Match of the Round
Valentine Phoenix 4 (Willard 27’, 52’, Garland 31’, Own Goal 54’) def. Lake Macquarie City Roosters 3 (Hunter 24’, Walker 64’, 78’)
Sunday 19 May, 2:30 pm, CB Complex
It may have been a Lake Mac Derby between the two teams sitting at the bottom of the table, but with both desperate to gain a victory, it made for one of the more entertaining matches of the season so far as Valentine held on with nine men in a seven-goal thriller to seal their second win of the year.
It was the visitors who tasted first blood in the derby as Mitch Hunter looped Valentine goalkeeper Perry Budden in goal from the edge of the box, but their lead didn’t last long, and Lakes quickly found themselves behind and chasing the game.
A cross from Josh Carroll landed perfectly on the head of Luke Willard who made no mistakes with a strong finish and minutes later another cross found its way in the back of the Roosters’ net following a slight touch from Bailey Garland from close range.
Phoenix continued their form into the second half as Willard again scored from a header following some slick link-up play between himself and Jacob Bailey, and minutes after that, the victory looked all but sealed for the hosts when Lake Macquarie conceded an own goal – again from a cross.
Drama took hold of the match though as two red cards were brandished for Bailey and Cameron Holzheimer, leaving both with ten men.
With more space on the field, Lakes took advantage as Jayden Barber set up Sam Walker for a goal, before the match took another twist as Brock Oakley was shown a second yellow card, leaving Valentine to finish with nine men.
It was only a few minutes later that the Roosters’ numbers-advantage would pay off after receiving a penalty that although was originally saved by Budden in goal, captain Walker followed it through, bringing his team to within one.
With their backs against the wall, Phoenix gave everything to hold their slim lead including a brilliant save from Budden to deny Hunter from a second individual goal and fourth for the Roosters, and ultimately, collected all three points for his team.
Phoenix now moves back into ninth place but still sit six points away from eighth (Charlestown), but coach Sam Griffin said his team “had to get the result” if they’re any chance of moving on up into a challenging position.
“It was a massive result for us,” Griffin said.
“The performance we displayed was what we’ve been threatening to do for weeks.
“The message before kick-off was simply about winning the game. It isn’t just enough anymore to play well.
“There is a definite sense that we can start working our way up with the table one by one, even with the weight of results, decisions, injuries and even scheduling against us.”
Griffin made mention that although he didn’t exactly agree with the red card decisions, his team needed to be more disciplined.
“The send-offs had a massive impact, not just on the game but going forward, for both teams,” he said.
“I don’t think either player should have gone off – ours or Lakes’ – for having passion for the game and wanting to win. It will go in the book as violent conduct, but there was nothing violent or dangerous about it.
“What can we improve on? Keeping eleven on the pitch will be a good start. Discipline is something individuals have to take on for themselves.”
Lambton Jaffas 2 (Crowley 16’, 79 (P)) drew with Charlestown City Blues 2 (Ferguson 14’, Goodchild 84’)
Saturday 18 May, 2:30 pm, Arthur Edden Oval
Lambton experienced their fourth straight week without a win after having to share the points with Charlestown on Saturday afternoon following a back-and-forth, entertaining encounter at home.
Missing some of their stars, the Jaffas seemed to struggle early on and their opponents took advantage nabbing a goal through a free-kick set piece on the edge of the box. Instead of opting to shoot, captain Matt Tull elected to quickly pass the ball into the danger area at the feet of Rene Ferguson who was able to twist, shoot and successfully put his team into the lead.
The conceded goal switched the hosts into action and it took less than two minutes for them to find an equaliser through their prolific striker, Braedyn Crowley. A crossed ball found the head of Luke Remington who directed the ball in behind the defence and Crowley did the rest, beating Nate Archibold in goals and slotting it home into the empty net.
As the first half wore on, both sides traded opportunities in front of goal, but all were denied by Archibold and Brad Swancott.
The break-through finally came late in the second half when Jaffas’ Michael Sessions was deemed to have been fouled inside the penalty area. Up stepped the league’s leading goal-scorer Crowley, and he made no mistakes in grabbing his brace, but there was still more drama to come.
As the match neared its conclusion, three-time Golden Boot winner Kane Goodchild found himself with a bit of space in behind the defence before successfully taking on Lambton’s back-line, including Swancott, and firing it into the top of the goal to score the equaliser and his first for the year.
Lambton now sits fifth due to Weston’s win over Edgeworth, while Charlestown continues to fight in the top-four race, just two points out.
Blues’ coach David Tanchevski was pleased with his side’s effort especially after losing some of their first-grade starters.
“It was a result we were happy with, but I am disappointed to be on the wrong side of a third penalty decision this year,” said Tanchevski.
“We already had Kev [Davidson], Sullini and Smarty [Tom Smart] out of the back line and Pete McPherson was forced off at half-time with a hammy injury.
“Matt Tull was also injured but played through the second half.
“We have had a 17 and 19 year old as a our two centre backs for the past three games, and they have done well, but it’s a big ask from kids of that age to do week in, week out, so I have been very impressed with how they have stepped up for the team.”
Tanchevski spoke of his happiness to see Goodchild back on the scoresheet and how they’ve looked in the front third but admitted that the score-line was probably a fair reflection of the game.
“A draw was probably a fair result at the end of the day on the balance of gameplay,” he said.
“Our transition from defence to attack was a lot better.
“Rio [Nishuiri] has made a big difference in bringing Goody into the game more and is giving us space up front, and Musa [Kamara] has also looked very dangerous in the last few games.”
Broadmeadow Magic 5 (Oxborrow 21’, Bradbery 23’, 63’, Majurovski 41’, Piddington 54’) def. Newcastle Jets Youth 2 (Thurgate 66’, Barkho 81’)
Saturday 18 May, 5:00 pm, Magic Park
The second top-of-the-table clash in as many weeks had all the makings to be just as close as the first, but Broadmeadow proved too hard to handle for the Jets Youth as they went down big in what was Labinot Haliti’s last game in charge.
The young Jets looked to stamp their control on the game early on which saw them collect seven corners to Magic’s zero in the first 15 minutes and one of those very nearly turned into a goal as Jackson Frendo’s blasted volley was cleared off the goal-line.
The hosts made them pay and begun their dominance soon after through Mitch Oxborrow who expertly curled in a free-kick goal, and then just minutes later, facilitated a through ball to Kale Bradbery who rounded Noah James to double the lead.
The Jets looked to fight their way back into the game but just weren’t able to find the back of the net – Keiran Hayes’ header that hit the woodwork stood as the best of their few chances – and it only become worse for the youngsters as veteran Magician John Majurovski headed a goal in from a bumbling corner just before half-time.
The second half saw much of the same from the league-leaders – Captain Josh Piddington latched himself on the end of an initially saved shot to score his fourth of the year, then Kale Bradbery doubled his tally following some nice passing play.
Two late consolation goals came for the Jets courtesy of Angus Thurgate and Mat Barkho, but the damage had already been done by the home team, dealing the visitors their third loss of the season and extending their unbeaten run to eight games.
Winning coach, Ruben Zadkovich was very happy to see his team get over the line in another ‘big-game’, despite dealing with numerous injuries.
“I thought the boys, tactically, executed really well for the majority of the match,” Zadkovich said.
“We were very resolute in defence and their hard work at training on the detail of our structures paid big dividends on the night.
“We have also had to deal with a lot of injuries in the last few weeks, and the pleasing thing has been the performance of some of the younger ones. They have stepped up and proven their worth.
“Obviously we scored some nice goals and rolled through some fluent patterns with the ball. However, we believe we are nowhere near our best. We need to stay focused on some key areas and continue to grow as a group.
“Every game in this competition is though. We just prepare well for whomever it is we face each week.”
Maitland FC 2 (Wood 15’, Read 84′) def. Adamstown Rosebud 0
Sunday 19 May, 2:30 pm, Cooks Square Park
Maitland successfully bounced back after a disappointing result a week ago, defeating a ten-man Adamstown at home in a clinical performance.
It was the visitors who troubled their opponent’s backline first though, as Connor Heydon found a way in behind the Magpies’ defence, beating Zach Thomas for the ball, but couldn’t clearly fire his shot away from close range.
Maitland’s prolific striker made no such error though, as Joel Wood latched himself onto the end of a corner before heading into the goal with the help of the far upright to score his sixth of the year.
As the match wore on, the home side continued to trouble Adamstown, hitting the woodwork on two occasions – once from the boot of James Thompson from distance, the other being that of a wicked strike from Ryan Clarke.
The Rosebuds stayed within touching distance with some strong defence, but their chances of victory significantly slimmed when Matt Sokoulsky received a second yellow card, leaving his side to continue with a player down.
That advantage would be enough for Maitland to take the game by the scruff of the neck, as Alex Read used his head to knock home a Grant Brown cross to give the hosts a brace, and the eventual victory.
Maitland coach Mick Bolch said he was proud of his team’s performance, admitting it was some of the “best football of the season” his team have played but also confessed that in their attack, they need to be better.
“It was a really good performance coming off last week’s display,” Bolch said.
“The boys were definitely up for the game today.
“We dominated possession in the first half and we should have led by a bigger margin.
“Adamstown came out and put pressure on us early in the second half, but it was a game of missed chances for us.
“We need to improve in front of goals. We have only scored 13 goals in eight games which about the third worst in the league, but we are creating plenty of chances. We just need more composure in front of goals.”
Weston Bears 2 (Tjien-Fooh 2’, Wilson 55’) def. Edgeworth Eagles 1 (Smith 39’ (P))
Sunday 19 May, 2:30pm, Rockwell Automation Park
In a game between two old, local rivals, Weston pulled out a surprise victory against the defending premiers to work their way back into the top four, and now just sit four points from the top.
The Bears kick-started the match on the front foot with Jason Tjien-Fooh only taking 96 seconds to score the first of the game, exploiting on an Edgeworth defensive error before rocketing a shot from distance past Josh Low in goals.
After scoring in his return match last weekend, Oliver Smith continued his tremendous goal-scoring record after winning a penalty and edging it past Scott Carter to equalise the game for Edgeworth just before half-time.
The tug-of-war continued in the second half as both sides attempted to break the deadlock and successfully came when Liam Wilson made a dashing run through the middle of the pack, linking up with Regan Lundy, and toeing it into the side of the net to gain the lead once more for the hosts.
The Eagles wouldn’t fly away without a fight though and came agonisingly close on two occasions as the game wore out. Jose Atayde was the first, hitting the crossbar from a curling free-kick, then with just minutes remaining, a crossed ball found the head of veteran Daniel McBreen, but his header also smacked into the crossbar.
That would prove the last real chance for the visitors as the Bears took home all three points.
The Weston win marks the first time they’ve defeated the Eagles in almost four years and their fantastic performance may prove vital in their quest for a winning season.
Edgeworth still remain in second place just above the Bears on goal difference but are now four points away from Magic in first.