Photo: Sproule Sports Focus
By Isaac McIntyre
Match of the Round
Newcastle Jets Youth 2 defeated by Edgeworth FC 4
Jack McLaughlan Oval
8:30pm, Friday 22nd April
Round 3 of the PlayStation®4 Northern NSW National Premier League kicked off deep into Friday evening, with rain having set the stage at Jack McLaughlan Oval for most of the night.
The Match of the Round was played between the Newcastle Jets Youth squad and defending champions Edgeworth, with the added spice of both coaches looking to earn bantering rights over their cousin.
The opening moment of the match set the tone for the battle, with a lobbed chance by Keigo Moriyasu, with the chance almost finding the back of the net but for the Jets’ Andrew Pawiak, who cleared the ball out back into play.
It wasn’t enough however, with a late tackle on Moriyasu giving Edgeworth a dead ball situation on the edge of the box, which Moriyasu stepped up to take and buried it into the right side of the net with confidence.
Ayden Brice’s pass back into the middle of the eighteen yard box was enough for Brody Taylor to put his foot through, smashing it just under the crossbar and pushing the Eagle’s lead even further.
Cameron Joice, the Jets Youth pacey forward, made his presence in the match known on a breakaway chance that almost found him facing an open net, but for Josh Low’s quick reaction to knock the ball out of play.
The Jets once again were almost in on a breakaway on the fast boots of Kristian Brymora, whose long ranged chance rattled the Eagle’s crossbar, but Brymora proved his finishing prowess minutes later as he put the ball into the left side of the goal mouth.
With only one goal separating the squad at half time and Keanu Moore going off at half time with a strained leg left, Edgeworth were looking over their shoulders in the close match at 2-1.
Taylor stepped up again to claim his brace after a turnover at half time which gave the defending champions a strong breakaway, but the third goal for Edgeworth was answered by Cameron Joice’s fourth goal, keeping the game up for grabs for the boys in blue and red.
Having been able to keep up all game, things fell apart for the Jets Youth squad as their high line and heavy pressure cost them dearly – Moriyasu was able to take the ball just steps into the Jets’ half and send a strong lobbed ball over Newcastle’s keeper to put Edgeworth on four goals with just seconds left on the clock, sinking a goal that would surely be a contender for goal of the round.
The win keeps Edgeworth on top of the table with nine points and three straight victories and the Eagles coach Damian Zane knows that the string of good form could be crucial for the rest of the season.
Zane also focused on the performances of his star players, including Taylor and Moriyasu, both of whom claimed braces in the victory
“Moriyasu’s first and second goal were both fantastic strikes,” Zane commented.
“It’s what he does and why I brought him into the side – no one else in the league could have put that final long ranged shot into the back of the net, he was running flat out and suddenly he was perfectly balanced and struck the ball just right to lob over the keeper. I can’t say I’ve seen many players do what Keigo does.”
Zane knew that his team’s attacking talents weren’t enough when it comes to collecting points however.
“We have to be stronger in the backline, goals win matches but clean sheets win titles and we made a big mistake in the first goal for them, we were spread and caught out and without the goals we created we could have dropped points.”
“We dominated the match and that’s good when it’s champions coming up against a development team – we need every set of three points that we can and three straight wins sets us in great stead so far in the season.”
Edgeworth now take their fantastic form into the fourth round of the league, where they take on Broadmeadow Magic at Magic Park, where the Eagles will need another straight win to secure their strong start to the season.
The Newcastle Jets Youth squad now travel to Cooks Square Park, where the Magpies and their undefeated run await in Maitland – the Youth squad will be looking to take a win for the first time in the season, and collect all three points to begin their climb up the ladder.
Lambton Jaffas FC 0 defeated by Hamilton Olympic FC 3
Arthur Edden Oval
2:30pm, Saturday 23rd April
Having played only once in the season so far, the Jaffas played at home, welcoming Hamilton Olympic in the third round of the league.
With only a defeat to their name so far, the Jaffas were eager to settle into the rhythm of the match under new coach James Pascoe.
The first half started well for the home team in that regard, with both sides pushing in the wet conditions to find an advantage, but Lambton’s closest chance came in the form of woodwork denial for Luke Remington.
Hamilton were the leaders at the half way point of the game however, with Kane Goodchild heading in a strong cross from Simon Mooney that would have helped Michael Bolch’s half-time talk immensely.
The lead was extended just after the second half began, with Goodchild knocking the ball into the bottom corner of the net between two defenders and Lambton looked like they were struggling to keep Goodchild’s attacks at bay.
Olympic managed to get one more goal out of Goodchild at the end of the match to confirm his hat trick, as Rhys Cooper squared up a pass that put Goodchild through on goals for a 1-on-1 that he put away calmly.
Hamilton’s turn around came at the expense of James Pascoe’s plans however, and the new coach for the Jaffas was disappointed that his side couldn’t keep their pace in the second half.
“We were a bit Jekyll and Hyde in the match and it was different a game that had two different halves,” Pascoe said.
“We controlled mostly through good possession in the first half and created half a dozen really good chances, but between the keeper, the post and misses we just couldn’t finish them. When you’re stuck in that pattern you’re always vulnerable to being hurt however and we got sucker punched right on half time, which left us disappointed.”
“The second half was completely opposite to the first – Olympic just heaped on the pressure, and we played more and more sloppy, until we’d lost all the good signs of the first half and undid all of our good work from the last few rounds.”
“Fitness levels have been hard to implement, the mix-up at the beginning of the season with changing coaches has left the players on different regimes and in a few weeks they’ll be ready to be playing the full ninety minutes at the highest level.”
Another test of fitness appears on Lambton’s radar as they take on Broadmeadow mid-week in the catch-up fixture from Round 2 and then will be tested on their fitness again against Valentine at Cahill Oval on the Sunday.
Olympic take on Weston at Darling Street Oval next weekend, with their currently undefeated run continuing onwards with their eyes set on another three points and dominant victory to their names.
Weston Workers Bears FC 0 drew Broadmeadow Magic FC 0
Rockwell Automation Park
2:30pm, Sunday 24th April
The first match of Sunday afternoon for Round 3 of the PlayStation 4 NPL was played at Rockwell Automation Park, where both teams took their haul of the points in a close-fought draw.
Magic’s danger men had already proven that they could put goals to their names, with both Virgili, Bradbery and Haynes all looming threats for the Weston Workers at their home ground, but the week off for Magic looked to have set them on a sluggish path.
Unable to find breaks in the Bears’ tight defence and with the home side unable to capitalize on the slow nature of the match, neither side could get their names on the scoresheet as the game dragged on.
A chance came for Broadmeadow with a penalty shout that could have put them up by one over the home side, but Ben Kelly – Weston’s star keeper – stepped up one more time in the match and deflected the shot out, keeping the scores locked the points shared.
Weston’s coach, Trevor Morris, was disappointed that the Bears couldn’t find a chance to put goals onto the sheet and take the three points.
“I thought that the whole team was great for ninety minutes and I’m cut up that we couldn’t get a win out of the strong performance,” Morris said.
“Ben Kelly was sensational for us, keeping the scores locked for a long time and saving the penalty.”
“The next few matches we will be working on our shots and chances that we can make and once we can find that then the points will come easily to us with our defensive strengths.”
The draw puts Weston on only two points in the league after a draw in round 1 and a loss to the Eagles. Next weekend sees them journey to Darling Street Oval, where Hamilton Olympic may prove to be a mountain to climb, but a challenge Morris’ squad are up to.
Broadmeadow have two games to play in the coming week, with a mid-week match against Lambton to be the catch-up fixture for the rained out game last weekend, and then Round 4 sees them play against Edgeworth, whose three back-to-back wins will be the focus of Magic’s coaching staff and team, and a win the only option.
Adamstown Rosebuds FC 2 defeated Valentine FC 0
2:30pm, Sunday 24th April
The Rosebuds came into the 3rd round of the competition without a win so far and Adamstown Oval was their chance to take three points and kick start their season.
Valentine were in a tight position after the first two games of the year as well, with only a single point after two close games and their eyes on a win just like Adamstown.
The match kicked off with both teams pushing hard against the opposition with goals clearly on the minds of both sets of forwards, but the first half held no luck for either side and the teams went into the sheds with the scores tied at nil-all.
The second half held a much different match however – Alex Read was the first breakaway that came to more than a save or miss, with a long run giving him a chance on goals that he managed to bury to give the home side the lead.
Fortunes changed for the Rosebuds, as Dayne Pawlik dropped Adamstown to ten men with his second yellow card, and an early trip to the sheds for the player.
The lack of a player on the pitch didn’t stop Adamstown from pushing their advantage, with Chris Berlin netting a second goal for the team with a turn in the six yard box that opened the space for him and putting them two goals up with a strong lead to defend.
Ten men dropped to nine however as Scott Carter’s physical save in his own box brought him the attention of the ref and a straight red, with the penalty spot calling for Valentine.
Berlin, fresh off his goal, was called into the mouth of the goal with Carter sent off and all substitutions already made and he soon proved that he was to be the hero of the match, saving the penalty and keeping the Rosebud’s clean sheet – their first of the season.
The clean sheet was the main focus of Adamstown coach, Graham Law and he was pleased with his side’s performance.
“I was really pleased with the squad, after shipping ten goals in the first two matches we were only focusing on a clean sheet and we kept a strong defensive shape.”
“It’s cliché, but the whole team played well and we defended well from the front, especially with nine men on the field and our keeper sent off in the end of the match.”
“After the penalty, we just focused on keeping the win, the clean sheet was our goal but three points is all that you can think about when you’re seeing out the game and Chris’ save was great to keep our goal alive too.”
Valentine’s coach, Darren Sills, was disappointed that his side couldn’t capitalize on two missing players for the Rosebuds however and thought that they could have got more from the match.
“I thought that we controlled the game well at the start and we shut down their back-line options in the second half, but a mistake gave away a first goal and then we fell asleep after the first red,” Sills explained.
“Josh Swaddling was back and tried hard in the match and Ridge Marpu and Chris Brown both did really well for the side in the first half too. However the second half everyone fell away and it just wasn’t something that we could bring back.”
“In the end we were disappointing in the second half, we relaxed too much after a strong go at it in the first forty-five minutes and to lose from just a few chances from Adamstown was killer.”
“We look forward now and yes the defeat is disappointing for the boys and the club, but we want to get wins for the fans and for ourselves – once we figure out the defensive blips then we’ll be a lot more dangerous,” Sills concluded.
Valentine’s chance to recover comes next weekend at Cahill Oval, where they take on the Lambton Jaffas and look for their first win in the top division in Northern NSW.
Adamstown meanwhile will savour their three points – the first of the season for them – before they travel to Charlestown, where they will play the Blues at Lisle Carr Oval and look to continue their defensive improvements and string two victories together.
Maitland FC 1 drew Charlestown City Blues FC 1
Cooks Square Park
2:30pm, Sunday 24th April
The final game of the weekend came at Cooks Square Park, where Maitland returned home to take on Charlestown City in the afternoon kick off.
Goals were lacking for both teams as Charlestown looked to break down Maitland’s tight defence and Cooks Square Park looked to be heading for another nil-all clash.
Rene Ferguson was the first to break the deadlock in the fight, just two minutes before half time he managed to put the travelling side into the lead and keep Maitland from holding out for a goalless match.
Although Maitland’s chances were plentiful on the attack and with the home fans cheering them on, it was only Matt Thompson’s free kick goal over the wall to sink it into the back of the net and bring both teams level once more.
One goal apiece was how the match finished, with one point apiece for both the home and away sides and another draw at home for Maitland’s record.
Maitland’s Steve Piggott was disappointed that his side couldn’t finish chances to collect the three points for the home fans however.
“We should have got the win and it’s hard to get points on the table when we aren’t finishing the chances that we are creating.”
“It’s also hard to go down in a draw when we looked like the better team for most of the match and confidence-wise a goal before half time makes it difficult for us at the end of the day.”
Another fixture at Cooks Square Park awaits Maitland next weekend, as they play against the Newcastle Jets Youth squad and look to fix their scoring record.
Charlestown City will also be at home in Round 4 of the league, with the Adamstown Rosebuds travelling to take on the team that still hasn’t lost a match in the season so far and the Blues will be looking to make it four matches undefeated for a strong league start.