NPL Men’s NNSW Round 18 Review: Azzurri climb back to the top after downing Rosebud

July 11th, 2022

 James Paras

Sproule Sports Focus

Charlestown Azzurri 2-1 Adamstown Rosebud

Charlestown Azzurri have taken back top spot on the table after a hard fought 2-1 victory over Adamstown Rosebud on Saturday.

Some may have been expected a walkover for the high-flying hosts but Azzurri coach Graham Law expected the match to be a tight tussle against last-placed Rosebud.

The arrival of Taylor Regan at Charlestown Azzurri may have stolen the headlines in the lead-up to his anticipated debut but his fellow new signing Rene Ferguson would make sure he was not the forgotten man as he slotted the winner on his return late in the second half.

The match was a tussle from the opening whistle and while the Lisle Carr Oval pitch remained soft underfoot, the sunny conditions were a welcome addition for the players.

Rosebud had the first major opportunity of the match as striker Anthony Wood broke away but Azzurri goalkeeper Nathan Archbold was equal to the challenge and provided a great reflex save to deny the visitors in the 26th minute.

A thumping header from Azzurri’s Nigel Boogaard forced a block from Rosebud goalkeeper Tom Jenkin and Riley Smith was not able to capitalise on the loose ball close to goal.

The sides remained locked at 0-0 heading into the break with both sides creating opportunities.

A mishit at the back for Rosebud saw the ball fall at the feet of Harry Frendo who handed Azzurri the advantage just after 50 minutes played as he cleverly chipped Jenkin.

The opening goal led to a flurry of opportunities for Azzurri but it was Rosebud who found the next goal as Zaik Luck got his foot to a cleverly taken free-kick to level the scores 1-1 in the 66th minute.

But Rosebud’s bid for the upset of the season was thwarted by the returning Ferguson as he found himself on the end of a corner in front of an empty goal to slot home the winner 15 minutes from full-time.

The win saw Charlestown Azzurri retake first spot on the table, although Broadmeadow Magic and Maitland are hot on the heels with games in hand just three points behind. Rosebud remain rooted to the bottom of the table and winless for the season.

Azzurri coach Law was full of praise for his opponents and said the victory was an important one to notch in the run home to the finals.

“We fully expected a game like that today,” Law said.

“As a head coach I’m quite big on delivering stats and analysis to my squad and the stats available on Adamstown don’t present them as a bottom of the table team. [Adamstown] are in so many games and they don’t take hidings. They have lost a lot of games by one goal.

“Our club did so well to get the pitch right for today and that says something with the lack of sport played in Newcastle today. I thought considering the conditions it was a really entertaining game, end to end.

“We weren’t shocked with Adamstown’s performance. It’s a tight competition and there isn’t much between the teams and today proved that.”

Law also made mention of his two new arrivals, Taylor Regan and Rene Ferguson.

“Taylor has added to the side already, not only his ability as a football player but his presence and vocabulary. His presence next to Nigel [Boogaard] is great and the way he plays he will only get stronger when the weather gets better,” Law said.

“I’m comfortable that we are getting through these tough patches of bad conditions and getting outcomes.

“Rene coming back as a local boy after [spending time out the game] starting his family and scoring the winner. It was quite interesting, I was talking to someone after the game and they made mention of how all the talk was of Taylor Regan signing but it was Rene Ferguson who scored the winner.”

The matches between Broadmeadow Magic and Maitland FC, Newcastle Olympic and Lambton Jaffas, Lake Macquarie City and Cooks Hill United and Valentine FC against Weston Workers FC were postponed due to wet weather.

Edgeworth FC had the bye.

Related Topics:
NPL Men's NNSW Round 18 Review

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