gave us a lot of energy to finish the game off, especially Sean Pratt.
“I couldn’t be prouder of the effort from my lads…Anytime you’re down 1-0 to a team like Edgeworth in the 89th minute and come away with 3 points is a very good day.”
Lake Macquarie City Roosters 2 (Walker 64’, Charlesworth 72’) def. Adamstown Rosebud 1 (Sokoulsky 62’)
Friday 19 April, 2:30 pm, Macquarie Field
In a Good Friday clash, the two teams anchored to the bottom of the table squared off in a game where collecting three points was crucial for both, however, it was the hosts Lake Macquarie who came from behind to defeat Adamstown for their first win, and points, of the year.
It was an arm-wrestle for much of the first half as both teams battled for momentum but were unable to really create any decent goal-scoring chances. The closest the crowd saw to seeing a first-half goal was that of an Oliver Davies free-kick that just couldn’t get down in time to really trouble Stuart Plant in Lakes’ goal.
The game began to open up in the second half and it lead to the first goal as the Rosebuds’ pounced on a defensive error from the Roosters as they attempted to play out from the back, and following some quick passes, Matt Sokoulsky coolly slotted it past Plant to collect the lead.
That only seem to wake up Lakes though as it took just over two minutes for the hosts to equalise. It was a defensive mishap that saw captain Sam Walker steal it before then ducking and weaving through the Adamstown defence and easily placing it into the Rosebud goal.
The Roosters seemingly continued their momentum and it would be the reigning Graham Jennings Medallist, Sam Walker who again would play a role, this time as the facilitator as he played a pass into substitute Nick Charlesworth who straightforwardly positioned the ball past Benn Kelly in goals to give the Roosters their first lead of the season, and ultimately, their first win as well.
Lakes coach Nick Webb made special praise for his two goal-scorers and felt their first win was deserved.
“I’m happy to get three points,” Webb said.
“I thought we deserved the result.
“Nick Charlesworth did really well he came on and got the winner and Sam Walker did very well all game and really deserved his goal too.
“Overall, I’m happy with all our players.”
Hamilton Olympic 2 (Hornery 30’, Cooper 57’) def. Newcastle Jets Youth 0
Saturday 20 April, 2:30 pm, Darling Street Oval
Goals in both halves and a tip-top defence saw Hamilton seal out a strong victory over the Jets Youth at home to retain their spot in the top four despite playing much of the second half with only ten men.
The first goal of the day came from a pin-point cross from Olympic’s trusty wide defender Cody Lucas, picking out Jed Hornery in the box who headed home his second goal in two weeks.
With three of their attacking stars missing, Angus Thurgate, Pat Langlois and Jack Simmons, due to playing in the Newcastle Jets Hyundai A-League team against Brisbane Roar, the young Jets struggled to make any considerable chances against a tough Hamilton defence.
The hosts continued their goal-scoring form as a nicely chipped ball from Lucas found Hornery once again who this time knocked it back for a waiting Rhys Cooper before he fashioned it into the top of the goal to double the lead.
Things took a turn though midway in the second half for Olympic when their goalkeeper, Tyler Warren was forced from the field following a straight red card for handling the ball in a one-on-one situation outside the box.
The Jets Youth dominated possession as they tried to find a way through Hamilton’s blocks of defence, but in the end, weren’t able to find a goal or a way back into the contest losing their second in as many weeks.
Pete McGuiness, Hamilton Olympic coach, praised his side for their efforts, particular to how they adjusted to multiple changing factors throughout the game.
“I thought we started a little slow but got going as the game wore on,” McGuiness said.
“Took a little bit to adjust with the early loss of Reece Papas, but I thought we deserved to win although the Jets Youth caused us some problems at times. I think Labinot [Haliti} is doing a good job with this group.
“I was really happy with how we not only adjusted but remained disciplined after we went down to 10 men and thought we played quite well for periods and made some good steps forwards.
“I also thought Rhys [Cooper] and Jake [McGuiness] adjusted well in midfield and gave us a good platform to build off.”
Broadmeadow Magic 9 (Virgili 19’, 32’, 56’, Carroll 38’, Brymora 45’, Piddington 58’, Majurovski 71’, 79’, Oxborrow 86’) def. Valentine Phoenix 1 (Garland 67’)
Saturday 20 April, 5:00 pm, Magic Park
After losing big to Lambton last week at home, matters only worsened for Valentine after they were completely thrashed by Broadmeadow away from home.
After just five minutes of football, the visitors were already disadvantaged down to ten men as their goalkeeper Perry Budden, was sent off following a foul outside the box, sending in reserve keeper Joel Magnee and substituting the unlucky Josh Carroll in the process.
It wasn’t long before Magic began their assault with the first two goals coming to James Virgili after he found himself on the end of two nice Mitch Oxborrow crosses, before Cody Carroll and Kristian Brymora both opened their accounts for the season with goals before the half-time break.
The second half spelled more out more of the same for Valentine as Broadmeadow just continue to dominate without letting up. James Virgili grabbed his third goal and the third hat-trick of the league in 2019, while captain Josh Piddington also got on the scoresheet for the second time this season.
In a rather dire night for Valentine, Bailey Garland gave the visitors at least one thing to smile about as he scored a consolation goal, rocketing it a shot from well outside the box past Paul Bitz.
Broadmeadow coach Ruben Zadkovich was doing Phoenix no favours though as he brought on substitute John Majurovski who continued their goal-scoring form with two back-to-back goals off the bench, before Oxborrow, who picked up multiple assists, finally got one himself in the last few minutes to make it nine.
Broadmeadow coach Ruben Zadkovich stated that with his opponent receiving an early red card, he felt his team showcased “a very professional performance” to create an enormous margin.
“It was pleasing to see my lads go through their gears a little,” Zadkovich said.
“Valentine’s problems were certainly amplified by the red card, but it takes nothing away from the manner in which we dispatched what was left in front of us.
“After the red card, the result could have literally been anything. We created enough chances against their 10 men to score a lot more than we did, but in the end, three points is all that matters.”
Zadkovich also made mention that despite ultimately being pleased with the huge result, and entering the top four, his team are still not quite at the level that he’d like them to be.
“We were very professional with the way we managed the game and the situation,” Zadkovich said.
“I thought we moved the ball very well at time and made the maximum out of our extra number which isn’t always as straight forward as it seems.
“However, we are still a long way from our best. There is a load of improvement left in us and we will certainly remain focused on that as a group on the training pitch.”