NPL NNSW – Finals Week Two Review

October 26th, 2020

 James Ward

 Sproule Sports Focus

Major Semi-Final

Edgeworth Eagles 3-3 Broadmeadow Magic (Edgeworth win 4-3 on penalties)

Edgeworth have booked the first spot in the NPL NNSW grand final after an unforgettable major semi-final victory over Broadmeadow Magic at Jack McLaughlan Oval on Saturday.

The two teams played out an all-time classic in wet conditions with the reigning premiers advancing on penalties.

Broadmeadow took the lead inside the first 10 minutes with Mitch Rooke scoring a deflected free-kick to open the scoring.

The Eagles hit back through player-coach Josh Rose with a wonder strike from the edge of the box on the stroke of half-time.

The match ebbed and flowed through the entirety of regular time before Broadmeadow thought they had won it when Ryan Ensor scored in the 84th minute.

But the Eagles would not lie down and sent the game into extra-time with Dylan Holz scoring three minutes later with a fantastic finish from a tight angle.

The match headed to extra-time where Broadmeadow took the lead for the third time with James Virgili firing in a rocket in the third minute of extra-time.

Holz again was the hero for Edgeworth scoring his second crucial equaliser in the 106th minute.

The match then went to a penalty shootout with teenager Damon Green scoring the decisive penalty to send the Eagles through to their sixth consecutive grand final.

Rose said he was extremely proud of his players to earn another shot at the championship.

“It was a strange feeling. Even though we were never ahead in the game, I never felt we would lose at any stage. The boys have got that spirit and kept fighting back and it’s an incredible achievement,” Rose said.

“The first half especially we played some great football. They clawed their way back and put us under pressure but overall as a neutral it what as a fantastic game of football.

“It’s amazing for a club to achieve six straight grand finals. It’s not often you get that consistency around finals due to how intense it can be but it’s the same group of boys and to continually come out on top is just incredible.”

Broadmeadow will now get a second chance against Maitland in the preliminary final while coach Anthony Richards said while his side came very close he was happy with the effort.

“We’re disappointed we got ourselves into a couple of positions where we could have won it and didn’t come away with it. But not disappointed with the effort,” Richards said.

“It was outstanding from both teams. A great performance and the crowd must have walked away thinking they got their money’s worth. Terrific spectacle.

“We’ll take a lot of confidence out of Saturday and the ability to go for that long of a period in those conditions is a great asset of a player. We’re in a good spot.”

Minor Semi-Final

Newcastle Olympic 0-4 Maitland FC

Maitland have advanced to the preliminary final after a second-half blitz downed Newcastle Olympic 4-0 on Sunday.

The first half was a cagey affair in wet conditions at Darling Street Oval with the sides scoreless at the break.

But it was all one-way traffic in the second half with Maitland firing in four goals.

Braedyn Crowley scored two superb goals in the 53rd and 67th minutes to make it 16 goals in 15 games this season for the NPL NNSW two-time top goalscorer.

James Thompson made it three after a deflected shot in the 74th minute while Crowley turned provider swinging in a fantastic cross for Ryan Clarke to score two minutes later to seal the victory.

Maitland will now play Broadmeadow for a spot in the grand final, a rematch of their incredible semi-final clash in 2019.

Maitland coach Mick Bolch told the Newcastle Herald he was jubilant with his side’s execution and performance.

“We had the run of the game and should have been a couple up at half-time,” Bolch said.

“They are games we have lost three and four nil in the past. After dominating the first half and not scoring, we concede a scrappy goal and heads go down. But the boys were on today. That’s our best performance this year.

“We’ve been written off a bit with people saying we’re injured but we’ve still got plenty of quality players and plenty to play for. We’ve won our past five and we’re one more away from another grand final. While ever that prize is dangling in front of the boys, they’re never going to give up.”

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