Match of the Round
Hamilton Olympic 4 (Harrison 14’ (P), 53’, Sutherland 45+3’, Pettit 68’) def. Maitland FC 0
Saturday 11 May, 2:30 pm, Darling Street Oval
Many were expecting a tight battle between these two on the weekend, but clearly, Hamilton didn’t get the memo as they blew Maitland out of the water at home to win big and move back to within a touching distance of the top four.
Playing in just his second game for his new club, Olympic’s Kent Harrison could quickly be identified as a danger man for the Magpies, and he made his presence felt early. After taking on the defence and knocking in a cross, Shinichi Kawachi was deemed to have been fouled by Tom Davies in the penalty area and Harrison stepped up and coolly slotted it away to give his side the early lead. But from there, Maitland began to turn up the heat in the attempt to find an equaliser.
Matt Thompson, Ryan Clarke and Alex Read all came close to creating opportunities, but Hamilton’s defence, who were missing usual stars Marcus Duncan and Cody Lucas, were able to scramble and defy them.
Maitland would eventually rue their chances right on the stroke of half-time as a shot from Kawachi that was originally saved by Matt Trott saw Jarryd Sutherland pile in the rebound with the last kick of the half, completing changing the balance of the match, and from there the hosts continued on.
In the second half, Harrison once again found the back of the net with a lofting shot over the head of Trott and soon after, Scott Pettit scored his seventh of the season following an individual effort on the edge of the box that was eventually clinically curled in the bottom corner.
A late chance for a consultation goal came for Maitland late on in the match when they were awarded a penalty of their own after a Hamilton handball in the box, but Joel Wood’s spot-kick was met with a terrific save from Tyler Warren who successfully kept his second clean sheet of the season.
That loss now as the first time Maitland have lost at Darling Street since 2001 and means the Magpies slump down to eighth but with a game in hand of those above them. Hamilton on the other hand now sit in fifth, just one point outside the top four.
Adamstown Rosebud 0 vs. Newcastle Jets Youth 1 (Simmons 70’ (P))
Sunday 12 May, 2:30 pm, Adamstown Oval
A late goal from the penalty spot was all that separated the two on the day as the Newcastle Jets Youth moved up the table after gritting out a victory over Adamstown.
Despite seeming to hold much of the possession throughout the game, the Jets Youth weren’t able to find a way past a rock-solid Adamstown defence throughout the first half.
More chances came in the second for both teams but the breakthrough finally came when Angus Thurgate was fouled by Rosebud’s goalkeeper Daniel Eisenhauer near the corner of the penalty area.
Jack Simmons took his time with the penalty and executed it perfectly to give his team the lead and the eventual victory despite a late charge of momentum from the hosts.
Adamstown coach Shane Cansdell-Sherriff said that despite the loss, he was pleased with his team’s defence.
“I thought the boys did well to contain a good side defensively,” Cansdell-Sherriff said.
“They retain and move the ball well and I feel they found it hard to break us down.
“Unfortunately, we lost the game to a penalty which I probably feel was fair.”
Cansdell-Sherriff did point out though, that he felt their offence was lacking and that it would be an area of focus going forward.
“We struggled to show any quality in the final third,” he said.
“We had many moments in the right areas but either made the wrong decision or lacked quality from the final pass. We had no quality from shots or crosses and that ultimately cost us.
“We’ll look over our decision making in the final third and aim to be more clinical. From memory though, it’s only the second game we have failed to score in but losing 1-0 by a penalty shows how important it is.”
Edgeworth Eagles 3 (Evans 12’, Cawley 42’, Smith 75’) def. Valentine Phoenix 1 (Garland 32’)
Sunday 12 May, 2:30 pm, Jack McLaughlan Oval
It was a match which saw last year’s premiers face last year’s wooden-spooners and although the result finished as many expected with an Edgeworth victory at home, it didn’t come without Valentine’s moments.
The first major opportunity of the game also saw the first goal as an Edgeworth corner kick found the head of their faithful captain Josh Evans who knocked it home from close range.
With one of their stars, Ben Hay, succumbing to injury, the pressure was on the Phoenix as the Eagles continued to press for another goal and one they would have found had it not been for some incredible, caution-to-the-wind defending from Brock Oakley on their goal-line.
His efforts may have provided the spark his team needed as soon after, Valentine worked their way onto the scoresheet courtesy of Bailey Garland who brilliantly popped in a free-kick from well outside the box, scoring against his old team.
The Eagles continued to look dangerous though, especially from corners and Keanu Moore came close to scoring his first since returning to the club. The second goal did finally come when Adam Cawley was fed in on goal from Oliver Smith and he made no mistakes in putting it past the keeper.
In the second half, a cross turned shot almost caught Nate Cavaliere off his line but cannoned into the crossbar, but not long after, Edgeworth put some distance between them and the visitors with a goal as Josh Cairelli made a pinpoint cross to Smith who ran it into the goal, scoring his first goal since returning from injury – his fifth in as many games played.
The 3-1 result means Edgeworth are now sitting in second just one point from the top, while for Valentine, they sit in equal-last place with their rivals Lake Macquarie City who they play in next week’s Lake Mac Derby.
Charlestown City Blues 0 def. by Weston Bears 2 (Lundy 27’, Hurley 73’)
Sunday 12 May, 2:30 pm, Lisle Carr Oval
A win for Charlestown would have seen them enter the top four, but it was Weston who picked up the three points away from home following a tense encounter.
The Bears’ Dutchman Jason Tjien-Fooh troubled Charlestown keeper Nate Archibold early on, but the first goal came when a cross found Regan Lundy at the back post who then buried the volleyed shot to gain the lead.
Disaster struck for the Blues just minutes later as well as Tom Smart was shown a second yellow card for a clumsy challenge, leaving his team with ten men for the remainder of the game.
The hosts wouldn’t lie down though without a fight and continued to press looking for an equaliser forcing Weston goalkeeper Scott Carter to make multiple, diving saves.
The nail in the coffin seemed to come when the Bears found their second through Chris Hurley who latched himself on the end of a nice cross from Jackson Burston to give his side a brace.
Although the Blues came close to scoring a late goal, Carter continued to prove the difference pulling off some remarkable efforts in goal to keep a clean sheet.
Charlestown now sit in seventh place behind Weston now who sit above them as the race for the top four well and truly turns up a notch.
Weston’s coach Kew Jaliens stated he was proud of the way his team performed to get the win.
“I’m very happy with the win,” Jaliens said.
“We moved the ball well, went from side-to-side and had a lot of movement without the ball too.
“We defended as a team which was important also.
“I thought Carts [Scott Carter] was very strong in goal and saved us a few times to keep the 1-0 score. But the boys up front were also great and caused them a lot of trouble.”
Broadmeadow Magic 1 (Hoole 21’) def. Lambton Jaffas 0
Sunday 12 May, 2:30pm, Magic Park
In the top-of-the-table Elders Charity Shield clash on Sunday afternoon, Broadmeadow ran out the victors in a neck-and-neck match between two sides who could well be featuring later on the finals.
Lambton looked like they may taste first blood in the early minutes as Luke Remington found himself on the end of a low Tom Waller cross but Magic shot-stopper Paul Bitz pulled off a terrific save to ensure his side weren’t chasing the game.
Bitz’ opposite number, Brad Swancott, was also kept busy though, particularly when Ryan Ensor launched a mighty shot forcing a strong, parrying save.
Both teams’ defences were continually being probed and Bitz again was called upon denying Braedyn Crowley from scoring a chipped shot.
After a frantic start, the breakthrough finally came courtesy of Matt Hoole who’s deflected shot incredibly found its way over the top of Swancott and into the goal, giving his side the early advantage.
The Jaffas pushed for an equaliser and created multiple opportunities, but it was proving to be a day of the goalkeepers as Bitz continued to prove to be Magic’s star in between the sticks saving close-range efforts from Remington and Crowley once again, while Swancott also kept his side within touching distance with some top efforts.
The last chance of the game looked like it may be the deciding as a corner found its way to Crowley from close range, but he wasn’t able to direct it properly and instead popped it up for Bitz to hold onto once more.
Missing a lot of key players for the match, Ruben Zadkovich, Broadmeadow Magic coach, was impressed with how his fresh faces gelled with the squad and that he was pleased with the way the team defended to keep Lambton at bay.
“Our team performance was very disciplined, and our mentality was very strong,” Zadkovich said.
“Lambton are a quality side, but we controlled the game ‘without the ball’ very well.
“Obviously the clean sheet was a huge positive for our group. Our defensive structure and our shape under pressure was top shelf.
“Another positive to take was the new faces to our lineup this year. They were all very professional.”
Despite the fact that his team now sit at the top of the table having only lost one match this season, Zadkovich made clear that his side still wasn’t playing their best football and had things to work on.
“We are still a long, long way from our best,” he admitted.
“We have a lot of room for improvement, not just individually, but more importantly, as a group.”