Match of the Round
Edgeworth Eagles 4 (Bower 30’, Atayde 45’, Evans 56’, Brymora 57’) defeated Maitland 1 (Crowley 49’)
National Premier Leagues Northern NSW football kicked back off in tremendous style with last year’s grand finalists colliding for a mammoth clash at Jack McLaughlan Oval.
Last season’s champions Edgeworth ran out victors again over Maitland, this time with a statement-making 4-1 triumph on Sunday.
Both sides started fast after being starved of competitive football but lacked the killer ball in the final third.
Last season’s Golden Boot winner and Magpies debutant, Braedyn Crowley, had the best opening chance as he grazed the crossbar with a volley inside the penalty area.
The match pitted last year’s first and third teams against each other as the two sides settled into the game and began to share possession.
The Eagles would then provide the breakthrough at the 30th minute mark, breaking fast on the counter attack with Josh Rose playing a fantastic ball through to Will Bower. The young attacker went one-on-one with Matt Trott, slotting the ball to Trott’s left to open the scoring.
The Magpies battled away to find an equaliser with Crowley and James Thompson linking up well and forcing Josh Low into some good saves. But against the run of play Edgeworth would grab their second through Jose Atayde on the verge of half-time.
Atayde, on his return game for the Eagles, made a great run into the box and lobbed Trott in goal, only for the ball to hit the post. But Atayde was on hand to tap in the rebound.
Edgeworth would take their two-goal cushion into the break but it was Maitland who started the faster in the second half with Crowley finally earning his goal with an incredible finish with a back heel after sensational work by Thompson down the right flank.
The Eagles began to win back the arm wrestle with last year’s grand final hero Daniel Fabrizio having a great chance in the area only to scuff his shot.
The defending champions would not be denied a third with captain Josh Evans beating his marker to notch a goal with his chest off a precise free kick from Atayde on 56 minutes.
New signing Kristian Brymora would make it four a minute later, with the Eagles debutant hitting a stunning half-volley from outside the area that was too powerful for Trott.
Edgeworth continued to play with great confidence racking up shots, while Tyson Jackson was unlucky not to grab one for himself, hitting the post while Matt Comerford and Joey O’Connor entered the fray for Maitland.
The Eagles would maintain their lead and stay on course for a monumental opening round victory over last year’s premiers.
After a tough week for the Eagles with championship-winning coach Damian Zane departing, interim coach Keelan Hamilton praised his side’s attitude in their performance.
“[It has] obviously been an interesting week for the whole club with the change and me coming on board. So to still have the mentality to produce and grind out a victory like they did was a huge credit to them,” Hamilton said.
“It was tight in that opening half an hour and overall it was a real arm wrestle.
“We took our opportunities when they came. The scoreline probably flatters us a little bit but we took ours and Maitland missed the clear cut chances that they had.
“The importance [of the victory] can’t be understated. To start with a convincing victory in the end and to get ourselves into the season, [we’ve got a] few little things to tidy up as well though.
“Three points on the board is the perfect way to start.”
Having had their chances in the game and wanting to achieve victory, Maitland were disappointed with the final score as coach Mick Bolch said his side were not clinical enough.
“We started well and created a few good early chances. It was a pretty even first half and we were unlucky to go in 2-0 down,” Bolch said.
“They were too fit and more clinical in front of goal than us.
“We created plenty but we were poor defensively, especially in transition when we turned the ball over.
“We need to tighten up and not give our opposition as much time and space on the ball.”
Lake Macquarie City 0 defeated by Lambton Jaffas 1 (Bradbury 83’)
In the first game of the new season, Lambton Jaffas left it late to down Lake Macquarie at Macquarie Field on Sunday.
Both defences were sturdy in the opening stages before Jaffas pre-season arrival Kale Bradbury let fly a dangerous shot that produced a quality save from Stuart Plant, before fellow arrival Matt Thompson almost opened the scoring with an opportunistic chip.
Lakes youngster Tyrell Paulson had a golden chance to put the Roosters ahead, going through one-on-one with Ben Kennedy but hit the post with a low shot.
Paulson had another chance shortly after dynamic work from Michael Bru but could not register enough power on his shot.
Plant made a crucial double save before Lake Macquarie were in on goal again, this time with Chris Berlin, only the shot went straight into the path of Kennedy on the stroke of half-time.
The two sides created chances before the end of the half with both goalkeepers making a handful of huge saves, although the Roosters blew a couple of massive opportunities to take the lead.
Reigning Graham Jennings medallist Mitch Oxborrow, making his debut for the Jaffas, struck a powerful free kick just after half-time only for Plant to be equal to it.
Scott Pettit thought he had cracked the Roosters defence after nodding home from a Bradbury cross but the effort was ruled out for offside and soon after the striker would hit the crossbar off a volley inside the six-yard box.
With the match drawing to a close, Lambton were not going to be denied an opening day win with Bradbury stepping up.
The attacker swivelled on the edge of the area and drilled the ball into the net to give the Jaffas the all-important goal.
Tom Waller almost got a second for the away side but the Jaffas would claim the one-goal win and leave with all three points.
The victory opens the account for the Jaffas season and coach James Pascoe said he was pleased his side continued to fight for the goal.
“We just had to be patient. They defended in a deep block which is always difficult to play against,” Pascoe said.
“There was a little bit of flatness about us today. We’re a couple of weeks away from being fully revved up and back to our best.
“We kept a clean sheet and as fitness improves the more we’ll improve.
“[We got the] hree points and we move onto the next one.”
Lakes would have felt hard done by not to have scored, especially in the first half, while debut coach Josh Rufo said there were plenty of positives to take away from the first game.
“We should have been two or three up with the clear chances that we had. Overall [I’m] disappointed with the result but some good signs moving into next week.
“Our structure and shape was good but when you play against the good teams, all they need is one shot, one goal.
“The work rate and attitude was really good and in terms of the football they were technically a little bit better.
“We’ve talked a lot about one percenters, our shape and our principle of play is most important and today we gave a good account of ourselves.”
Valentine Phoenix 0 defeated by Broadmeadow Magic 5 (J. Virgili 6’ 15’, L. Virgili 47’, Rooke 73’, Dowse 86’)
Broadmeadow Magic bolted out of the gates, putting five past Valentine in an impressive round one win at CB Complex.
James Virgili would get the ball rolling in the sixth minute, capitalising on a costly mistake by Phoenix goalkeeper Danny Ireland.
Ireland came out of his area and lost out to Virgili who snapped up his opening chance to put Magic on track.
Virgili would make it two soon after due to an excellent cross that teed up the lethal attacker and the former Newcastle Jet nestled it into the net to make it 2-0.
Broadmeadow would pick up where they left off after the break as Luke Virgili this time nodded home the third for Magic after a pinpoint free kick.
Valentine’s best chance came in the second half with Ben Hay breaking away before hitting the wrong side of the net from a tough angle.
Mitch Rooke would provide the killer blow to Valentine, going through on goal after scintillating work from Jarred Baker and the new signing hit the back of the net on his club debut for the red and yellow.
Rooke was at it again, this time hitting the bar with a devastating strike before Jacob Dowse almost followed up on the rebound.
Dowse would round out the thrashing in the 86th minute with a cool backheel finish off a Sam Walker cross, a just reward for the youngster.
Broadmeadow looked dynamic in their 5-0 win and now sit top of the table after the first round of games.
As for Valentine, it was certainly not the start they were wishing for and after conceding a league high 60 goals last year, they will need to readjust their defensive structures to stay clear of the familiar frailties at the back.
The boys from Broadmeadow would have been jubilant with their return to football and coach Anthony Richards said his side’s fitness played a pivotal role in the outstanding win.
“The boys have been working really hard. Even throughout COVID the boys were doing their own thing, our fitness levels were really good,” Richards said.
“Valentine are a good side. We were just a bit better on the day with our completion and our finishing.
“[Jacob] Dowsey has been out for quite some time and it was a nice moment for him as it’s been a long way back for him. And [it was] also great to see Mitch [Rooke] score on debut.
“[I’m] really happy with the scoreline [but] it’s only the first game and there is still a very long way to go.”
Charlestown Azzurri 0 defeated by Adamstown Rosebud 1 (Goodman 4’)
Adamstown have hit the ground running in 2020, grinding out a hard-fought 1-0 win over Charlestown Azzurri at Lisle Carr Oval.
The Rosebuds got off to the best possible start with Flynn Goodman pouncing on a low cross to lift the red and green into the lead only four minutes into the game.
Adamstown could have had a second soon after with Luke Vallone hitting the crossbar off a header from close range.
The match was Charlestown’s first under new coach Graham Law and the Azzurri started to find some rhythm in attack but could not muster the equaliser.
Charlestown looked dangerous off corners with Daniel Eisenhaeur coming up strong for Adamstown, while the Rosebuds would take their one-goal lead to the break.
Azzurri continued to probe in the second half having the majority of possession and almost scoring off a low free kick.
Adamstown continued to defend valiantly, turning away waves of Azzurri attack.
Challenges started to fly in later in the game with plenty of yellow cards shown, before a second yellow was shown to the Rosebuds in the 90th minute and Adamstown were forced to finish with 10 men.
However, Adamstown would hold onto their slim margin to record a gutsy win on the road.
The victory is Adamstown’s first since round 12 of last year and a positive way to start the season for last year’s wooden spoon recipients.
Charlestown did not lack intent but lacked their killer instinct and will have to turn it around before they take on in-form Broadmeadow next round.
Adamstown were ecstatic with the opening day win and coach Shane Cansdell-Sherrif said it was a well-rounded performance from his outfit.
“We got them on the back foot early and took our chance. As the game went on Azzurri got back into it but still overall great to start the season that way,” Cansdell-Sherrif.
“We played two friendly games last week and we looked the least sharpest today. Our passing wasn’t as accurate as it should be and we could have really hurt them early in the game.
“I think our two centre-backs did really well today to keep things solid at the back and to keep a clean-sheet.
“We’re still such a young side compared to the teams we’ll come up against so I can’t fault their work ethic and application.”
Weston Workers 1 (Hurley 57’) defeated by Newcastle Olympic 2 (Green 73’ 75’)
Newcastle Olympic snatched an opening day victory from the grasp of Weston, scoring two late goals to sink the Bears to a home defeat at Rockwell Automation Park.
Both sides rolled out a lot of fresh faces, while new coaches Leo Bertos and Alex Tagaroulias took to the sideline.
It was an exciting opening battle between two well-matched teams in the first 20 minutes before Olympic were awarded a penalty.
Pre-season arrival Anthony Marenghi stepped up for the away side but the Weston goalkeeper pulled off a brilliant stop to deny Newcastle the lead.
Weston started to create some attacking raids with Jarryd Sutherland looking dangerous against his former side.
Marenghi would have another attempt, this time from distance with a devastating drive but was tipped over by the keeper.
Both sides would go in even at the break before the black and white would have a shot cleared off the line early in the second half.
Weston would soon have their goal with star-man Chris Hurley picking up the ball just over half-way and driving at the Olympic defence to score a brilliant solo goal at the 57th minute mark.
As the match wore on, Weston look destined to pick up another home victory, before Olympic’s Blake Green would fire in a ball from close range after the goalkeeper failed to clear the cross.
The Olympic boys would ride their momentum and would have a crucial second goal only a couple minutes later with Green again on hand after a fast counter attack that led to Dino Fajkovic squaring the ball for Green to drive home.
Newcastle Olympic would salvage a determined three points and a huge victory for the team looking to reproduce the glory days of years gone by.
The club parted ways with former coach Peter McGuinness during the week and will feel the win will put them on the right track to keep fighting for results.
The Bears will not be too disheartened by the narrow loss but will be hurting going down in their opening game which is their first loss at home since round one last year.
Leo Bertos’ men will take on Lambton away from home in a huge round two clash next week while Olympic host Valentine for their first match at Darling Street Oval