NPL Men’s NNSW Round 15 Review: Eagles strengthen finals hopes after edging out Bears

June 20th, 2022

 James Paras

Sproule Sports Focus

Match of the Round
Edgeworth FC 3-2 Weston Workers FC

A brace from Jeremy Brockie helped Edgeworth score an important win against Weston Workers on Sunday to solidify their top five place.

The Eagles were desperate to collect three points after being beaten 3-0 by Lambton last weekend, while Weston arrived at Jack McLaughlan Oval looking to erase the pain of being eliminated from the Australia Cup by rivals Maitland last weekend.

The visitors were first to strike as Weston’s Aaron Niyonkuru pounced on a defensive mistake and made a charge for Edgeworth’s goal before beating keeper Josh Low with a shot from the outside of his boot.

Niyonkuru was proving to be a handful for the Edgeworth midfield and continued to threaten but the momentum of the game shifted when Jeremy Brockie found the equaliser in the 30th minute, scoring from close range courtesy of a Will Bower cross.

Brockie was on the scene five minutes later with last year’s golden boot winner latching onto a pinpoint cross from teammate Josh Rose to give his side a 2-1 advantage heading into the break.

Weston emerged in the second half looking to swing momentum back in their favour but the short passing game from Edgeworth was proving too much to handle for the visitors.

Weston’s best chances came from two Nathan Morris free kicks, with the veteran defender unable to produce an equaliser from distance.

The second half devolved into an arm wrestle with neither side able to find the next goal to sway the outcome in their favour. That was until Bower broke free in the 80th minute and was pulled down in the penalty area, with the referee awarding the home side a penalty.

Bower calmly slotted the penalty to give his side a 3-1 advantage, with the Eagles looking to be in cruise control. But spectacular 92nd-minute effort from Weston’s Sam Kamper sparked thoughts of the unlikeliest of comebacks but it was too little too late for the visitors.

Weston assistant coach Anthony Richards said his side had their chances but were not good enough on the day.

“I thought football-wise we were okay but there are just moments where we aren’t good enough,” Richards said.

“We should have taken more in attack and we had chances but also be switched on in defence for the full 90 minutes. We have scored two goals again today but we have walked away with nothing.

“The two guys that really caused the issues for us were Jeremy Brockie who was finishing [opportunities] and Josh Rose who was out [wide] and provided service for both goals. When you’re playing against A-League quality players, you really have to be on your game.”

Edgeworth coach Peter McGuiness said it was a tight game and the victory was a hard-earned one.

“I thought it was a tough game,” McGuiness said.

“That’s the second time we have played [Weston] this year, we had them in the Australia Cup and that was end-to-end. [Weston] have some really good technical players there and they’re tough to beat.

“Some of their passing in front of our defensive line towards the end of the first half was hard to cope with and they did that quite well. I’m just glad we found a way to get back into the game.

“We started to build a bit more and then we led and I could see the mood in the team, it was a bit more vibrant and I thought we’d guts it out in the second half. [I’m] disappointed that we conceded late but happy with the performance.”

Lake Macquarie City 0-1 Valentine FC

A late Adam Mlinaric winner saw Valentine leave Macquarie Field with all three points on Sunday evening.

Lake Macquarie City were desperately looking for a victory to halt a four-game slide while Valentine were looking to move into sixth spot on the table with a win.

The first half was free flowing and both sides created chances to score. John Majurovski created the home side’s best chance in the 12th minute when he spun and hit his shot at the edge of the penalty area, with the ball almost taking a deflection into the back of the net.

Valentine were awarded plenty of corners in the first half but were unable to make the hosts pay as the game remained goalless at half-time.

The second half saw much of the same and the match looked destined to be a nil-all draw heading into the final five minutes.

That was until Valentine’s Mlinaric came flashing through into Lakes’ penalty area to get his head to a lobbed cross to score the winner for his team in the 86th minute.

Valentine had the goal advantage heading into the final minutes but Lakes’ hopes of finding an equaliser were not aided when Ryan Woods was shown a red card for lashing out in the 89th minute.

The win sees Valentine collect their fourth victory of the season and move to sixth spot on the table, while Lake Macquarie have now lost five in a row.

Lakes coach Keelan Hamilton said he did not feel like his side deserved to lose the match but was confident they were heading in the right direction.

“[It was a] tough way to lose,” Hamilton said.

“I don’t feel like we deserved to lose the game. I thought we were the better side in the first half and then Valentine improved in the second half. When we had our period of ascendancy we didn’t take those chances and unfortunately copped a goal late on.

“I’m proud of the players’ effort though and effort overall from where we have been in past weeks. We are going through a tough period, even today we had six players that were unavailable and some key players in Campbell Ross and Carter Smith but I think Valentine also had players unavailable as well so that’s not an excuse.

“I think we are going through a period that’s a challenge. We are putting some young guys out there that don’t have a lot of first team experience and we are learning some hard lessons and trying to keep improving but it’s going to take time.”

Valentine coach Adam Hughes said it was a good win for his depleted squad.

“It was a big result for us as a group,” Hughes said.

“It was a close game, few chances presented themselves in the first half but it took until late in the match [to get a goal]. We stayed disciplined and sometimes in a football match you can’t win the game in the first 20 minutes, you need to be patient and this is probably a reflection of that.

“We brought in some great youngsters today and they did absolutely outstanding and that shows other clubs that we are willing to give the young ones a go.”

The matches between Adamstown Rosebud and Maitland FC, Lambton Jaffas and Charlestown Azzurri were abandoned due to inclement weather.

The match between Cooks Hill United and Broadmeadow Magic was postponed.

Related Topics:
NPL Men's NNSW Round 15 Review

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