NPL Men’s NNSW Round 19 Review: Weston maintain hold on finals place after Magic upset

July 18th, 2022

 James Paras

Sproule Sports Focus

Weston Workers FC 1-0 Broadmeadow Magic

Weston Workers maintained their grasp on a finals place after scoring a thrilling 1-0 win over Broadmeadow Magic on Saturday.

The win was Weston’s fourth in a row, with the Bears enjoying a mid-season revival that has lead to them to fifth place and a strong chance to secure a finals place.

It did not all go the Bears’ way as they lost veteran defender Nathan Morris to injury in the warm up at Rockwell Automation Park.

Broadmeadow were also awarded a penalty in the 90th minute, only for Weston goalkeeper Jacob Zissis to produce a match-winning save to secure the points for the Bears.

Magic striker Jacob Dowse threatened early but was unable to find a way past Zissis who kept the hosts in the match after an early onslaught from the visitors.

Moustafa Mohammad provided the first real chance for Weston just before the 10-minute mark but was unable to find a way past Magic goalkeeper Ben McNamara.

Zissis again proved crucial just minutes later as he kept out a goal line scramble as Dowse almost opened the scoring with a header.

Weston landed the crucial blow four minutes before half-time as an Aaron Niyonkuru corner found an unmarked Sam Kamper at the back post who was able to head home from close range.

Weston started the second half full of vigour with their 1-0 advantage and Niyonkuru had a golden opportunity just minutes after the resumption of play only for his effort to hit the crossbar from close range.

Magic looked down and out until the dying stages when they were awarded a penalty. But Zissis was the hero, saving Damon Green’s penalty to deny the visitors their equaliser.

Weston closed the match out 1-0 to hand Magic their second consecutive loss as Damian Zane’s men missed a chance to go top of the table with the loss.

Bears coach Anthony Richards said Weston were timing their form just right in the lead up to finals.

“I think our luck has turned,” Richards said.

“The boys have been training really hard and their luck is starting to turn. Magic got a penalty in the last couple of minutes, which made it [stressful] but Jacob ZIssis was able to save it and we came away with the win.

“We were out on our feet at the end but we kept finding a way to throw ourselves in front of their shots.

“It was a real tough gritty win. Nathan Morris pulled out during the warm up [so we had to contend with that] and with Jacob Zissis obviously saving that penalty, so everyone contributed to getting that result today. It was good.”

Cooks Hill United 1-4 Newcastle Olympic

Newcastle Olympic kept their finals hopes alive when they put four past Cooks Hill United to celebrate striker Jared Muller’s 50th game in style.

The victory at Fearnley Dawes Athletics Field sees Olympic keep touch with the finals places, with Olympic two points behind Lambton and Weston who are fourth and fifth respectively on 23 competition points.

Muller continued his strong goal-scoring form on Saturday as he found the mark with a shot from outside the penalty area to hand his side the lead after 15 minutes.

A brilliant run from Olympic’s Malik Thom extended his side’s advantage just before the 25-minute mark, as he shook his defender and broke into the Cooks Hill penalty area to give his side a 2-0 advantage.

Muller popped up again just after the half-hour mark as he headed home to grab his second of the afternoon and give Olympic a 3-0 advantage heading into the break.

Olympic began the second half in the driver’s seat but a miskick at the back from goalkeeper Adam Pearce gifted a goal back to Cooks Hill as Sam Webb received the ball in a dangerous area but he was unable to capitalise.

A rocketing header from Cooks Hill pegged one back for the hosts just before the hour mark but it would do little to deter Olympic.

Olympic then bagged their fourth through Jackon Burston who was able to pick out the bottom corner from close range.

The victory sees Olympic move to 21 competition points but face stiff competition from Weston, Valentine and Edgeworth who all picked up wins on the weekend and sit around in the middle of the table.

Lambton Jaffas 1-2 Valentine FC

A stunning Nick Cowburn free kick in the last second of the match handed Valentine an important win against reigning premiers Lambton on Sunday.

With Broadmeadow Magic and Charlestown Azzurri losing their last fixtures, Jaffas had a big opportunity to make up some ground on the premiership race but it was Adam Hughes’ men who came away with the three points at Blacksmiths Oval.

An incisive run from Valentine’s Tyrone Mulder forced a mix-up at the back for Lambton, handing Valentine the lead.

Lambton found their reply just after the resumption of play for the second half when Mitch Rooke found himself alone in the penalty area and was able to finish from close range.

Valentine and Lambton exchanged opportunities and Valentine had their best chance just before the 70th minute from a dangerous free kick on the edge of the penalty area that forced a fingertip save from Jaffas goalkeeper Ben Kennedy.

Lambton’s James Virgili provided his side with their best chance when he danced his way into the penalty area but he was unable to find the mark to give his side the lead.

The final exchanges proved to be frantic as Valentine and Lambton searched for a late winner but when Luke Virgili was shown a second yellow card in the 95th minute, Cowburn had the chance to steal the result with the last kick of the match.

Cowburn spectacularly picked out the top right-hand corner with a shot from the left of the penalty area to give his side a 2-1 victory, with the full-time whistle sounding moments later.

Hughes said it was a great result for his side and also made special mention of Cowburn’s last gasp winner.

“It was nice to come away with the three points, it keeps us going,” Hughes said.

“We come into the last part of this season in good shape now and we should be getting bodies back [in the coming weeks]. I thought football-wise we played well and we had a lot of controlled possession, we were probably unlucky not to go in a couple of goals ahead. The Jaffas started the second half a bit better than what we did but as the half went on it swung back to us.

“For [Cowburn] to finish a chance like that at the end, that was a world-class strike. [The win] keeps us in contention for a finals spot and now with the season being extended it bodes well for us to hopefully get some training in, see what we need to do and get on. It’s tough for all the teams at the moment, missing matches and training time.”

Edgeworth FC 4-1 Lake Macquarie City

Edgeworth backed up their impressive mid-week defeat of Charlestown Azzurri with a 4-1 victory over Lake Macquarie City on Sunday.

The win sees the Eagles keep their hopes alive for a finals berth as they remain within one point of fifth-placed Weston Workers.

Will Bower complemented his mid-week hat-trick against Charlestown with an early goal against Lakes at Jack McLaughlan Oval, scoring a simple tap in to give Edgeworth the lead just after 10 minutes.

The first half remained a tight tussle between the sides but the home side looked the more dangerous. It would not be until the second half that the Eagles ran away with the result.

A cross-shot from Sascha Montefiore extended the Eagles’ lead as Edgeworth looked to take control in the early exchanges of the second half.

Josh Gorman made it 3-0 as he found the back of the net after some fantastic lead up play from teammate Jarryd Sutherland that saw him get the ball to Gorman unmarked through some fancy footwork.

A penalty was awarded to the hosts when goalkeeper Blair Ryan was judged to have taken Bower down in the penalty area and he made no mistake from the spot to give his side a 4-0 lead.

Lakes’ Tom Parkes scored a consolation in the 85th minute as he showed great poise to get his shot onto his left foot and picked out the far corner to make the score 4-1.

It was Lakes’ seventh-straight defeat that sees them cemented in 10th place on the table.

Edgeworth coach Peter McGuiness said it was a big week for the club as they came away from it with six points.

“It was nice to come away with maximum points from the two games this week,” McGuiness said.

“I thought we played some good football at times in both games. The table is starting to become really congested so it was good to stay in touch. Will Bower has been great for us in both scoring and creating [this week].

“Shayne Van As has joined us also and has been great since coming in, he gives his teammates good information and a sense of confidence in the team.”

The match between Maitland FC and Charlestown Azzurri was postponed.

Meanwhile, Northern NSW Football announced on Friday its plan to complete its 2022 Premier Competitions.

See the changes to the NPL Men’s NNSW competition HERE

Related Topics:
NPL Men's NNSW Round 19 Review

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