Two heavyweights produced dazzling football, in a six-goal thriller

May 2nd, 2022

 James Paras

 Sproule Sports Focus

Broadmeadow Magic 1 – Weston Bears 0 (Match Abandoned)

Broadmeadow Magic and Weston’s fixture was abandoned seconds into the second half after a sickening collision left Bears’ keeper Stuart Plant needing medical attention for a head injury.

The fixture will be replayed at a future date, determined by Northern NSW Football, with the match being a tight tussle up until that point with Magic grabbing the ascendancy in the dying seconds of the first half.

Magic entered the match full of confidence after knocking over rivals Maitland last weekend and was looking to make it five on the trot against Weston, who had returned to the fore after a gutsy 2-0 win against Valentine the weekend before.

The opening half produced few opportunities for both sides, with Magic no doubt aiming to replicate their fast start from last weekend which saw them put two past Maitland in the opening 10 minutes.

Weston’s Aaron Niyonkuru was a constant threat for the visitors with his incisive running, and despite Weston threatening to open their account multiple times through the first-half but ultimately were unable to score.

Magic found their breakthrough via a Jarred Baker free-kick on the edge of Weston’s box take the advantage into halftime

Weston assistant coach Anthony Richards made special mention of Magic’s treatment of Plant, indicating he he is doing well in hospital.

“Obviously it was scary when it happened, he didn’t have movement of his legs and arms at one stage there,” Richards said.

“He is doing better today but he had a tingling sensation all over his body but he has been cleared of any serious damage now, he’s up walking now which is great. He still has a few more tests to go through but it looks positive at the moment.

“A special thank you to the Magic committee and medical team, they did a great job helping Stewy (Plant) out as did the Weston medical team. Everyone was working well as one.”

Maitland 3 – Charlestown Azzurri 3

Two heavyweights produced dazzling football, in a six-goal thriller, that some have called the match of the season.

Maitland were looking for redemption after their first defeat of the season against Magic, but faced a sizable task against the only undefeated side in the competition Charlestown Azzurri.

With strike power all over the pitch, it was little surprise that goals would flow and it was Maitland who struck in the first minute through striker Braedyn Crowley.

The Maitland skipper jumped on a loose ball in the Charlestown box and produced a superb finish to beat keeper Nathan Archbold at his far post to open the scoring. Crowley would bag a double in the game, moving him to nine goals for the season.

Maitland had all the running in the opening stanza and asked plenty of questions of the Azzurri keeper Nathan Archbold, who produced some fine stops to keep Charlestown in the match.

Charlestown found an equaliser when Nigel Boogaard nodded home a corner to get Azzurri back in the game.

Maitland determined to dethrone Charlestown found the lead again through James Thompson.

Thompson showed great skill to get in the Azzurri box, using guile and deception to put the ball through Boogaard’s legs and produce a tidy finish into the bottom left-hand corner, giving Maitland a 2-1 lead heading into half-time.

Charlestown showed their class just three minutes into the second stanza with Regan Lundy smashing it home from close range.

At 2-2, Charlestown found their feet and continued to question Maitland’s defence.. Substitute Dean Pettit, snatched the breakthrough giving Azzurri the lead in the 64th minute.

Maitland didn’t roll over, digging deep with an equaliser from Braedyn Crowley in the 84th minute. Crowley showed great composure in the Azzurri box, beating his man and banging his shot past Archbold at his far post.

The draw sees Charlestown remain on top of the table followed by Maitland in third.

Azzurri coach Graham Law says when things weren’t working at half-time, he had to change things.

“It was a game of two halves, to be honest, we didn’t come out the blocks at all the begin with,” Law said.

“I take ownership myself actually, as a coach you’re quick to critique players at times but on this occasion, I set up a system in the first half but it just didn’t work.

“As a head coach you wear that, but we made an adjustment at half-time and we tweaked our shape (on the pitch) and we were far better in the second half. The boy’s ability to alternate how we play (through the match) is a massive credit to them.

“Sharing the points (with Maitland) seems about right with the chances created by both sides. When we play Maitland it’s always tough, there isn’t much between the two sides and fine margins can be the difference.”

Newcastle Olympic 3 – Cooks Hill United 0

Newcastle Olympic picked up their second win of the season as they downed Cooks Hill United at home.

Cookers were desperate to find their first win of the season but Dave Tanchevski’s men will have to wait after Olympic got the job done at Darling Street.

The match was hotly contested in the first half with both sides creating opportunities, but it would take a sumptuous strike from Olympic’s Rhys Cooper ,in the dying minutes, to break the deadlock.

Jared Muller extended the home side’s advantage  two minutes into the second helfwith the crafty forward getting his boot to a low cross into the box beating Cooks Hill keeper Lachlan Watson, at his near post, to make the score 2-0.

Olympic’s Rhys Cooper pounced on a failed clearance in the 55th minute to grab his second goal of the match. Cooper produced a clever finish using his chest to control the ball to his feet and calmly founding the bottom left corner.

The match was tightly contested by both sides with strong challenges starting to test the referees’ patience. Cooks Hill’s Kevin Davison was awarded a second yellow in the 70th minute making his team’s task an impossibility.

Olympic moved to sixth spot on the table with two wins and two losses. Meanwhile, Cooks Hill is anchored to the bottom with no wins just ahead of Rosebud.

Edgeworth Eagles 4 – Lake Macquarie 2

A Jeremy Brockie inspired Eagles returned to the winner’s circle downing Lake Macquarie to break a three-game losing streak.

The Eagles needed a stabiliser after a bye and the Easter break off the back off a three-game losing streak. This win will give Peter McGuinness’s men the confidence and points they craved.

Lake Macquarie’s 2022 results have beena mixed bag. This is their second defeat of the campaign, leaving them on four points from a draw with a quality Azzurri and win over  Olympic.

The Eagles opened scoring through star Jeremy Brockie when the striker calmly volleyed home, from close range, just before the half-hour mark.

Two minutes later Brockie striked again, this time picking out the bottom right-hand corner from well outside the box, his shot beating Lakes’ keeper Blair Ryan all ends up to give the Eagles a 2-0 advantage.

Two goals behind, Lake Macquarie wouldn’t be without their chances but were up against a refreshed Eagles side determined to fly back to the top of the table.

Eagles made it three just before the break when Josh Rose calmly squeezed one past the keeper.

Jeremy Brockie had his third 15 minutes into the second half. Thehe veteran pounced on a mistake,leaving him with a one-on-one opportunity against Blair Ryan that he expertly handled to complete his hat-trick.

With Eagles  firmly in control Lake Macquarie showed grit in the closing stages as they pegged back two goals through Tapuwanashe Goora and Tom Parkes.

Eagles would be big winners on the day and assistant coach Gary Wilson says his side used the time off the pitch to their advantage and there is still plenty of games left to challenge for the premiership.

“We really controlled the game and earnt the result,” Wilson said.

“We were well in control at 4-0 although we were disappointed to concede late but we have worked really hard over the last couple of weeks. We had a good win in the (Australia) Cup and really worked hard at training, (today) was the kind of performance that we needed.

“We needed time to take stock, we had a disrupted start to the season (so the break-in fixtures) was good to keep working hard in the last three weeks without the pressure of playing a game. We worked on a lot of different formations and (processes), we needed the time and we used it well.”

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