By Blake Jarrett
Match of the Round
Lambton Jaffas FC 3 def. Newcastle Jets Youth 2
Sat 11 Apr 2:30 PM
Arthur Edden Oval
The Playstation 4 National Premier League (PS4 NPL) Match of the Round for the opening week of the competition saw another classic between Lambton Jaffas and the Newcastle Jets Youth on Saturday afternoon.
It became evident immediately that chances would come thick and fast as Lambton won a free kick just outside the 18 yard box in the second minute, after Reece Papas fouled John Majurovski. Alex Palozzi stood over the free kick however dragged his shot to the left.
The first goal of the game came against the run of play as Charlie Horsley brilliantly won possession for the Jets on halfway, then darted forward, switching play to Beau McDonald on the right who took a classy touch just outside the box and fired a volley into the bottom left hand corner.
13 minutes later the Jaffas found themselves level in the strangest way possible, with Palozzi slotting into an open goal after dispossessing Jets Keeper Jez Murray inside the box after the keeper tried to beat the striker, with no cover behind him.
Hyundai A-League striker Radovan Pavicevic made his way onto the field in the 25th minute after an injury to Braedyn Crowley, however the all the action was down the other end in the first half.
On the half hour mark Peter McPherson scored a trademark strike, as he picked up the ball in space just outside the 18 yard box and fired a ferocious strike into the bottom right hand corner.
The sides looked set to go into half time at 2-1, however Korean Myung Lee produced a piece of brilliance in stoppage time, beating two defenders and picking out Majurovski on the back stick who headed home the Jaffas’ third goal, making the score 3-1.
There was only one goal in the second half, and it was a stunning effort. Ben Hay broke down the left hand side and spotted Michael Kantarovski free on the edge of the area, and the Jet who had made his first grade debut the night before slotted an exquisite shot into the top right hand corner.
The match finished 3-2 to the Jaffas, a handy win to begin their season.
As hoped, Michael Bridges featured in the match, coming off the bench on the hour mark, and as expected, he was a class above, unleashing three quality strikes that were all saved and winning a number of corners for the Jaffas.
It was an intriguing Match of the Round, as it was always predicted to be, and both sides look like they will be dominant in the 2015 season.
In Round 2 the Jaffas travel to Weston to contest a 2014 Grand Final rematch, and the Jets Youth will take on the South Cardiff Gunners at Ulinga Oval.
Edgeworth FC 4 def. Charlestown City Blues FC 0
Fri 10 Apr 7:15 PM
Jack McLaughlan Oval
Edgeworth Eagles welcomed Charlestown City Blues to Jack McLaughlan Oval for the PS4 NPL season opener in a match that delivered four goals, two red cards, pouring rain, and a high level of excitement.
The match got off to a flying start with a free kick just outside the box in the first minute, after Joel Witherden brought down Keanu Moore as he charged towards goal. Bren Hammell fired the first shot of the season, with his free kick that looked on target crashing into the wall
A quarter of an hour into the game space opened up for Moore after Hammel burned Blues’ right back Jarrod Dickinson inside the box and cut the ball back to him unmarked, however his shot trickled past the right post
The first goal of the half came in the 33rd minute as Brenten Olazomer headed in a Hammel free kick from close range, only after an initial shot was parried to the striker by Blues Keeper Paul Bitz.
A minute later the Eagles enjoyment turned to disappointment as they were reduced to ten men following the dismissal of Ayden Brice for a second bookable offence. This prompted eagles coach Damien Zane to react immediately as he replaced striker Moore with centre back Pat Wheeler.
The sides looked set to go into the break with the 1-0 score line standing, however Blues defender Joe Holt fouled Olazomer in the box, giving away a penalty which was converted by Hammel. This sent the Eagles into half time with a two goal advantage, one that they deserved after dominating the chances in the first half.
Five minutes into the second half Olazomer all but sealed the three points with a cheeky chipped volley from just outside the 18 yard box, as a stranded Bitz could only watch on as the ball flew over him into the back of the net.
In the 50th minute the game exploded into life with Aaron McLaughlin cutting the ball back to Brody Taylor who finished the team’s fourth goal. A matter of seconds after the kick off the match was evened up in terms of players on the park, as Matt Tull became the second player to be sent off.
The score finished 4-0 at full time, despite both teams pushing tirelessly for the match’s fifth goal, giving the Eagles three points and propelling them to the top of the table.
Eagles coach Damien Zane was understandably pleased with his side’s performance and result after a dominant display.
‘I’m very happy with the result and the way we went about it. We adapted to conditions a bit better, we played fairly well and we took our chances. We handled the ten men well and the boys all worked hard.’
Zane also praised new signing and dual goal scorer Olazomer, suggesting ‘his effort in pre season and tonight was awesome and the quality he brings to the side is great’.
Looking forward to Wednesday night’s Westfield FFA Cup match against South Cardiff, Zane is feeling confident.
‘We are on a high, but we are not getting ahead of ourselves,’ he said.
‘We are very confident, but Southy is always tough game. It’s a cup game and there’s a lot of rivalry between the clubs so anything can happen on the night.
Next Sunday in Round 2 of the PS4 National Premier League Edgeworth visit Hamilton Olympic, and Charlestown host Adamstown Rosebud, who they also play Wednesday night in the Westfield FFA Cup.
Adamstown Rosebud FC 0 drew Weston Workers FC 0
Sun 12 Apr 2:30 PM
2014 Grand Finalist’s Weston travelled to Adamstown Oval to challenge the Rosebud in the first of three huge Sunday afternoon PS4 NPL matches.
Both sides had an abundance of chances in both halves, however neither could break the deadlock and the match finished locked at 0-0.
Adamstown, and in particular Guy Bates, were extremely unlucky as the former Jet struck the woodwork three times; twice in the first half and once in the second.
Jacob Golding, who was promoted to the First Grade bench by Bears coach Trevor Morris after a superb performance in the Under 19’s match, had a golden chance to win the game towards the end, however Rosebud captain and keeper Scott Carter brilliantly saved his shot.
Adamstown coach Graham Law was disappointed that his side did not win the match, but was happy with his side’s performance.
‘We definitely should’ve won that match,’ he said.
‘Credit to Weston, they came with a game plan and executed it really well. We had a lot of chances but just couldn’t score, however I cannot fault the players today, they showed drive and passion for the full 90 minutes’.
He went on to commend the performance of debutant, former Magic defender Owen Littlewood who he described as ‘exceptional’ in the match.
Similar to Law, Morris was disappointed that his side could not finish their chances.
‘I was disappointed that we didn’t take three points away from the game,’ he said.
‘It was a great first round game, both sides had plenty of chances and there was a lot of passion. We just did not respect the ball enough today, and we missed a lot of one-on-ones’.
Weston were without 2014 Young Player of the Year Zac Sneddon, who played half a game in the Under 22’s as he recovers from injury, and New Zealand import Paul Claut who Morris described as ‘quite a talent, who we have high hopes for’.
Morris also praised Bears’ keeper Tim Pratt, who made a number of saves and gathers from crosses.
The Rosebud now face Charlestown City Blues twice in a week, Wednesday night in the Westfield FFA Cup, and next Sunday at Lisle Carr Oval at 2.30pm. Weston host the Grand Final rematch, also on Sunday at 2.30pm.
Broadmeadow Magic FC 0 drew. Hamilton Olympic FC 0
Sun 12 Apr 2:30 PM
Many argue that Broadmeadow Magic and Hamilton Olympic is not only the biggest derby in the PS4 NPL, but in fact the most exciting match up of the whole competition. Their Round 1 match saw both defences shine in what was to be a frustrating game for both sides’ strikers.
Twelve minutes into the match saw a golden chance for Broadmeadow, which was denied by Olympic keeper Danny Ireland. Peter Haynes spotted the run of Kale Bradbury who found himself one-on-one with the former Jaffas keeper, who was up to the challenge stopping the shot.
Minutes short of the half hour mark Magic’s new recruit keeper, Nathan Archbold, made a brilliant save of his own, denying a Rhys Cooper shot from close range diving to his right.
The 35th minute saw the best chance of the scoreless half, as Dino Fajkovic blazed a shot over the bar from inside the 18 yard box with virtually no one around him.
The biggest talking point of the half came in the 38th minute when Matt Swan broke clear, drawing out Archbold then squaring up the ball to Pat Brown who finished into an open net. The assistant referee kept his flag down however the main referee overruled, disallowing the goal for offside.
Chances were limited in the first half, with both sides’ defences playing exceptionally well. Combined with the efforts of Archbold and Ireland it was fitting that they went into the break locked at 0-0.
The match exploded into life after the break. Within the first five minutes of the second half and Hamilton’s Pat Brown had to temporarily leave the field after a massive collision with Archbold.
Just two minutes after the hour mark Olympic almost fired themselves into the lead, however substitute Jason Korotkich’s strike from just outside the 18 yard box narrowly evaded the right post.
Chris Berlin came off the bench for Broadmeadow, and in the 83rd and 89th minutes he had two shots on target, both of which were easily saved by Ireland.
Despite the abundance of attacking talent present on the field neither side could break the deadlock, and the highly anticipated derby match finished 0-0.
The match was a special one in particular for Magic defender Josh Piddington, who was celebrating his 200th First Grade game for the club, the only player to achieve this other than former captain John Bennis. In typical fashion the club legend rose to the challenge, helping his side keep a clean sheet.
Next week Broadmeadow are away, travelling to Cook Square Park to challenge Maitland in Match of the Round, and Hamilton play their first home game of the year as they welcome Edgeworth to Darling Street Oval.
South Cardiff FC 2 drew. Maitland FC 2
Sun 12 Apr 2:30 PM
In the final match of Round 1 of the PS4 National Premier League the South Cardiff Gunners hosted competition newcomers Maitland Magpies at Ulinga Oval.
There was a keen sense of anticipation leading into this game, due to the signings of Korean, Jung Sang-deok, for the Gunners, and former Hyundai A-League veteran, Matt Thompson, for the Magpies.
It was Maitland who enjoyed the run of play in the first half, going into the break ahead 2-0 thanks to a Joel Wood double.
Maitland were unlucky not to be ahead by more, as a stinging Matt Thompson shot was brilliantly saved by Gunners’ keeper Thomas Pullin, a 19 year old who has made his way through the youth ranks at the club and finally reached the top, getting a crack at the big time by making his First Grade debut.
Thanks to the tactical brilliance of Gunners coach Greg Asquith, and the will and determination of his side, South Cardiff hit back immediately in the second half, with Sean Clerke equalising early after bringing down a cross and finding the bottom left hand corner in style to give the home side some renewed hope.
They were the next to score as a Dan Johnson cross deflected into the back of the net, making the score 2-2.
This left Maitland ruing two missed opportunities early in the second half that both cannoned off the woodwork.
Both sides had their chances to win the match, however neither side could find a winner and the match finished 2-2, meaning all of the three Sunday afternoon matches ended as draws.
Maitland assistant coach Reece Thompson suggested that at the start of the day he would have taken a draw away from home against the Gunners, however given that they led 2-0 at half time he was quite disappointed.
Thompson also said that Korean, Jung Sang-deok, cause a lot of trouble for the Magpies defence.
The Gunners play mid-week in the Westfield FFA Cup as they take on rivals Edgeworth. In Round 2 action they are at home again, hosting the Newcastle Jets Youth. Maitland is at home for the first time in twelve years in the top flight, and they have a huge task as they welcome Broadmeadow Magic.