By Blake Jarrett
Match of the Round
Maitland FC vs. Broadmeadow Magic FC
Sun 19 Apr 2:30 PM
Cooks Square Park
The second round of the PlayStation 4 National Premier Leagues (PS4 NPL) season kicks off with the Match of the Round, which sees Maitland welcome Broadmeadow Magic to Cook Square Park.
This is a colossal game for Maitland. The club itself, the players, and the fans will all be inspired as they participate in their first home game in the top flight in twelve years.
They made their home ground a fortress last season, winning all twelve of their matches there in the NEWFM 1st Division.
The Magpies looked set for their first victory in the 2015 season last weekend, leading 2-0 at half time thanks to a Joel Wood double, however their opposition South Cardiff pulled two goals back in the second half to draw the game 2-2.
Broadmeadow managed to keep a clean sheet last weekend at home against rivals Hamilton Olympic, however failed to score in a goalless draw where they picked up their first point of the season.
The away side enjoyed the midweek, only completing training sessions after they drew the bye in the Westfield FFA Cup, meaning they move through to the final eight in the Northern NSW Division, without the headache of a midweek game.
This weekend is the perfect opportunity for both sides to record their first win of the season, and stay in touch with the top of the table should Lambton and Edgeworth both win again.
There is some friendly rivalry within the clash with great mates Peter Haynes and Matt Thompson going head to head. The pair will be Best Man and Groomsman at Melbourne Heart and former Newcastle defender Jason Hoffman’s wedding, so both veterans will be looking for the bragging rights.
It will be an extremely intriguing match, which should produce a number of goals given the number of attacking weapons present in each side. Both side’s keepers and defence will be tested to their limits, and whichever one stands strongest will win this match.
Hamilton Olympic FC vs. Edgeworth FC
Sun 19 Apr 2:30 PM
Darling Street Oval
Hamilton Olympic play host to the red-hot Edgeworth Eagles this weekend at Darling Street Oval, in their first home match of the 2015 PS4 NPL Season.
The Eagles have scored nine goals in two games, beating Charlestown 4-0 in Round 1 and South Cardiff 5-0 in the Westfield FFA Cup last night.
Hamilton could be the team to thwart Edgeworth’s goal streak, after keeping a Magic side full of attacking pedigree scoreless in their 0-0 draw in Round 1.
Keeper Danny Ireland and his backline consisting of Cody Lucas, Tom Davies, Mason Campbell and Andrew Swan were rock solid in the derby clash, and rarely looked like conceding as Magic struggled to create many meaningful chances.
It is also a great opportunity for a new look attacking setup including Kane Goodchild, Simon Mooney, Pat Brown and Jamie Byrnes to start firing, after some promising signs in their opening match.
A confident Eagles coach Damien Zane believes that his side has what it takes to take home all three points this weekend.
‘It’s been a very good start for us. I’m very confident about the weekend’s match. I have a lot of faith these boys will turn up ready every week.’
Pat Wheeler, Brenten Olazomer, Bren Hammel, Keanu Moore and Liam Spurway each scored in the 5-0 thrashing of the Gunners last night, and Zane was not surprised.
‘I expected a result like that, the guys worked so hard during pre season and now they are getting the rewards.’
Zane said that both he and his side are not phased by short turn around, having played three games in nine days after this Sunday’s match, and that his side are just keen to lace up the boots at any opportunity.
‘It’s really good coaching guys that love the game like I do. The players we have here are very easy to coach.’
The Eagles will be hoping to welcome back Cam Hughes for Sunday’s clash after he, Ayden Brice, Josh Evans and Dylan Holtz all missed last night’s clash.
After leading 1-0 at half time Hamilton were defeated 2-1 by the Eagles last month in the Westfield FFA Cup. Upset at bowing out of the cup competition, they will be looking to prove they are the better side this weekend.
This will be a sensational and physical match between two competition heavyweights, and will be a huge test for both sides as they look to build some meaningful momentum.
Charlestown City Blues FC vs. Adamstown Rosebud FC
Sun 19 Apr 2:30 PM
Lisle Carr Oval
The Match of the Round is at Maitland, the Grand Final rematch is at Weston, but ironically the most anticipated match of the Round will take place at Lisle Carr Oval.
Charlestown were devastated last night in their Westfield FFA Cup clash, coming from behind to draw level twice, only to be beaten with the last kick of the game by Adamstown, who they meet for the second time in five days on Sunday.
Despite losing 5-4 there were an abundance of positives for Charlestown. A formation that looked confusing for the players in a huge Round 1 loss looked extremely comfortable. They often outnumbered the Rosebud in the front third, and in the first half especially looked lethal in their ball movement and transition.
Three goals to striker Scott Smith will all but end any belief that the loss of Goodchild will see the goals dry up at Lisle Carr Oval
The Blues were without midfielder Matt Tull who was sent off last weekend against Edgeworth, and will again be without him on Sunday.
Adamstown coach Graham Law was both ecstatic and optimistic after the match, in which his side won as Guy Bates set up Matt Paul to slot the ball into an all but empty net with the last kick of the match.
‘Tonight was a great example of typical cup football,’ he said
‘It doesn’t matter how you get through as long as you get through. The only thing acceptable about conceding four in the cup is scoring five. In saying that conceding four goals in a league game wouldn’t be good enough at all.’
‘I challenged Guy Bates to stand up, and that is exactly what he did tonight, scoring a goal and setting up the winner. The winner was produced by a move we work on in training so I’m really chuffed with that.’
After admitting the home side looked like they wanted the game more at the half time break, Law fired a rocket at his side, as well as changing the formation. This seemed to work as they piled on five second half goals.
Guy Bates, Jordan Harrison, Owen Littlewood, and a Matt Paul double made up the five goals for Adamstown last night, an extremely positive sign after failing to score last Sunday against Weston.
The Buds will be without Garry Kenneth and Roger Dowdell this Sunday after the pair were both substituted in the first half last night, and Law is sweating on the fitness of several others after he described his side as ‘the walking wounded’.
These two teams met twice last season, with the Blues winning 4-1 in Round 4, and then a 1-1 draw that was contested in Round 13.
After Wednesday night’s affair this is certainly a must see clash between two sides looking for their first PS4 National Premier Leagues win of 2015, and will do anything to get it.
Weston Workers FC vs. Lambton Jaffas FC
Sun 19 Apr 2:30 PM
Rockwell Automation Park
Grand Final rematches only happen twice a season in the regular PS4 National Premier Leagues season, and in 2015 we are lucky enough to witness this great event in just the second round.
Hosts, Weston Workers FC were edged out 2-0 in the Grand Final in September 2014 by the visitors, Lambton Jaffas.
Riley McNaughton and Jobe Wheelhouse both scored in that match, as well as playing starring roles last weekend in a 3-2 win over the Newcastle Jets Youth.
Weston’s Round 1 clash ended in a goalless draw at Adamstown Oval, despite Buds forward Guy Bates striking the woodwork three times.
Teenager Jacob Golding had the chance to win the game for Weston, having a one-on-one chance saved by Scott Carter at the death. Golding was used as a substitute after Bears coach Trevor Morris identified him as having had a brilliant game in the Under 19s.
Morris was disappointed that his side didn’t pick up all three points last weekend after missing many chances in front of goal.
‘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,’ he said.
A major positive for Weston was that they managed to keep a clean sheet in just their first match of the season, something they managed to do just once all last season.
Lambton will be inspired by their win on the opening match day, as they produced three first half goals; one off a defensive mistake, one which was an individual goal from a long range effort, and the final which as a well worked team goal.
Coach David Tanchevski was pleased with the performance of his backline despite being without Michael Sessions and Tommy Smart, two regular starters. He was happy with how the side contained a side that featured two Hyundai A-League players, suggesting it will give his side confidence moving forward.
Last season the Bears finished in second place, and the Jaffas in third, as the eventual winner the Jets Youth dashed the sides’ chances of finishing Premiers in Round 17 and 18 respectively.
This season both of these heavyweights will be looking to go one further by not just making the finals, but by finishing as the number one side.
Both teams will use their Round 2 match as a springboard to a successful 2015 campaign. The Bears are looking for their first win and the Jaffas will be attempting to make it two from two. A win will see one side remain undefeated, and it goes without saying that winning the Grand Final rematch is something both clubs will be desperate to achieve.
The sides met twice in the regular season in 2014, with Weston winning their Round 3 away clash 2-1, whilst drawing 2-2 at home with the Jaffas in Round 12. Expect a tight but competitive fixture at Rockwell Automation Park on Sunday.
South Cardiff FC vs. Newcastle Jets Youth
Sun 19 Apr 2:30 PM
Ulinga Oval Fantastic
The final match of Round 2 sees the South Cardiff Gunners play their second home game of the season, where they will challenge the Newcastle Jets Youth.
The Gunners came back from a 2-0 half time deficit last weekend against Maitland to draw 2-2 and pick up a valuable first round point.
Sean Clerke and Dan Johnson cancelled out two first half Joel Wood strikes, after a formation change saw the Gunners dominate the second half.
They were unable to keep their momentum going through the week as they were thumped 5-0 last night against Edgeworth in the Westfield FFA Cup, and Coach Greg Asquith was not impressed.
‘We were poor and they were really good,’ he said.
‘We fielded a different side tonight compared to Sunday but there are no excuses. We need to be better this Sunday. If you don’t aim up against good sides they will punish you.’
Their opposition this weekend, the Newcastle Jets Youth, are certainly a ‘good side’.
Despite losing 3-2 in Round 1 the Jets Youth looked sharp in patches, and just struggled to turn chances into goals at times.
They are exceptional on the counter attack, illustrated as they turned defence into attack in a split second, when Charlie Horsley teed up Beau McDonald for the first goal of the game.
Their second goal, and the only in the second half after the Jaffas led 3-1 at the break, was a Michael Kantarovski speculator into the top right hand corner.
After his first match in charge of the side coach Peter McGuinness was pleased with his sides second half response, but admitted their fitness levels were down.
A positive for the Jets Youth is that the Sunday fixture allows Hyundai A-League players including Kantarovski and striker Radovan Pavicevic receive an extra days break, as they play their last home game of the Hyundai A-League season against Sydney on Friday night at Hunter Stadium.
The match should be blockbuster event to cap off a round full of huge fixtures. Expect this match to be fast and physical given to competitive nature of both sides, and the rivalry that had been brewing in the last few years between them.