Match of the Round
Hamilton Olympic 2 (Cooper 56’, Harrison 75’ (P)) def. by Weston Bears 4 (Tjien-Fooh 39’, Morris 71’ (P), 87’, 90+6’ (P))
Sunday 2 June, 2:30pm, Darling Street Oval
Weston have placed themselves at the top of the NPL Northern NSW ladder with an impressive victory over Hamilton thanks to a Nathan Morris hat-trick off the bench.
In wet, damp conditions, the game took it’s time to gather momentum but sparked alive when Jason Tjien-Fooh latched himself onto the end of a long Robbie Turnbull pass and in remarkable fashion, curled it over the top of Tyler Warren in goal to establish the first lead.
Two free-kicks late in the first half from Reece Papas troubled the Bears’ defence but they were managed, however in the second half, the hosts finally found their breakthrough.
Weston goalkeeper Scott Carter’s clearance only found Jarryd Sutherland in his own half, and his quick run ended with an expertly placed pass across the box finding Rhys Cooper who score into a fairly open net.
The Bears would find themselves back in the lead soon after though when Chris Hurley was taken down in the box by Warren, leaving his captain Nathan Morris, who had only recently been subbed onto the field, to slot home the penalty.
The drama would continue as a penalty was awarded down the other end of the field when Hamilton’s international man Shinichi Kawachi was fouled in the box before Kent Harrison scored from the spot – his fourth in four games for Olympic.
With the game in the balance and the 90 minutes almost up, Weston were given a free-kick near the edge of the box, and it would be their captain, Morris, who stepped up once more, stunning the fans with an incredible shot powered into the top corner of the goal.
The Weston veteran wasn’t finished there though, and was called upon for a third time, this time from the penalty spot again, scoring a second deep in stoppage time following a foul to Jackson Burston to seal a phenomenal hat-trick, and the win for his side.
That win stands as the Bears’ fourth in as many weeks and has seen them rocket themselves to the top of the ladder, while for Hamilton, they remain in eighth and face the possibility of falling away from the finals-pack if they don’t begin to find results.
Weston will enjoy a week off while their opponents Olympic, will try their luck at progressing to the FFA Cup Round of 32 with their State Qualifiers matches.
Edgeworth Eagles 0 drew with Broadmeadow Magic 0
Sunday 2 June, 2:45pm, Jack McLaughlan Oval
As if there needed to be anymore added to make this contest even more exciting, the top-of-the-table, and Grand Final rematch clash between Edgeworth and Magic would also see the return of Broadmeadow junior, and now Hyundai A-League star, Andrew Hoole back to the league following the announcement of his signing just days before the game.
The rain and wet weather seemed to hinder the contest though, as neither of the offenses were able to find a way past the other resulting in a frustrating draw that’s now sees neither at the top of the league.
Broadmeadow looked to have the best of the chances that saw Cody Carroll and Mitch Oxborrow both launch long shots that troubled but did find a way past Josh Low in Edgeworth’s goal, while for the Eagles, Aden Gardner and Oliver Smith tried their luck without any success.
In the dying embers of the match, the hosts pressed in search for a stand-alone, winning goal and came close on two occasions. The first saw a Josh Rose cross land on the back-post for a sliding Dylan Holz, but his shot was cleared close to goal by Jon Griffiths, while then minutes later, Jose Atayde cannoned a shot away from long-range that needed a reaching, tipped save from Paul Bitz to keep it out.
Following Weston’s victory over Hamilton, Magic and the Eagles both drop down in the standings and will now look forward to the FFA Cup State Qualifiers weekend coming this week where they will once again play each other at the Lake Macquarie Regional Football Facility on Saturday.