Match of the Round
Charlestown Azzurri 1-1 Lake Macquarie City
Charlestown and Lake Macquarie shared the points in a tense match of the round with the two clubs languishing at the bottom end of the table and looking to find match-winning form at Lisle Carr Oval on Sunday.
Lakes were fast out of the blocks and were rewarded with veteran forward Chris Berlin grabbing his first goal in Roosters colours for the new season.
Tyrell Paulson made a great effort through the centre of midfield before playing in Berlin who beat Nathan Archibold to the ball to open the scoring.
The away side was filled with confidence by the early goal and continued to create chances in the final third but could not capitalise to make it two.
Just before half-time Charlestown landed a sucker-punch as they equalised with Riley Smith producing a powering run down the right-wing before slipping in Jackson Frendo who put it past Stuart Plant to make it 1-1.
After the break, Lake Macquarie were still looking the more likely to take away the three points while Azzurri looked dangerous on the counter-attack with pace in behind, drawing the Roosters defenders into a few yellow cards.
Roosters midfielder Michael Bru had an excellent chance to put his team in the lead but flew his shot over the bar midway through the second half while shortly after Berlin went in on goal again but his touch let him down to squander another opportunity.
Lake Macquarie’s Ghanaian recruit Iman Akram had the best chance of the second half though going through one-on-one with the keeper before trying to lob Archibold but the ball narrowly went over the crossbar.
Riley Smith was continuing to be the main threat for Azzurri going forward while Lakes defender Beau Wilkins was shown a second yellow card leaving the Roosters to battle it out with 10 men for the final 10 minutes.
But 1-1 was how it would finish with the two outfits earning a draw, their first points of the season.
The two sides will feel a sense of relief to get their first point while Lake Macquarie coach Josh Rufo said he believed his side should have taken away more.
“I thought we dominated the game from start to finish. Even with 10 men, we had clear cut chances so it’s disappointing we didn’t get the three point. But a point away from home gets our season started,” Rufo said.
“It was probably the most consistent performance [out of the three games so far]. The difference today was we stuck to it for 90 minutes but we still didn’t win so when we do win, I’ll call that our best game.
“We’re trying to be more aggressive with our football and I think we look a lot more competitive and most people when they play us this year will know they’re in for a game. But still a long way to go.
“We’ll take all the positive out of that and move onto Wednesday [against Adamstown].”
Lambton Jaffas 2-2 Newcastle Olympic
Newcastle Olympic is quickly earning a reputation in becoming the comeback kings of the NPL NNSW, overturning another two-goal deficit, this time to draw 2-2 against Lambton Jaffas.
Olympic have had a horror record against the Jaffas in recent seasons and the match began to play out true to history’s form, with Lambton scoring two early goals.
Scott Pettit earned his side a penalty and calmly dispatched the spot-kick to open the scoring.
Pettit was again involved in the second, this time playing a dangerous ball into the box which was poorly cleared by Newcastle and lethal attacker Kale Bradbery, pounced to make it 2-0.
It looked plain sailing for Lambton in the opening stages but true to form, Olympic wasn’t going down without a fight.
The blue and white drew one back with a great ball whipped in by Jacob Cresnar and Jared Muller produced a fantastic, glancing header at the near post to beat Ben Kennedy in goal.
Olympic had the momentum as the second half began and Dino Fajkovic was looking dangerous going forward.
And it was Fajkovic who would level the scores with a thumping drive on the edge of the 18-yard-box to complete the turnaround for Newcastle.
Olympic continued to probe and finished the game strongly with a couple of half-chances but couldn’t get the all-important third goal to only settle with a draw.
The result leaves the Jaffas with a win, a draw and a loss from their opening games while Olympic remains unbeaten with a win and two draws.
Adamstown Rosebud 1-1 Weston Workers
Adamstown and Weston fought out at a 1-1 draw at Adamstown Oval with the Bears playing the majority of the second half with 10 men.
The Rosebuds got on the scoresheet first through Tyson Cummings who drove home a shot after Weston keeper Scott Carter parried the ball from a wide free-kick.
Weston couldn’t be kept quiet, knocking on the door for a goal and it was livewire Aaron Niyonkuru who notched his second goal of the campaign with an equaliser in the 47th minute.
Bears defender Jordan Jackson was shown a red card shortly after for a challenge on Adamstown’s Flynn Goodman leaving the away side a man short with a large chunk of the second half to play.
Rosebuds skipper Luke Rutledge and Niyonkuru both had excellent chances late in the game but the two sides would salvage a point.
The two clubs now sit on four points from their opening games ahead of midweek fixtures with Weston facing a red-hot Maitland and the Rosebuds taking on Lake Macquarie.
Maitland Magpies 5-1 Valentine FC
A second-half blitz from Maitland blew Valentine off the park as the Magpies recorded another significant 5-1 victory at Cooks Square Park on Sunday.
The first half was a scrappy affair with neither defence breached in the opening exchanges.
Maitland soon found their grove with Joel Wood opening the scoring in the early stages of the second half after clever work from James Thompson found the talisman in the box.
The striker would have a second soon after with Nick Cowburn finding the attacker in the box and Wood beat Danny Ireland to the ball to make it a quick-fire 2-0.
Valentine would draw one back with Ben Higgins getting on the scoresheet, tapping home from close range to give the Phoenix a fighting chance.
But it was all one-way traffic from then on as the reigning premiers flexed their muscle as the game opened up.
Clinical goalscorer Braedyn Crowley would have his goal as Mathew Swan played Crowley in on goal and he made no mistake, burying his opportunity.
Wood rounded off a brilliant hat-trick soon after while youngster Sam Webb put the icing on the cake to make it five in the 90th minute.
Maitland now look to be back to their best, amassing nine goals in their last two games while the loss for Valentine leaves them on the bottom of the table after three games.
Broadmeadow Magic 0-1 Edgeworth Eagles
A late Edgeworth goal was the sole difference in a titanic top-of-the-table clash at Magic Park.
The clubs sat first and second leading into this affair and it was a war of attrition in the first half with the two defences resolute allowing only one shot on target in the opening stages.
After the break, Edgeworth hit the ground running and looked likely to score, only to be denied twice by a couple of stunning Lachlan Watson saves.
Kristian Brymora had the best chance with the ball finding him in the box before the striker looked destined to score based on current form but Watson produced a massive save.
Edgeworth started to dial up the pressure, while Watson pulled off another top save pushing a Brymora header onto the bar.
But Edgeworth wasn’t to be denied with the champions recapturing that championship-winning formula to find a way to win.
Outgoing grand final hero Daniel Fabrizio struck a sweet shot with five minutes remaining to again score the winner in another massive game for the red and black.
The victory was the first for new interim player-coach Josh Rose in an extremely hard-fought battle between two quality teams.
Rose said it was a relief to get the first win in such a big fixture.
“[To win] especially against such a big rival and in such a big game is a really good feeling and it’s good to get that first win,” Rose said.
“When I took on the role last week I said to the boys my hardest job will be the starting line-up each week. We’ve probably got a good group of 14 or 15 that could easily start each week but all in all everyone wants to play every week.
“The boys have been fantastic, I thanked Keelan [Hamilton] for the smooth transition. Results are the biggest thing in this environment and he got us three from three and to now go from four from four sets us up for a good year.”