Match of the Round
Edgeworth Eagles 2 (Holz 53’, Jackson 73’) def. Lambton Jaffas 0
Sunday 26 May, 2:30 pm, Jack McLaughlan Oval
Lambton have extended their winless streak to five matches after going down to the defending premiers following two second-half goals.
The visitors were missing their formidable striker Braedyn Crowley due to suspension and it meant the Jaffas struggled to gain any momentum in the offence as Edgeworth took control early on.
Oliver Smith, Josh Cairelli and Aaron Oppedisano all came close but were denied by Brad Swancott in goals keeping the score at 0-0 at the half-time break but the Eagles came out in strong fashion once more.
The second half wasn’t too old when Josh Rose whipped in a nice cross that found Dylan Holz in the box who chested it down to their feet and found the back of the net from close range.
Tyson Jackson grabbed the home team’s brace and his second of the year when Keanu Moore cut a cross into the feet of Jackson and his shot deflected pass slugged its way past Swancott, giving the team a two-goal lead.
Eagles’ almost found a third when Moore hit the woodwork after latching himself on the end of a through ball but not long after, in stoppage time, he won his side a penalty.
Smith stepped up for the spot-kick, but in committed and determined style, Swancott pulled off a brilliant diving save to his left to deny the goal, but in the end, Edgeworth still walked away with the win.
Eagles’ coach Damian Zane said it was a rather frustrating first-half, but was happy with how his team turned it around to gain the victory.
“It was a weird first half. There were lots of turnovers but in the second half we started putting it together,” Zane said.
“I thought we defended better than we have been.
“We’re slowly cutting our errors at the back and that lead to a clean sheet, and in the front third, especially in the second half, we were much more effective.
“Little things can make all the difference.
“We knew it was a must-win game.”
Although the team has once again put themselves in the premiership race, Zane confessed there’s still many areas for improvement.
“For us, there’s just been a few things that have not been up to our standards and we knew that today we had to be better,” Zane said.
“We’re still haven’t hit our peak, but it was a step in the right direction.
“Fingers crossed it’s the start of a run.”
Newcastle Jets Youth 1 (Simmons 72’) def. by Maitland FC 2 (Clarke 3’, Wood 6’)
Sunday 26 May, 2:30 pm, Cooks Square Park
At the half-way point of the competition, Maitland has successfully grabbed a spot in the top four after pulling off a vital win against the Jets Youth and the good news of it all is they still have a game in hand of those around them.
It was the perfect start to the game for the Magpies with two goals coming in the first six minutes of play.
The first came from a corner kick as a found its way to the back post for Carl Thornton who then headed it back into the danger area for Ryan Clarke to put the finishing touches on.
The Maitland captain, Carl Thornton, was again influential for the second goal just minutes later when his cross ended at the feet of Joel Wood who smashed it into the side net, standing as his seventh of the season so far.
The young Jets looked to keep possession in an attempt to build pressure and find an equaliser, but it was the hosts who continued to trouble their opponent’s as Noah James was kept busy in denying them an extension of their lead.
Finally, in the second half, the Jets would discover their first goal following a high, searching through ball from Angus Thurgate that Jack Simmons was able to control and tuck into the goal.
Maitland wouldn’t be rattled from the goal though and kept their one-goal lead to take all three points and now sit just three points off the league-leaders with a game still to play, while for the Jets Youth, they now drop to sixth, but still only lie four points from the top.
Magpies’ coach Mick Bolch said he was pleased with how his side began, but admitted it wasn’t a commanding performance.
“We got off to a great start with two goals in the first six minutes, but nearly threw two points away in the end due to us not being clinical enough in front of goal,” Bolch said.
“Defensively, we are doing really well.
“The positive is that we are still creating chances and getting ourselves in some great positions, so I’m sure the goals will come. It would be different if we weren’t creating.”
Bolch also said he was proud of the way his team had performed and positioned themselves in the first half of the season and was confident their form would continue.
“It’s a great three points for us and now keeps us in touch with the leaders,” he said.
“That’s three good wins in a week, including the FFA Cup…so hopefully that roll continues.”
Hamilton Olympic 1 (Harrison 90+5’) drew with Valentine Phoenix 1 (Willard 10’)
Sunday 26 May, 2:30 pm, Darling Street Oval
A late, late goal for Hamilton saw them snatch points away from Valentine, keeping them within touch of the top four and leaving their opponents towards the bottom of the table.
Coming off the back of a 4-3 Lake Mac Derby victory, and a nail-biting penalty shootout win in the FFA Cup during the week, the Phoenix looked to continue that momentum scoring in the first ten minutes courtesy of their leading scorer Luke Willard who pounced onto the end of a through ball and tucked it home.
Kent Harrison almost found an equaliser not long after, but his shot went inches wide of the goal, while the visitors continued to cause trouble for Olympic’s defence.
Brock Oakley’s header flew just a little high of the goal, while in the second half, a dashing run by Ben Hay almost saw Bailey Garland score but his shot was blocked leading to a corner.
That very corner kick was agonisingly close to seeing a goal of the year contender as the cross bounced back out to Hay who’s shot was destined for the top corner but was denied by an incredible effort from Kyle Hodges, as he headed it over the bar near the goal-line.
Phoenix would rue their missed chances as Hamilton found one of the latest equalising goals you’ll see in this league.
Playing his 100th First Grade game for the club, Rhys Cooper placed a long throw in the penalty area and a bumbling scramble saw Harrison volley a shot past Perry Budden in goals.
Valentine coach Sam Griffin displayed his frustrations at losing two points at the death but was still pleased with his team’s efforts.
“It’s a bitter pill to take,” Griffin said.
“But we walked off the field thinking it’s a bit of a kick in the guts, but no one has gone through what we’ve gone through this week. Some of those boys would have played five hours of football in the last seven days.
“It was going to tell at some stage. It would have been better if we could have lasted another thirty seconds than we did, but we’re playing good football again.
Although the side sits at the wrong end of the table and nine points away from the top four, Griffin was confident his team’s ability to shake-up the competition in the last half of the year.
“Things are definitely looking on the way up,” Griffin said.
“We know we could have, and probably should have, come away with a win, but from where we were a week ago to now, we’re in a good spot.
“We’re in good form and are playing some really good football. As it is, we had two very poor weeks against Lambton and Magic, but they’re a distant memory now.
“We’ve made things hard for ourselves, but we’ll have a good second half of the season.”
Charlestown City Blues 3 (Davison 65’, Goodchild 69’, 90+5’) def. Broadmeadow Magic 1 (Carroll 10’)
Sunday 26 May, 2:30 pm, Lisle Carr Oval
The premiership race is back to being anyone’s guess as Broadmeadow lost their first game in ten weeks going down to Charlestown away from home in a blue, second-half blitz.
The Magicians were the first to get onto the scoresheet though when a Mitch Oxborrow through ball was slotted away by Cody Carroll after just ten minutes.
Charlestown continued to push the envelope though and create chances but couldn’t find a way in the first half. That wasn’t the case in the second though.
The hosts’ first goal came through the returning Kevin Davison who nodded in a goal on the back post, while just minutes later, Kane Goodchild poked his way through Broadmeadow’s defence and knocked him his second and turning the game on its head.
The visitors pushed forward to try and find an equalising goal but weren’t able to charge their way through the Blues’ defence and Goodchild jumped on the end of a quick transition, and a bit of a defensive mix-up that forced Paul Bitz to save a Luke Virgili header, scoring on the rebound to seal the win.
Winning coach, Charlestown’s David Tanchevski said his team entered this match aware of its high importance and he was pleased with the way they reacted to complete a comeback.
“We knew it was going to be a tough game and one we needed to win to keep in touch with the top four,” Tanchevski said.
“If we didn’t win today, we’d be sitting ninth, that’s how crazy the competition is…those three points are huge for us.
“The ways the boys fought back was great… At half-time, we just talked about getting that first goal, and from there the second would come and it did.
“Defensively we were very good today, not just at the back but across the whole field…It was one of the first times we were able to pull out a full strength back-line which was good.
“For me, it was one of our best performances of the year and one of our more dominant performances.”
Lake Macquarie City Roosters 0 def. by Weston Bears 4 (Tjien-Fooh 18’, 26’, Foster 33’, Wilson 56’)
Sunday 26 May, 2:30 pm, Macquarie Field
They may have gone down in a thrilling FFA Cup penalty shoot-out during the week, but that didn’t trouble Weston as they travelled to Lake Macquarie and won big over the hosts.
Lakes almost grabbed the first goal of the game though when Michael Bru launched a shot from the corner of the penalty area forcing a strong save from Scott Carter, and it wasn’t long after that Jason Tjien-Fooh jumped on the end of a corner to deliver the first blow.
Tjien-Fooh would again prove deadly, this time from close range following a terrific crossed ball from Regan Lundy giving the Bears an early two-goal buffer.
Things only got worse from there for the Roosters, again from a crossed ball as Liam Wilson’s pass wasn’t dealt with in the box, leaving Max Foster open to score from close.
The visitors almost went four-up before the half-time break when Zac Sneddon’s header ricochet off the crossbar, but it wouldn’t take his team long in the second half to score once more as a free-kick was tipped on by Wilson to score his second in as many weeks.
As full-time neared, Sam Walker almost got one back for his team, but in the end, Weston held on for a clean sheet leaving Lakes with their twelfth loss of the year.
Amazingly, the Bears only sit one point behind the league-leaders now and are looking like one of the form teams of the competition as we approach the second half of the year, while for Lakes, their troubles continue as they look to be anchored to the bottom.