NPL Men’s NNSW Round 10 Review: Magic miss chance to close gap to Azzurri at the top

May 16th, 2022

 James Paras

 Sproule Sports Focus

Match of the Round
Charlestown Azzurri 1-1 Broadmeadow Magic

Broadmeadow Magic missed the opportunity to close the gap to Charlestown Azzurri as their top of the table clash finished in a 1-1 draw on Sunday.

It was a hard-fought contest at Lisle Carr Oval with Azzurri coming into the match as the only undefeated side in the competition. They were able to maintain that record despite Magic’s impressive form of late, with Damian Zane’s men looking to make it six wins in a row.

The match of the round also marked the first match in NPL Men’s NNSW history to be adjudicated by an all-female match official team. FIFA referee Kate Jacewicz had plenty to do in the match, showing 11 yellow cards between the two teams.

Magic was the first to strike with forward Jayden Stewardson following up a shot from Keanu Moore that was blocked by Azzurri keeper Nathan Archbold. Stewardson was on the scene to poke home from close range to give his side the advantage after 10 minutes.

The recent rain made it a heavy track at Lisle Carr Oval and the ball was moving slowly across the ground with both sides struggling at times to play at any real pace.

Azzurri found their reply through Matt Tull just after the half-hour mark. Tull got his head to the ball in the penalty area with his back to goal, lobbing it over goalkeeper Zac Bowling’s grasp and finding the bottom right corner, bringing the scores level at 1-1.

The scores remained level heading into the break but Magic started the second half full of running, almost grabbing the lead immediately when Bailey Wells fired a shot in Azzurri’s penalty area. But Archbold was quick to react and saw it away for a corner.

Magic’s best chance of the second half came from forward Jacob Dowse in the 55th minute as he found himself unmarked at the back post, firing a bouncing volley that beat Archbold but collected the crossbar.

Azzurri’s best chance of producing a winner came from Riley Smith in the last quarter of the match, with the striker finding himself in a one-on-one situation with Magic keeper Zac Bowling, but he was unable to muster a shot to trouble the young keeper.

Magic coach Damian Zane said the conditions made the match a tough contest and also highlighted Stewardson’s performance.

“We maybe got a bit complacent [in the conditions],” Zane said.

“It’s tough because you have to change your game to the conditions. The goal we gave away was disappointing. I feel like we threw two points away with that goal. We had a few chances after but it was a tough game to take chances.

“When you play in those conditions there’s going to be so many more contests and collisions so that inevitably led to more free kicks and then the cards. I thought the referee did a good job because it was a competitive match.

“[Stewardson] has been very patient and I think given the conditions it was a good time for him [to play] and he has been working hard on his game. He is really using his size and I thought he was fantastic, he was our man of the match for me.”

Graham Law echoed Zane’s sentiments regarding the conditions, also saying that credit was owed to both teams’ defensive displays.

“It was a hard day for defenders today,” Law said.

“For the game to finish one-all is a credit to both sides because that was a nightmare ground. It was slippery, it was wet, it was bogged and for that game to finish [level], the defences can walk away with pride.

“I didn’t feel at any stage that we were on top or [Magic] were on top. There were quite a few shots on goal today but only one goal scored each side, so I don’t feel either side really capitalised on their forward play.”

Newcastle Olympic 6 – 1 Adamstown Rosebud

A first-half Jared Muller hat-trick helped Newcastle Olympic cruise past Adamstown Rosebud 6-1 on Sunday.

Adamstown came into the match still looking for their first win of the season and their tough year continued with Olympic handing Dave Rosewarne’s men their eighth straight defeat.

The first half was worth the price of admission for onlookers, with six of the game’s seven goals being scored in the opening 45 minutes.

Muller signalled early on he was in for a barnstormer of a game, as he opened the scoring in the eighth minute with a beautifully struck curler from the edge of the box that Rosebud keeper Tom Jenkin was not able to contain.

In positive signs for the embattled club Rosebud hit back almost immediately through Zaik Luck as he found himself alone in Olympic’s penalty area and was able to squeeze his shot through goalkeeper Adam Pearce’s legs to restore parity at 1-1.

But the scores did not remain level for long with Olympic hitting back just two minutes later, this time through Joey Langlois who calmly slotted his goal close to home courtesy of a cross from Malik Thom.

Olympic then made it three goals in the opening 15 minutes with Muller grabbing his second of the afternoon, this time with a header from close range.

The home side had found their groove and were asking plenty of questions of the young Adamstown side and they extended their lead to 4-1 off the back of a set piece from a corner, leading to Jacob Bailey heading home a simple goal.

Olympic then made it 5-1 just before the break, with Muller completing his hat-trick with a composed finish that beat Jenkin at his near post.

With all the damage done in the first half, Joel Griffiths’ men kept their foot on the accelerator in the second half but would only add one more goal to the tally as Jackson Burston made it 6-1 in the 58th minute.

The victory saw Olympic climb to equal fourth on the table as they prepare to face Maitland next week.

It does not get any easier for the 11th placed Rosebud, who will now look to next weekend where they will attempt to topple reigning premiers Lambton Jaffas.

Matches between Lambton Jaffas and Edgeworth FC, Cooks Hill United and Valentine FC and Lake Macquarie City and Maitland FC were postponed due to wet weather.

Weston Workers FC had the bye

Related Topics:
NPL Men's NNSW Round 10 Review

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