PHOTO: SPROULE SPORTS FOCUS
Match of the Round
Hamilton Olympic 1 (Goodchild (p) 28’) defeated Edgeworth Eagles 0 at Darling Street Oval.
A miraculous comeback wasn’t required this weekend from Hamilton Olympic in the ‘Match of the Round’ as they hit the front early and stayed there against Edgeworth in a gritty 1-0 victory at home.
Kane Goodchild scored the only goal of the match in the 28th minute and from there Olympic grounded their way to three crucial points, which would have felt like gold to coach Mick Bolch.
The match was tight and tense to start with, and both sides couldn’t find a way through.
Bolch made an interesting tactical move before the match, pushing Rhys Cooper up front to play alongside Kane Goodchild and moved Scott Smith back to the bench.
Cooper was a constant threat for the Edgeworth defence, as Hamilton gained the ascendancy midway through the half.
A free-kick won on the right edge was whipped in by new-signing Reece Papas, and was too heavy as it curled past the back post. But, in attempting to shadow the ball out, Eagles skipper Josh Evans got his arm in the way.
After a quick consultation with his assistant, James Cleal pointed to the spot and Goodchild finished his second penalty after he had to re-take the initial spot-kick after Cooper encroached on the area.
Edgeworth got themselves back in the arm-wrestle after going behind, but couldn’t find a way through Olympic’s stout defence led by the outstanding Kyle Hodges, who was imperious all afternoon.
After the break, both sides got back to the grind. Neither created many chances of note, with the Eagles best falling to Brody Taylor with a head at the back post. But, it was straight at Olympic keeper Tyler Warren.
Eagles coach Damian Zane went to three at the back for Edgeworth and threw on Adam Cawley, Bren Hammel and Will Bower, but they couldn’t find a way through.
After weeks of fightbacks, Hamilton showed their ability to get in front, and stay there and the three points now leaves them just two points off top spot.
Olympic coach Michael Bolch felt the match was like “finals football”.
“Both teams felt each other out. We went in there with a defensive shape to stifle them a bit through the middle of the park.
“They do really well with their rotations through their tens and their nines up front. We learnt a bit when we got beat by them in the FFA Cup and tried to clog those channels up a little bit.”
“I thought we created chances, I don’t know if they really created a clear-cut chance. I thought structurally we were outstanding all day.”
Bolch also praised his captain Kyle Hodges.
“He put his hand up after the FFA Cup game [against Edgeworth]. If you watch three or four of their goals, our centre-backs weren’t even in the picture. They got dragged out of the backline all day. He was colossal today.”
Zane felt his side were poor.
“First half, no composure and just application we weren’t hungry enough,” Zane said.
Zane thought the talk about the looming Westfield FFA Cup before the match had an impact on his side.
“When you’ve got the [FFA] Cup. I know some teams say it isn’t, but it is a distraction. I missed Friday’s session to go to Melbourne to have a look at [South Melbourne].
“The players know if I’m not at a session, they know what is going on and they probably start talking and without even realising you are forgetting about the actual job you have to do this.”
He also felt a loss wasn’t the worst thing for Edgeworth at the moment.
“I think you need a loss every now and then, so maybe it wasn’t a bad thing.”
Valentine Phoenix 2 (Pettit 38’, Brown 72’) drew with Maitland Magpies 2 (Thompson (p) 16’, Dutton-Black 58’) at Cahill Oval.
They were a man down, a goal down and staring down the barrel of defeat, but Valentine refused to go down as they produced a backs-to-the-wall display against Maitland on Saturday.
Level at 1-1 at halftime, the second half started terribly for the home side as Valentine’s Josh Carroll was sent off just seconds after the break, following a push in the back of Maitland skipper Carl Thornton.
Maitland took full advantage in the 58th minute when Ryan Clarke darted down the left edge of the box and squared a low ball to an unmarked Josh Dutton-Black at the back post for slotted his third goal in two weeks.
Matt Thompson then controlled the midfield with the Phoenix down to ten men and it seemed there would be only one result – a Maitland victory.
However, no one told Jalon Brown, who against the run of play scored a wonderful goal from distance to make it 2-2 in the 72nd minute.
Not much was happening for the Phoenix until Brown got on the ball and unleashed from 30 metres out on his left boot.
Both sides had some late chances, but neither could breakthrough as the match ended locked at 2-2.
Earlier Matt Thompson got the Magpies off to a dream start when he dispatched a spot-kick after Ryan Clarke was brought down in the box.
Valentine centre-back Reece Pettit equalised just before half-time after Maitland failed to clear a Phoenix corner and Pettit headed the ball over Matt Trott to make it 1-1 at the break.
The victory consolidated Valentine’s spot in the top four, while Maitland now needs to win their final four matches to be any chances of making the finals.
Magpies coach Phil Dando praised the Phoenix for their determination with only ten men.
“All credit to them. They worked hard, we knew they would keep going for 90 minutes even with the ten.
“We knew they’ve got some quality with Brown as I mentioned the other day. He’s different class when he gets away there and gets a sniff in front of goal. In the end, he was the difference.
“Unfortunately, in recent weeks, we’ve conceded two most weeks and while ever we are doing that we are not going to win the majority of games.”
Phoenix coach Darren Sills was proud how his side “dug deep for each other in some trying circumstances”.
“I’m bitterly disappointed with a number of issues that went on, on that park today, none from my players. I thought my players did tremendously well, and I believe with an even share of luck we could have stolen all three points today.
“We started in November and you go through a process, every team is the same, they work hard, they work very, very hard.
“The thing is we work hard, and we know the rules, we know what to do. We don’t try and flaunt the rules of the game and we get a player sent off for whatever reasons, and we are down to ten men for 50 minutes.”
Lambton Jaffas 2 (Brown 48’, Sullini (og) 56’) drew with Charlestown City Blues 2 (Ferguson 14’, Casciaroli 68’) at Arthur Edden Oval.
Lambton Jaffas spluttering late season form continued on Saturday against Charlestown in a controversial contest at Arthur Edden Oval.
The match threatened to boil over just after the interval when an incident involving Cameron Sullini and Pat Brown fired up the opposing sides.
The plucky Blues would not leave the star-studded Jaffas alone, as they fought tooth and nail for a share of the points. Rene Ferguson was the star for the Blues, netting his 10th goal of the season.
In a superb move which he started in Charlestown’s half, Rene Ferguson played a diagonal ball forward to Daniel Bartlett on the left edge.
Bartlett returned the favour, threading a pass through for Ferguson down the left edge, and as Jaffas keeper Brad Swancott approached quickly, Ferguson neatly swept home the opening goal.
Both sides traded blows for the next 30 minutes, but neither could make an impact on the scoreboard.
That was until Pat Brown scored his first goal since round five after Riley McNaughton sent in a flat, pinpoint cross from the right side, which Brown thumped home.
A minute later though and Brown’s afternoon was about to turn sour as he reinjured his left elbow when Blues captain Cameron Sullini fell on top of him after a challenge.
Brown left the park and Ryan Griffiths entered the fray. A little over five minutes later and the Jaffas hit the front.
Luke Remington weaved his way down the left edge, ran along the by-line and squared a ball towards Joel Griffiths, but Sullini’s boot was first to the ball and he prodded it over his own goal line.
Howls of protest ensued as Charlestown players believed the ball had crossed the byline but the goal stood and Lambton led 2-1.
Charlestown were then given the opportunity to lock up the match in the 63rd minute after Bartlett was taken down in the box by a sliding tackle from Michael Sessions. However, Swancott has other ideas saving Dan Casciaroli’s spot kick.
The Blues wouldn’t have to wait long for the equaliser as Ferguson muscled his way inside the box, squared a ball to Bartlett, whose shot hit Casciaroli, and the Blues midfielder controlled the ball and slotted to make it 2-2.
On this occasion, it was the Jaffas bench who protested, appealing about a handball, but referee Ryan Gallagher would hear none of it, and awarded the goal.
Neither side could find a winner, in the final 20 minutes and the points were shared.
Jaffas coach James Pascoe told The Newcastle Herald post-match that “it was one of the most bizarre games” he and opposition coach Shane Pryce had sat through, in relation to refereeing decisions.
“Refs are human and they make mistakes but just the volume of incidents that appeared clear-cut to everyone on the ground that ended up going the other way. It was for and against both teams though.
“It was a strange, strange game.”
The afternoon was further soured for the Jaffas by injuries to Joel Griffiths (calf), Luke Remington (hip flexor) and Nathan Morris (knee), in addition to Pat Brown (elbow).
Lambton are also still waiting for Jobe Wheelhouse (ankle) to return from injury after he went down in the Westfield FFA Cup a month ago.
Newcastle Jets Youth 1 (Jackson (og) 9’) defeated Weston Bears 0 at Rockwell Automation Park.
Jets Youth coach Lawrie McKinna felt his side deserved to win against Weston as the young Jets recorded their first victory under their new coach.
The victory took them five points clear of bottom-placed Weston and should all-but-assured that they avoid finishing bottom this season.
The Jets Youth only took nine minutes to open their account, in what was the only goal of the match.
Kaleb Cox played a neat one-two with Cameron Joice as the Jets played a short corner. Cox chipped a cross, over the face of goal, which Jets defender and skipper Pat Langlois got a head to.
The slight deflection of the head of Langlois took Bears defender Jordan Jackson by surprise, who couldn’t get out of the way of the ball, and in the end knocked the ball into his own net.
It was the only goal of the afternoon, in a match, McKinna felt his side controlled from the outset.
“First half we did really well, second half Weston came out late in the game. Overall, we deserved the win. It was just great for the boy’s confidence as well.”
“We dominated most of the first half. Second half, we were kind of well on top, but Weston started to have a go. Tristan [Esquilant] in goals never really had many out-and-out saves to make.
“But, in saying that the last 15 minutes we were under a bit of pressure and hung on a little bit, we stopped playing with the same kind of purpose.”
McKinna singled out defender Pat Langlois for special praise.
“Patty, he was outstanding again. He played with the first team on Tuesday against Weston and was outstanding.
“We will not be using him on Tuesday for our game against Lake Macquarie. He will be playing in the first team on Wednesday.”
The match against the Roosters on Tuesday night will be the Jets Youth sides’ last in the PlayStation®4 NPL NNSW until they return from the Weifang Cup in China. The side flies out to China on Thursday.
Broadmeadow Magic 3 (Bradbury 38’, 81’ Virgili 72’) defeated Adamstown Rosebud 0 at Adamstown Oval.
Broadmeadow recorded their eighth straight win and roared to within three points of the top of the table with a 3-0 victory over Adamstown Rosebud on Sunday afternoon.
A super strike from Kale Bradbury got the scoring started for Magic in the first-half and James Virgili along with Bradbury sealed the three points in the second half.
Adamstown kept Broadmeadow at bay for much of the first-half until Bradbury unleashed a rocket from the left edge of the penalty area.
Bradbury stepped past two defenders and onto his right, before unleashing from 45 degrees on the left – a shot which powered into the top right corner in a split-second.
Magic’s second came with less than 20 minutes left, as Mitch Oxborrow launched a long ball which Virgili raced onto the end of and finished wonderfully – in a carbon copy of the goal he scored last weekend against the Jaffas.
Bradbury’s third goal in the 81st minute was the icing on the cake for Magic after a goal-mouth scramble. Shane Paul’s shot was saved into the post by Rosebud keeper Riley Hill and Bradbury tapped home the crumbs.
Broadmeadow coach Ruben Zadkovich was delighted with the result but was surprised by Adamstown’s lack of attacking intent.
“The game started and they just went straight back into this negative block,” Zadkovich said.
“I don’t really know what the aim of their plan was, whether it was just to frustrate us or spoil the party.
“It makes no sense to me when you are a time that has got nothing to lose. Very negative from them.
“They didn’t offer anything really, and we just kept peppering and peppering and eventually it took a special goal from Kale [Bradbury] to break them down and once that happened that was it.”
Zadkovich was very happy with how his side controlled the match.
“Chance after chance after chance all game. Won 3-0, should have been six, seven, eight. We totally dominated. It was very comfortable.”
While disappointed with the result, Rosebud coach Nick Webb was proud of his side, who were without three of their most experienced players.
“To be honest I was really happy with our whole set-up. If we had taken some of the opportunities that were there it would be a different game, to be honest.”
“They certainly had their opportunities, but so did we and in the end class rules in the end.
“It was a special goal from Kale Bradbury to break the deadlock when we were set up really well in how we wanted to play.
“Then [Mitch] Oxborrow got on the ball and launched a 70-metre long ball that our keeper should have come out to get and then the third one was a scrappy goal in the goal-mouth.
“We got three cleared off the line today and there were other ones that we should have scored. Over all the games that I have coached, I am actually proud of the effort today more than any.”