By Blake Jarrett
Charlestown City Blues FC vs. South Cardiff FC
Sun 3 May 2:30 PM
Lisle Carr Oval
Match of the Round
The Northern NSW PS4 National Premier Leagues Match of the Round will be contested at Lisle Carr Oval, as Charlestown City blues host South Cardiff Gunners.
Both of these sides currently sit outside the top four, and will be desperately looking to use this match to break their way inside to top quartet.
The Blues were thumped 4-0 in their opening match against Edgeworth, however marked their first home game of the season with a 4-2 win over Adamstown in Round 2.
The Gunners are one of four undefeated teams, having come back from two goal deficits in their opening two rounds. Of those four however, they are the only to not have won a match, as they could only manage a point in both games.
Sean Clerke has been the man in form in the opening two matches, scoring against both Maitland in Round 1 and the Newcastle Jets Youth in Round 2.
The Blues will be without several players, with more in doubt. The key players the home side could be without this weekend are Ben Hughes, Joel Witherden Matt Tull, and Rene Ferguson, all of which would be massive losses for the side looking to build momentum.
One man who has stood up this season for the Blues is Captain Scott Smith. Smith was given a bigger role for the 2015 campaign, being thrown into a lone striker role then promoted to captain. It is an opportunity he has grabbed with two hands, scoring three goals in the side’s Westfield FFA Cup win over Rosebud, then two more five days later against the same opposition. Shane Pryce has been extremely impressed, suggesting Smith ‘stood up and is relishing the increased responsibility’. He went on to describe him as a player ‘who leads by his actions on the field’.
Pryce (Charlestown) and Greg Asquith (South Cardiff) are two of just four PS4 NPL coaches who remain in charge of their 2014 clubs. In that season the sides met twice, with Pryce relishing a 4-1 win in Round 6, and Asquith enjoying a 1-0 win in Round 15.
After the draw with the Jets Youth, Asquith was proud of his team’s spirit, yet disappointed with the way they were conceding goals.
‘Unfortunately we have given teams starts through mistakes two games in a row,’ he said.
‘If we can rectify that we will beat teams. We need to be more disciplined. In saying that though, there is a belief within the group that we can get the job done against any side’.
As Match of the Round, this game will be streamed on Bar TV’s YouTube channel from 2.25pm. This is one match that is certainly worth tuning into.
Edgeworth FC vs. Maitland FC
Fri 1 May 7:00 PM
Jack McLaughlan Oval
Edgeworth return home for their third Friday night home game of the season, this time welcoming Maitland, and they will be hoping that the rain holds off so they can play on a less heavier Jack McLaughlan Oval than in previous weeks.
This match has the potential to produce plenty of goals, after Edgeworth defeated Charlestown 4-0 in Round 1, but lost 4-1 to Magic in Round 3.
The home side is one of two teams to have played all three games, after competing in the only match played in Round 3. They lost their Round 2 match 2-0 away to Hamilton, so combined with their two Friday night matches, Edgeworth sit in fifth position.
Maitland will be looking to use this clash as a platform to progress up the ladder. They currently sit in last position on the one point they obtained in a Round 1 draw with South Cardiff. They were then demolished 5-1 by Magic in Round 2.
It is essential that the newly promoted club pick up an early win to give them the confidence to compete and challenge for a top four spot in the top division this season.
The Eagles will be without defender Ayden Brice for the next two weeks, after he picked up his second red card of the season in Round 3.
There has been discussion of midfielder Josh Evans being moved into the backline, and this has been made possible after Damien Zane discovered the depth he possesses in the midfield after youth player Lachlan Pasquale produced a brilliant performance in a 5-0 Westfield FFA Cup win over South Cardiff.
The heavy pitch combined with a midweek Westfield FFA Cup game several weeks ago ensured the Eagles will be sore this week, however Zane has constantly praised their determination and will have them firing for Friday night. Maitland enters the match after a twelve day break and will be refreshed and ready.
It is a cracking start to another quality weekend of Northern NSW PS4 NPL football, and is a fixture that promises to be action packed.
Weston Workers FC vs. Newcastle Jets Youth
Sat 2 May 2:30 PM
Rockwell Automation Park
There is Northern NSW PS4 National Premier Leagues football being played both days this weekend, and Weston versus the Newcastle Jets Youth is the only match to occur on Saturday.
Weston are one of four undefeated sides in the 2015 season, having drew 0-0 with Adamstown in Round 1, and coming from behind to beat Lambton 2-1 in Round 2.
The Jets Youth are in eighth place on a single point after a Round 1 loss to Lambton and a draw to South Cardiff in Round 2. They squandered leads in both of those matches; leaving new coach Peter McGuiness still searching for his first win with the side.
Both teams will be intent on closing the gap between themselves and first placed Broadmeadow, as they have only played two matches compared to the leaders’ three after their respective Round 3 matches were postponed. A Magic win would put them nine points clear of the Jets Youth should Weston prevail in this match.
The Bears will be inspired by the expected returns of Troy Hearfield and James Monie who will bring back a great deal of experience and passion into the side.
These two clubs share a strong rivalry, with two thrilling matches being contested in 2014. In Round 7 the Bears were thumped 5-2 at home by the Youth side; their sole home competition loss in over a year. In the final round of the season Weston again hosted the Jets Youth with the Bears requiring a win to be crowned Premiers. In an enthralling match the score finished 1-1, the Jets scoring late to come from behind to win the Premiership.
Weston have built a fortress at ‘Bear Park’ in recent years, and have only conceded one goal this season, however a young and enthusiastic Jets Youth side looking for their first win of the season will ensure that the home side will need to be at their best defensively if they expect to continue such a trend this Saturday.
Hamilton Olympic FC vs. Lambton Jaffas FC
Sun 3 May 2:30 PM
Darling Street Oval
In one of the most anticipated matches of the round, two top four sides clash when the Lambton Jaffas travel to Darling Street Oval to take on Hamilton Olympic.
Hamilton opened their season with a competitive but frustrating 0-0 draw against Broadmeadow Magic, then defeated Edgeworth 2-0 in Round 2.
Their Round 3 clash was postponed due to unplayable conditions at Adamstown Oval, so they will looking to remain undefeated this weekend, whilst gaining a second win in the process.
Olympic coach Mick Bolch was pleased with the opening two rounds as his side produced two clean sheets.
‘We worked on defensive structure in off season, and we earned those two clean sheets by sticking to the shape and structure we worked on,’ he said.
Missing Andrew Swan and Kyle Hodges made the win over Edgeworth even more impressive for the boys in blue and white.
Lambton on the other hand have not kept a clean sheet yet, defeating the Jets Youth 3-2 in Round 1 and succumbing to Weston 2-1 in Round 2. They too missed last week’s match, and therefore this clash will afford them the chance to return to winning ways.
They will have to do this without veteran Jobe Wheelhouse who injured his hamstring against Weston in the Grand Final rematch, and will likely be sidelined for a month.
Just like Shane Pryce and Greg Asquith in the Match of the Round, the coaches of these two sides make up two of the four who remain at the helm of their 2014 sides. In that season the sides played out a 2-2 draw in Round 5, and Dave Tanchevski’s men scored an impressive 4-0 win over Bolch’s boys in Round 14.
The most interesting battle in this match however is the two men between the post, who respectively are facing their former clubs in this clash. Danny Ireland was instrumental in Lambton’s Grand Final win in 2014 and Grand Final appearance in 2013. When he departed, Lambton secured a superb replacement in former Olympic gloveman Swancott. As luck would have it Ireland returned to Newcastle looking for a club, and Olympic swooped. Both will be key to their side’s chances of taking home the three points this week.
This is a match that has everything: two competition heavyweights; two experienced coaches; two top quality keepers; and a plethora of quality in both blue and in yellow. It will be a hard fought battle between two sides looking to maintain their place in the top four.
Broadmeadow Magic FC vs. Adamstown Rosebud FC
Sun 3 May 2:30 PM
The final match of Round 4 sees Adamstown Rosebud set to challenge league leaders Broadmeadow Magic away from home.
The Rosebud began the season with a scoreless draw, and then were defeated 4-2 a week later by Charlestown. Like most other sides in the competition their Round 3 match was postponed, leaving them still searching for their first win of the season.
Broadmeadow on the other hand played their Round 3 match, demolishing Edgeworth 4-1 away from home. They played out a scoreless draw in Round 1, and in Round 2 were victorious 5-1, and therefore they begin Round 4 in first place.
Newly recruited Magic strikers Dino Fajkovic and Kale Bradbury have proven themselves as two of the best signings of the Northern NSW PS4 National Premier Leagues in their opening three matches. Fajkovic has notched five goals, four of which came against Maitland, and Bradbury has scored two, as well as winning a penalty last Friday night.
Adamstown were up for a fight last weekend against Hamilton, however they would not have been too displeased with the week off, as it provided the injury riddled side time to rest up ahead of this huge clash.
They were without Stu Musialik, Garry Kenneth, Roger Dowdell, Alex Gillespie and three more senior members in their Round 2 loss to Charlestown, which forced the club to field a bench full of Under 22s players, who Coach Graham Law believed did an exceptional job when they were introduced.
These two sides faced off twice last year, with Magic scoring six points, defeating the Buds 3-2 in the opening round, and 3-0 in Round 10.
If Broadmeadow happen to win this fixture on Sunday they would sit on ten points after four rounds, half of their 2014 total of 20 points which they achieved in 18 rounds, which would certainly state their case as the side to beat this season.
This will be an extremely competitive fixture, with Magic searching for their first win on home soil, and the Rosebud looking for their first of the 2015 season, and is an excellent way to wrap up the fourth round of the Northern NSW PS4 National Premier Leagues season.