Photo: Sproule Sports Focus
By Isaac McIntyre
Match of the Round
Weston Workers FC 1 defeated by Valentine FC 2
Rockwell Automation Park
Sunday, May 8, 2.30pm
The Match of the Round for round 5 of the PlayStation®4 Northern NSW National Premier League was played at Rockwell Automation Park, where Weston Workers played Valentine as both teams looked to push away from the bottom of the table.
The first half of the match was a tale of two defences and went goalless for both sides.
A chip almost beat Valentine’s keeper early in the match as both sides pushed to create chances for an early goal, but neither side could capitalise.
Alex Burrell was the first to score in the match, netting a goal for the away side twelve minutes into the second half.
A late goal for Brenton Olzomer came off a floated cross from Paul McGinley that Olzomer managed to head into the corner of the goal, beating Jed Hoarder at close range to double their lead.
It wasn’t over yet, with injury time bringing a penalty call – Chris Brown’s tackle in the box saw Nathan Morris step up to take the kick for the home team and the chance gave him a goal to his name as well as breaking the three round drought for Weston.
It was a too little too late for the Bears however, with the one goal difference leaving them without any points in the round and with Valentine departing with all three.
The Bears’ coach, Trevor Morris, was of course unhappy with the end result, but believes that Weston could have improved as well as step up to the challenge.
“I’m not happy at all about the result, but that’s life. I think we could have kept the ball a lot better and our decision making could have been a lot better too, but we’ll improve on these, I know it,” Morris commented.
“We have to knuckle down and work hard, there’s no short cuts so we just have to get our confidence and our mojo back. We were a bit flat last weekend with ten men and having to put your under 19s keeper on through injury of course shakes confidence. At the end of the day Valentine were a bit more desperate to win the game than us.”
In terms of Weston’s recent goal drought, Morris believes that the team will find the end product sooner rather than later.
“If we weren’t creating chances I’d definitely be worried, but we’ve had a few one on ones with the keeper and we hit the crossbar, it’s just that final ball that needs to be killer.”
“Every team will say that the finishing product is the problem and unfortunately there’s no magic wand around the place, we have to keep working and fix our own problems.”
Sam Griffin, Valentine’s assistant coach, was ecstatic about the victory over his, and Darren Sills’, old club and the three points for the Phoenix.
“It’s hard to put into words how happy we are, we’re very happy,” he said.
“I’ve thought a few times in the past few weeks that we could have got something from the game and we walked away with nothing, so we’re glad to get three points. It’s a shame that we couldn’t get a clean sheet as well, we were ten seconds from that, but we couldn’t get there.”
“We have to carry this on, we have a tough game against Edgeworth now and there’s no stronger drugs than winning. It’s the best feeling there is and we needed this for the tough game, it’ll give us that spark for the match.”
“At the end, it was important for Darren and I to take the win at Weston, it’s a place we love going and it’s always emotional, but to get the win is a great result for both of us.”
The win sees Valentine leave the bottom of the table behind, with the four points now giving them a spot in sixth and leap-frogging Weston, Adamstown and Lambton to enter into the mid-table fight.
Edgeworth FC 2 defeated by Hamilton Olympic FC 3
Jack McLaughlan Oval
Friday, May 6, 7.15pm
The first match of the weekend was one of the biggest of the season – Hamilton Olympic travelled to Jack McLaughlan Oval to play against Edgeworth on Old Boys’ night.
Both sides looked up to the challenge, with each side eager to get to the top spot.
It was Hamilton that found the first advantage, with Daniel Bird finishing one of Olympic’s movements before five minutes, putting the travelling side in the lead.
The Eagle’s Keigo Moriyasu, their Japanese signing of the season, was the player to find the equalising goal, putting Edgeworth back into the fight and keeping the scoreline level.
It was a late first half goal that dampened Edgeworth’s spirits in the shed during half time, with Kane Goodchild taking full advantage of a turn-over in Edgeworth’s backline to put Olympic up over the defending champions after forty-five minutes.
Ayden Brice contributed to the next goal for Edgeworth in the early stages of the second half, delivering a ball to Bren Hammel who put them level once more with Hamilton.
However it wasn’t to be a victory for Edgeworth with a goal from Hamilton’s Tommy Spencer 10 minutes later and with their goalkeeper, Danny Ireland, being able to pull off two crucial saves later in the match to keep the lead.
The win puts Hamilton onto the top of the table and Edgeworth staying in second place after the defeat.
Edgeworth’s coach, Damian Zane, knew that the defeat was a disappointment, but remained focused on the rest of the season in terms of results.
“I didn’t think that we were at our best in the match, they looked hungrier than us,” Zane said.
“When you look at the chances that we had we probably should have got something from the match. It was a grinding type of game that played well into Hamilton’s strengths and that’s that.”
“Even though it was 3-2 in the end, it probably wasn’t the greatest footballing match that I’ve seen. I’ve been looking back and trying to figure if there was things that I could do differently, but majorly we were missing Lachlan Pasquale, who would have been in the plans.”
“I’m not too concerned about the result just yet, it’s still early days, but it does show what I was saying to the boys – Hamilton were a team that went close last year and want to taste success. We’ve become the hunted this year, not the hunter and there are always going to be teams that want to knock us off our perch.”
“We’ll step up to those challenges, we have more in us and hopefully the improvement will keep coming and we’ll keep on the rise.”
Hamilton’s next chance to further their lead comes at Darling Street Oval, when they welcome PlayStation 4 NPL heavyweights Broadmeadow Magic.
Edgeworth travel to Valentine’s Cahill Oval, with their away match now crucial to keep up with Hamilton.
Lambton Jaffas FC 1 defeated by Charlestown City Blues FC 3
Arthur Edden Oval
Saturday, May 7, 2.30pm
Charlestown travelled to Arthur Edden Oval in the second Saturday afternoon match, where their contest against the Jaffas would be the first of their ‘top-table’ challenges for their strong season.
The Blues looked more than up to the challenge of collecting three more points for their campaign as the first half ended 2-0 in their favour.
Both Scott Smith and Ben Hughes scored for Charlestown, with Hughes’ goal coming from the dot as a penalty call went against the home side.
Lambton looked ready to fight back with Joel Wood scoring for the Jaffas and lighting a fire under the home team, but it wasn’t to be.
Rene Ferguson continued to carry his good form into the match late on, with a scuffle at the back leading him to find the back of the net with the third goal sealing the three points for Charlestown.
Three wins and two draws have put Charlestown right into the mix at the top of the table. They now come up against the Weston Workers Bears at home for another chance at three more points.
Lambton will be travelling to Cooks Square Park to play against Maitland next weekend.
Newcastle Jets Youth 1 defeated by Broadmeadow Magic FC 4
Saturday, May 7, 2:30pm
Magic Park hosted the first Sunday afternoon game of Round 5, with the Newcastle Jets Youth taking on Broadmeadow Magic.
Magic were eager to score goals in the match, with three points securing them at least second place on the ladder and it was James Virgili that got the scoring off to a start after Kale Bradbery’s strike was spilled by the Jets’ keeper and Virgili was there to pounce.
Just after half an hour, Bradbery made up for his earlier miss sending the ball past the keeper from a close range angle that doubled the lead for Magic.
Half time saw Broadmeadow leading 2-0, but the Jets struck back six minutes into the second half, bringing them back in the game.
However Dino Fajkovic’s header just past the hour mark made sure that the Jets’ return looked less likely in the match and for good measure ten minutes later he claimed his brace with a lob from the corner of the box that put Magic on four goals.
Broadmeadow’s Bobby Naumov was happy that the side could take the win and knows that every match can be a crucial competition.
“At this stage of the season it’s pretty close, so we have to be picking up points in every game and we don’t want to fall back and have to chase the lead,” he said.
“We have positives in the side, which are that Fajkovic, Virgili and Bradbery can all score goals, but we have a lot of improvement as individuals to come in the squad.”
“As a coach, clean sheets are one of the most important things and right across the board we are leaking goals. We want to make sure our defence is solid and we want to make sure we’re on top of the whole game, right across the board.”
The Newcastle Jets now find themselves securely in last place in the league, with a single point to their name.
Magic’s win puts them in second place, just over Charlestown and the defending champions Edgeworth, just two points behind Olympic – a difference that will play a part next weekend.
The Jets will play against another of the teams caught near the bottom of the table next weekend, with Adamstown Oval hosting the clash on Sunday afternoon with both sides eyeing three points and a win to avoid their losing streaks.
Adamstown Rosebuds FC 1 defeated by Maitland FC 6
Sunday, May 8, 2.30pm
The final game of the weekend was played at Adamstown Oval, where Maitland travelled to take on Adamstown Rosebud on Sunday afternoon.
The Rosebud had been troubled with injuries, suspensions and problems in front of goals in recent weeks, but the problems looked set to disappear as Thom Lino opened the scoring in the match just four minutes in.
However problems loomed large once again for Adamstown eight minutes later, with their keeper Paul Bitz being sent off with a red card and a penalty called for Maitland.
With Hakan Canli off and Jake Hamilton on, the young keeper faced down Blake Thompson, but Thompson was able to convert the penalty and level the scores for the travelling side.
The next half an hour kept the scoreline level, even with the Rosebud’s player deficit, but a Matt Comerford header just before half time sent the home team into the sheds trailing by both a goal and a man.
Comerford scored another goal six minutes into the second half from a free kick that opened the floodgates for the away side to take advantage of their numerical advantage and just seven minutes after that Jye McKellar took the lead to three goals.
Both Zac Thomas and Ben Martin – one of Maitland’s long standing players – got into the action as the game continued, with the difference blowing out to a five goal lead for the Magpies.
One final problem arose for Adamstown in the dying minutes, with their side dropping to nine men after Dayne Pawlik had to come off through injury and the home side had already used all of their substitutions.
The big win for Maitland puts them just two points away from Edgeworth in fourth place, and three points from the second place on the table. In their next match, Maitland will host the Lambton Jaffas and will have their eyes on another win to get into the top 4.
Adamstown drop to eighth place, with a match against the Newcastle Jets Youth next weekend at Adamstown Oval. This will be a must-win match to put them onto 6 points – as well a possibility to be in the middle of the table, while a loss could see them drop to the bottom spot on the ladder six rounds into the season.