Photo: Sproule Sports Focus
By Isaac McIntyre
Match of the Round
Charlestown City Blues FC 2 defeat Adamstown Rosebud FC 0
Sunday, May 1, 1.30pm
Lisle Carr Oval
Round 4’s Match of the Round kicked off at Lisle Carr Oval, with the Adamstown Rosebud travelling to Charlestown to take on the Blues on Sunday afternoon.
The fixture holds a close rivalry for both sides, with Adamstown struggling to defeat Charlestown regardless of their side’s finishes – since promotion in the PlayStation®4 National Premier League, Charlestown has gone undefeated against the boys in green and red.
Charlestown showed that they were ready to respect Adamstown’s attacking dangers allowing Adamstown to come out of their half and attack the home side.
However Charlestown held their defence strong and became bolder in their attacks, with Rene Ferguson being the focal point of their danger. The forward proved his worth just after the half-hour mark, with two shots that both rattled the post and left one ball sitting up for Scott Smith to bury into the back of the net.
Now down in the match, another blow struck for Adamstown minutes later, with captain Daniel Clements going off with an injury to his left leg after a challenge from Ben Hughes left him on the ground. Clements was replaced by Calum Gallagher and the Rosebud’s were set to get a goal after losing their captain in rapid succession.
The problems piled on for the Rosebud’s away from home, with another counter seeing Charlestown making their way into Adamstown’s box, before Jarryd Johnson doubled City’s lead in the game and bag his first goal for his new club in his very first outing.
Charlestown’s victory assures them a strong spot on the ladder early in the season, but the Blues’ coach Shane Pryce’s focus was purely on the players in his side.
“I’m very happy that we stepped up, because I challenged a few of the individuals in the side to bring themselves up because they weren’t playing how I wanted them to and they weren’t rising to the challenge, but the attitude has improved and they proved themselves,” he said.
“Of course, Rene Ferguson was great at the front and a lot of the players made themselves stand out and we gave a good showing and I think against some of the other teams of the competition we keep that attitude and we win.”
“Sam Hudson and Todd McSorley both had fantastic defensive efforts and I thought that they managed to keep the scoreline what it was, which is great to see when they’re stepping up to the plate.”
The victory for Charlestown is a crucial three points to keep them in the fight for the top of the ladder and their first clean sheet of the season goes a long way to proving their improving talents as the season progresses.
Adamstown meanwhile will be disappointed not to be able to string two wins together and remain on just three points in the season so far and coach Graham Law is beginning to have problems with a barebones squad.
“It makes it hard for us when we’re getting red cards against us and suspensions for tackles and then our players are going off injured for tackles that are going unpunished,” he said.
“Clements is now going to be out for at least eight weeks and it could be the season and that just flabbergasts me that that kind of tackle can be in the match and they don’t drop down to ten men.”
“Overall however, it was just about them taking their chances in that ten minute window right before half time and even when I changed to three at the back in the final fifteen we just couldn’t get anything out of it.”
“It’s a shame, because with the league still early there’s nothing in it and a win on the weekend could have given us a spot in the top four for the first time in the season, so it’s a shame that we couldn’t manage that, but it’s still close and there’s nothing to worry about yet.”
Next weekend sees the Rosebuds come up against Maitland at Adamstown Park and Graham Law’s outfit will need a victory in front of their home fans if they want to remain away from the bottom of the table for long.
Charlestown meanwhile take the victory and they look to extend their undefeated streak of two wins and two draws when they come up against the Jaffas in Lambton, where a win is not guaranteed and with Lambton’s confidence rising it will be a close match for sure.
Valentine FC 0 defeated by Lambton Jaffas FC 2
Saturday, April 30, 3pm
The opening game of the round came at Cahill Oval, where Valentine welcomed the Lambton Jaffas for their first clash in the PlayStation 4 NPL.
After coming off last weekend in a defeat that saw them fail to find the back of the net, Lambton set out early to right their own wrongs and net a goal or two for their side.
The first of these chances came just fifteen minutes in for the travelling side, with James Burn managing to head in a corner that was whipped and weighted perfectly – the Jaffas were the first to put their name on the board at Cahill Oval.
The stroke of half time brought another goal, with another header spelling danger for Valentine, as John Majurovski was able to beat the keeper near the wide post and double the Jaffas’ lead going into the sheds.
Lambton’s tactics seemed to change in the second half and their defensive efforts were more than enough to keep Valentine from finishing chances and answering goals in front of their home fans with the game eventually closing out with the halftime scoreline – 2-0 to Lambton.
With the defeat, Valentine now slip to the bottom of the ladder, with just a single point so far in their first season in the top division.
However Valentine’s coach, Darren Sills, believes that the mistakes that were made in the game can be redeemed and will focus on them in the coming weeks.
“We were outclassed in the first half, which is plain and simple,” Sills commented.
“In the middle of the park they were fantastic and they drew us in and then used their width to hit us where it hurts. When you have that fantastic experience in the side that you’re playing against, it makes it difficult.”
“We have to make sure that we’re not conceding more poor goals and our focus in the coming weeks is going to be defence, to make sure that it doesn’t happen again, because we need to cut that out of our game.”
“Overall, I have to single out the club captain, Chris Brown, who has been outstanding two weeks in a row now and has been standing out on the pitch every game and except for finishing we’ve been great, especially Ridge Marpu at the front.”
Lambton meanwhile now climb out of the bottom mix, with their first win of the season putting them in good stead to fight for a higher place in the league. Their next chance at a win will come in the 5th Round of the competition at home, where they take on the Charlestown City Blues and seek to put two wins back to back and put their disappointing season’s start behind them.
Valentine still look for their first win so far in the league and they will journey to Rockwell Automation Oval to take on the Weston Workers Bears in what could be another closely fought match between the two sides.
Hamilton Olympic FC 4 defeat Weston Workers FC 0
Saturday, April 30, 6pm
Darling Street Oval
The late kick-off on Saturday evening saw the Weston Workers travel to Darling Street Oval, where Hamilton Olympic haven’t failed to pick up three points in the league since 16th August last year.
The match proved to be an interesting affair, with a total of three red cards between the two sides dropping both teams below their starting eleven in the game.
The first of these red cards came for Ben Kelly, with Weston’s keeper sent to the sheds as Leo Bertos converted the subsequent penalty to give Olympic the lead at home.
The score was just 1-0 as both teams entered the second half, but without their first choice keeper and down a player, the Bears just couldn’t keep Hamilton out forever and Kane Goodchild scored early in the second forty-five minutes.
Soon after however, an altercation saw both Robbie Turnbull from Weston and Simon Mooney from Hamilton being shown red cards, dropping the away side to nine men and keeping Hamilton not far behind.
The numbers advantage paid off at Darling Street Oval however, with Rhys Cooper putting at third goal on the scoresheet within the final fifteen minutes of the match and sealed the deal with his second, right before the final whistle to down Weston with four goals to nil.
Aside from the score, Weston’s Trevor Morris was pleased with how his side played and how they responded to the bookings.
“I was proud of what we did and I think that we did exceptionally well with ten men until all those final yellow cards were dished out,” he said.
“I don’t know how many, but so many yellows were dished out and it’s unfortunate that people are talking about the referee and not the football that both teams played – there wasn’t really a tough tackle in it and the amount of bookings spoiled the performances.”
“It’s hard, because the referee was definitely fair to both teams, there wasn’t any bias there, but I think that as a sport we’ve kind of lost what it is to get a yellow card and now it gets handed out for trivial stuff that doesn’t deserve it.”
“We played against a quality team and their goalkeeper was called upon for three or four crucial saves, so we definitely had a lot of spirit and contest in us. It’s just disappointing that we couldn’t have a red hot go because we didn’t even have eleven men.”
Hamilton’s Michael Bolch was pleased with the victory however and pointed out the skill that Olympic boasts.
“We saw last week Edgeworth get a late goal from just on halfway and we managed to replicate that for our fourth goal from Rhys Cooper, so it shows that talent is running right through the core of our squad.”
“I think we played really well and collected three good points in the match, if we can continue to play at this level then we can make a great account of ourselves and continue our run for a long time.”
“It’s a shame we lost a player to a red card, but I think that after Weston lost their player and picked up their game we were able to answer that back in kind and it meant that we were able to capitalize on the chances a little better,” Bloch concluded.
Next week now sees Weston take on Valentine at Rockwell Automation Park, with both sides needing three points to push themselves away from the fight at the bottom of the ladder.
Hamilton meanwhile will be one half of a top-table clash in the fifth round, when they travel to Jack McLaughlan Oval to battle against the Edgeworth Eagles, with both sides looking to end the other’s undefeated run in the league thus far.
Broadmeadow Magic FC 1 drew Edgeworth FC 1
Sunday, May 1, 2.30pm
The final match to be played in the fourth round of the competition was a top-table clash – Broadmeadow Magic welcomed the reigning champions Edgeworth to Magic Park with one goal in mind for both sides – the top of the table.
With both teams able to field strong sides, the game was one of attack and both Magic and the travelling Eagles were keen to get goals on the board for their side to claim that early advantage.
It was the away side that managed to land the first blow in the match however, with Brody Taylor and Keanu Moore linking up inside the box to give an easy finish and hand Edgeworth the early lead.
It only lasted for just over fifteen minutes however, with Kale Bradbery’s effort from inside the box beat Edgeworth’s Jim Fogarty at the near post to level the scores and bring Magic right back into the competition.
Both sides were eager to claim the winning goal as the game’s clock ticked on and on and although both sides were able to create good chances as well as force holes and problems for each side, the scores remained locked.
Magic looked set to gain a moments advantage when the Eagle’s midfielder Lachlan Pasquale received his second yellow of the match and was sent packing with just minutes to go, but the home side couldn’t push forward with the one-man advantage and the two sides shared the spoils from the close battle.
Edgeworth’s Damian Zane was pleased that his side could take a point off Broadmeadow at their home field with the draw.
“We were at their grounds and we had a few key players that were missing so it was a good effort and I think that it was a fair result in the end, I’m happy with the draw,” he said.
“There are a few people now that are saying that ‘Broadmeadow are now title contenders’ but to me they have always been the kind of team that will be up there at the end of the season and they’ll be fighting for the premiership without a doubt, so to take a point from them at home is great for us.”
“They’re a really attacking team, so I think that we did really well defensively and there were a few moments when we were a goal up – including Keanu’s one on one with the keeper – that may have buried the game for us cause we could have seen that lead out, but in the end it didn’t go our way.”
The draw keeps both Edgeworth and Broadmeadow from the top of the table however, with Olympic’s strong four-goal win putting them ahead on goal difference and Magic now sits two points off the top spot.
Next weekend there will need to be wins for both Edgeworth and Broadmeadow if they want to remain in contention in the coming weeks and Edgeworth’s game looks to be just as close as this week – taking on Hamilton for a potential return to the top at Jack McLaughlan Oval on Friday evening.
Broadmeadow meanwhile will be hoping for a draw between the two sides, with a victory in their match at Magic Park against the Newcastle Jets Youth next Saturday afternoon giving them a chance to level the points at the top if the results go their way.
Maitland FC v Newcastle Jets Youth
Sunday, May 1, 1.30pm
Cooks Square Park
Maitland v Newcastle Jets Youth has been delayed due to wet weather conditions, with kick-off times and dates to be decided by Northern NSW Football and the clubs.