Match of the Round
Lambton Jaffas v Broadmeadow Magic
Arthur Edden Oval, Sunday 2.30pm
Lambton will look to end Broadmeadow’s premiership hopes when the Jaffas welcome Magic to Arthur Edden Oval on Sunday.
Lambton are flying, unbeaten in their last nine matches to sit one point clear of Maitland at the top of the NPL NNSW table with three rounds to play.
The Jaffas were held to a scoreless draw by Edgeworth in their rescheduled round 11 match on Saturday but maintained their place at the summit regardless.
Lambton though will be without captain Michael Sessions for the next two matches after he was suspended following an off-the-ball altercation in the dying stages of the draw with the Eagles, with Sessions appearing to strike young Edgeworth player Nick Curran.
The form up front of attackers Scott Pettit, Kale Bradbery and Ben Hay has helped lead Lambton to within touching distance of the premiership with the trio scoring nine, eight and seven goals respectively.
But the Jaffas have also benefitted from the assuring presence of veteran former A-League goalkeeper Ben Kennedy, who has been among the best in the competition so far this season.
Broadmeadow meanwhile are in a spiral.
Damian Zane’s side have earned just two points from their last three games to fall from first place to third.
Following draws with struggling Adamstown Rosebud and Valentine, Magic were humbled 4-3 by Weston in their rescheduled round 13 fixture on Wednesday night.
That result now leaves Magic’s premiership destiny out of their own hands, with Broadmeadow four points behind Lambton entering Sunday’s clash.
Lambton won the round seven clash between the sides, with Reece Papas’ late penalty giving the Jaffas a 2-1 victory at Magic Park.
Maitland FC v Adamstown Rosebud
Cooks Square Park, Saturday 5pm
Maitland will sense an opportunity to climb to the top of the table this weekend when they host struggling Adamstown Rosebud on Saturday evening.
The Magpies are second, one point behind leaders Lambton with three rounds to play. Maitland have won their last five matches in a row, including their 4-1 victory over Weston on Saturday in their rescheduled round 14 fixture.
Michael Bolch will once again be looking to his star man James Thompson, with the attacker enjoying a breakout season.
Thompson is level with Edgeworth’s Jeremy Brockie and Charlestown’s Riley Smith with 11 goals as the competition’s top scorers.
A win for Maitland, and any sort of slip up from Lambton in their clash with a desperate Broadmeadow, would see the Magpies soar back to the summit.
Adamstown’s season went from bad to worse on Wednesday night as they went down 1-0 to bottom of the table Valentine in their rescheduled round 13 fixture.
Rosebud are now winless in their last five matches to remain in ninth place, only two points above Valentine.
Maitland won the round seven fixture 4-0 at Adamstown Oval with Thompson, Alex Read, Ryan Clarke and Joseph Melmeth among the scorers.
Newcastle Olympic v Charlestown Azzurri
Darling Street Oval, Sunday 2.30pm
Charlestown Azzurri can climb into the top five with a win over Newcastle Olympic on Sunday.
Azzurri arrive at Darling Street full of confidence having beaten Olympic 3-2 on Sunday in their rescheduled round seven fixture.
That result saw Charlestown pull to within one point of Joel Griffiths’ side ahead of their meeting this weekend.
Azzurri had been in a poor run of form that saw them lose to Maitland, Edgeworth and Broadmeadow while drawing with Adamstown.
But wins over Lake Macquarie City and Olympic all of a sudden have Graham Law’s side on the cusp of a finals place.
Olympic meanwhile have nosedived, winning just one of their last six matches to go from being almost certain of a finals place to simply hanging on.
Another defeat could see Olympic fall as low as seventh if results elsewhere go against them.
Edgeworth FC v Valentine FC
Jack McLaughlan Oval, Sunday 2.30pm
Valentine will be out to cause a huge upset when they travel to Jack McLaughlan Oval to face Edgeworth on Sunday.
Adam Hughes’ side will be full of confidence having finally won their first match of the season on Wednesday night, downing Adamstown Rosebud 1-0 at Cahill Oval in their rescheduled round 13 fixture thanks to Amanuel Ayelew’s 26th minute penalty.
A second win in a row could see Valentine climb off the bottom of the table should Adamstown fail to take points off a motivated Maitland.
Edgeworth meanwhile will also be buoyed by their midweek exploits, with the Eagles thrashing Lake Macquarie City 4-0 on Wednesday night in their rescheduled round 12 match.
The reigning premiers and champions are in scintillating form following their slow start to the campaign. Edgeworth are unbeaten in their last six matches to sit level on points with third-placed Broadmeadow, with the Eagles only one goal worse off on goal difference.
Michael Bridges’ side are now eyeing off a top three finish and the chance to avoid an elimination match in the first week of the finals.
Edgeworth won the round seven clash 4-0, with Jeremy Brockie and Josh Rose scoring doubles.
Lake Macquarie City v Weston Workers FC
Macquarie Field, Sunday 2.30pm
Weston Workers will be eyeing a place in the top five this weekend when they take on Lake Macquarie City on Sunday.
The Bears kept their finals hopes alive with an impressive 4-3 victory over Broadmeadow in their rescheduled round 13 match on Wednesday night.
Weston remain seventh but are now just one point behind fifth-placed Newcastle Olympic and level on points with Charlestown Azzurri in sixth.
With Olympic and Azzurri playing each other on Sunday, a draw at Darling Street and a win for Weston over Lakes at Macquarie Field would see the Bears climb into the top five with two rounds to play.
Lakes meanwhile are ready for their season to end having lost their last six matches in a row including their 4-0 defeat to Edgeworth in their rescheduled round 12 fixture on Wednesday night.
Weston will be wary of Lakes though with City having won the round seven encounter 3-1 thanks veteran striker Chris Berlin’s first half double.