PS4 NPL NNSW Round 11 Preview

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PHOTO: SPROULE SPORTS FOCUS

BEN HOMER  

Match of the Round
Broadmeadow Magic v Hamilton Olympic
2.30pm Sunday 21st May at Magic Park

Last Meeting: Semi Final – 2nd Leg, 2016: Hamilton 1 Broadmeadow 2 at Darling Street Oval.

Ladder: Broadmeadow 7th (12pts), Hamilton 5th (15)

Last 3 Starts (most recent first):

Hamilton – Drew Roosters 1-1 (h), Drew Phoenix 1-1 (a), Won Bears 2-0 (h)

Broadmeadow – Won Jets 5-1 (a), Lost Magpies 0-7 (h), Drew Rosebuds 0-0 (a)

 Bottom Line

If this derby is half as good as the drama which was on show the last time these two sides met, it should be an entertaining contest.

Last season, Olympic and Magic produced two classic semi-final contests, with the second leg going down to the wire at Darling Street Oval as Hamilton almost produced an immense comeback.

This season, if finals are to be reached by both these clubs they need to start turning good performances into winning ones. Both sides have controlled the ball well and created chances in their matches this season, however, it has been in front of goal where both have hit snags.

Broadmeadow had scored one goal in seven hours of PS4 NPL NNSW football, before a five-goal blitz last weekend against the Jets. While the Jets have the leakiest defence in the competition, it was just the confidence Magic’s strike paring of James Virgili and Kale Bradbury needed.

Although they will face a much sterner test this weekend against an Olympic side boasting the second best defensive record.

Olympic, in comparison, fluffed their lines in front of goal against Lake Macquarie. It took a howitzer from Grant Brown in the 86th minute to snatch a point.

Injuries to key personnel including Tommy Spencer, Rhys Cooper, Danny Ireland and Andrew Swan have handicapped Olympic over their nine matches thus far. It would be naive to discount the influence of those four in the Olympic side.

With Broadmeadow also in an injury crisis – including Alex Kantarovski, Lawrence Foteff, Scott Robertson, Jayden Barber and Jon Griffiths – this should even up the contest which should be tight.

Olympic will have a boost with new signing Sean Pratt joining the side from the Central Coast. However, Rhys Cooper (knee) will remain on the sideline.

Olympic went down to Edgeworth 4-2 in the Westfield FFA Cup while Broadmeadow made it eight goals in two matches with a 3-0 win against New Lambton.

What the Coaches Said:

Ruben Zadkovich (Broadmeadow)

“Big games. We are looking forward to both these next two games. We’ve got Olympic and then Edgy [Edgeworth] at home. Two really big games. A little bit disappointing in the last two weeks, we’ve lost a lot of boys to injury and crucial, crucial players. We went into the [Maitland] game with three of our starting players out of the game, and it showed the way we started the game and then it was like Murphy’s Law, four penalties a red card. I’ve never seen anything like it.”

“[Hamilton] are probably [similar to us] just not taking their chances in front of goal. It’s probably our biggest flaw, just not taking our chances when we have them. The results were not really a reflection, the three draws we had, we all should have won. The results weren’t really a reflection of how we have played, and I think Olympics probably the same.”

Mick Bolch (Hamilton)

“Obviously, they are going to be on a bit of a high after scoring five on the weekend and they’ve got New Lambton midweek so I’m sure they will score a few against them. It’s just been a matter of time until they click. They’ve got the same side as last year, bar a new goalkeeper and the boy from Perth [Scott Robertson]. They’ve got quality all over the park.”

“You get excited and all that, but, you don’t have to do all the work or put a lot of emphasis on building the boys up to it. These are the games they want to play. If you have seen the two semi-finals last year that were epic encounters. I’m sure this one will be no different.”

Key: With both sides experiencing an injury crises, whose depth will stand tall in the derby?

 

Valentine Phoenix v Weston Workers Bears
2.30pm Saturday 20th May at Cahill Oval

Last Meeting: Round 14, 2016: Valentine 2 Weston 2 at Cahill Oval.

Ladder: Valentine 4th (16), Weston 9th (7)

Past 3 Starts (most recent first):

Valentine – Lost Eagles 0-1 (h), Drew Olympic 1-1 (h), Won Jets 1-0 (a)

Weston – Won Blues 3-0 (h), Lost Eagles 1-2 (h), Lost Olympic 0-2 (a)

Bottom Line

These two sides meet at the halfway point of the season having had differing results last weekend in contrast to their respective positions on the ladder.

The ninth-placed Bears grabbed their first three points of the season against Charlestown in a clinical 3-0 win, while Valentine fell 1-0 to Edgeworth in a tight affair at Jack McLaughlan Oval.

The importance of this match for Valentine is plain for everyone to see. After such a positive start to the season, they can’t afford to lose two consecutive matches before the midway mark.

A win, however, and they could cement themselves into the top four and may prove difficult to dislodge.

On the flip side, Weston will be buoyed by their 3-0 home win against the Blues and will be looking to back that win up with another strong performance at Cahill Oval.

After a tough opening two months to the season, the Bears didn’t deserve to be winless at this point and have been building throughout the season.

Zac Thomas, James Thompson and Adam Smith’s confidence will have been boosted by goals last weekend, as will the Bears defence and keeper Kane Runge who kept his first clean sheet on the weekend.

The Phoenix come into the match with the better head to head record of late. They haven’t lost in their last three matches against the Bears which dates back to 2013.

In the Westfield FFA Cup midweek, Weston went down 3-2 to Maitland while Valentine beat the Suns 4-2.

What the Coaches Said:

 Darren Sills (Valentine)

“They are an improved side. I went and watched them against Edgeworth and I thought they battled away quite well. They’ve got a great striker up front, Cooper Buswell. He’s a really impressive striker, I like him. For his age, he shows a lot of maturity. There are other blokes there who have been there for a while. Jake Barner, he’s doing well for them. The old bloke, Greg Anderson, he is still rock solid.”

“It’s massive. We’ve got two massive games and if you have a look the big name teams all play each other in the next two weeks and if we can get a result this weekend and the following that is putting it right in there. Again, you look too far ahead and you miss out what you should be concentrating on.”

Steve Piggott (Weston)

“Darren and his young partner Sam, his assistant, have got them going well. Structurally they are pretty sound. They have got the young American up front who scores goals and he is a bit of a handful. They had a difficult match against the Suns and got through it late, so we are both in the same boat. They are up the table, they deserve to be there.”

“We just lacked the intensity and the drive to mix it with [Maitland in the FFA Cup]. Again, they are a big strong physical side and we didn’t even take it to them. That’s the disappointing part for the coaching staff, not just myself. It was just one of those days where your team doesn’t turn up and even your best players who are normally consistent have bad days.”

 Key: After a strong performance at home last weekend, can the Bears respond after a disappointing midweek showing against Maitland?

 

Lambton Jaffas v Newcastle Jets Youth
2.30pm Saturday 20th May at Arthur Edden Oval

Last Meeting: Round 17, 2016: Jets Youth 3 Lambton 0 at Arthur Edden Oval.

Ladder: Lambton 1st (20), Jets Youth 11th (3)

Past 3 Starts (most recent first):

Lambton – Won Magpies 2-1 (a), Won Rosebud 3-1 (a), Won Blues 2-1 (a)

Jets – Lost Magic 1-5 (h), Drew Roosters 3-3 (a), Lost Phoenix 0-1 (a)

Bottom Line

Lambton will look to continue their dominant form on Saturday – which has seen them rise to the top of ladder – against a Jets Youth outfit who have struggled so far this season and sit last.

Coming off the bye in round nine, the Jaffas quickly clicked into gear against Maitland, scoring first, before they had to dig deep in the second half with just ten men to hold on for a 2-1 victory.

The Jaffas have lost just once in their nine matches played, and in doing so have scored a league-high 21 goals – four more than their nearest rival.

Lambton also managed a midweek Westfield FFA Cup win, taking down Adamstown 1-0.

In contrast, the Jets Youth have conceded the most in the competition to date with 28 in their nine matches at an average of just over three per game.

Their defence seemed to be on the improve after successive, tight 1-0 losses against Edgeworth and Valentine, but in the last two matches, they have conceded eight.

The Jets went down 5-1 to Broadmeadow last weekend, so their confidence may have taken a bruising, especially after letting in five goals against the worst attacking side going into last round.

It seems this match has only one result based on the statistics – a big win to Lambton.

However, in big matches, the Jets Youth invariably stand up and expect them to put in a strong performance on Saturday. The real question is whether it will be enough against a Jaffas side with quality in abundance?

What the Coaches Said:

Paul Gomez (Jets Youth Assistant)

“I think it is for them [playing against former A-League players]. They’re a group of players that get motivated by the bigger challenges, so I think it will have a positive effect on them going into the match and give them something not only to get up for in the game but aspire to as well.”

“If you are going to assess [Lambton’s] strengths, it’s all over the pitch. The depth that they have got in their squad is one of the best going around town. It’s hard to isolate areas where their weaknesses lie. If I had to pick one [strength] out, obviously, the athleticism of their wing backs in Ridge Marpu and Dane Greentree and those are the areas we need to look at to make sure that we isolate.”

Key: Against the last-placed Jets, can Lambton keep their focus and put on a ruthless showing?

 

Adamstown Rosebud v Maitland FC
2.30pm Sunday 20th May at Adamstown Oval

Last Meeting: Round 14, 2016: Maitland 4 Adamstown 2 at Cooks Square Park.

Ladder: Adamstown 10th (4), Maitland 3rd (16)

Past 3 Starts (most recent first):

Adamstown – Drew Blues 2-2 (a), Lost Jaffas 1-3 (h), Drew Magic 0-0 (h)

Maitland – Lost Jaffas 1-2 (h), Won Magic 7-0 (a), Won Roosters 1-0 (h)

 Bottom Line

Adamstown will be aiming to grab their first win of the season when they take on a Maitland side looking to bounce back from a disappointing performance last weekend against Lambton.

The Rosebuds are fresh off the bye, however, they did play a Westfield FFA Cup match on Wednesday – a 1-0 loss to Lambton – so they won’t come in totally fresh.

Since their round six match against Lake Macquarie where they went down 2-1 the Rosebuds have been on an upward trend ever since and while they are yet to win this season they don’t seem far off.

Opponents Maitland come into the match a little disappointed and keen to make a point after going down 2-1 to a ten man Lambton outfit last weekend. However, a 3-2 win over Weston midweek will have restored some confidence.

They set the bar high after a 7-0 demolition job of Broadmeadow Magic the week before and fell well below the standards they had set after that victory.

While they have had a disjointed start to the season, with wet weather catch up matches as well as Westfield FFA Cup commitments, it seems things may settle down for the Magpies and they can get down to business.

Maitland will come into the match as favourites based on their form to date. The Magpies also won both matches last season by a combined margin of 10-3 and Adamstown will be gunning for their first victory over them since 2015.

What the Coaches Said:

Pete McGuinness (Adamstown)

‘Obviously, we really want to win a game of football. I think the last few weeks, we drew with Magic, then we had a win midweek in the Cup game and performed quite well against Jaffas, just not as much, I guess, class as they had. But, I thought in that game we were still having a real good go at them.

“At 2-1 down, [against the Jaffas] they got one in injury time to win 3-1, that was a better performance again, so I think if you look at those matches, our last three games, albeit one was a cup game against a NewFM team, we’ve had a draw, a win and a loss, a close loss really. So, there is a bit of momentum there to say things are improving.”

Phil Dando (Maitland)

“We need to get back to where we were the week before. Credit to Lambton Jaffas, they did well against us to stop us playing the type of football we want to play. We’ve just got to get back to playing as well as we can play. I’m still disappointed, particularly the way we played the week before. I wanted to get something out of the game anyone, put it that way. I believe at our best we are a match for anyone in the comp. To lose to anyone I’m disappointed.”

“[Adamstown] are obviously getting nearer to a win and it’s going to be our job to make sure it’s not us that gives them it. There is not a lot between top and bottom in this competition and so we’ve got to be at our best to go there and get a result. We need [a win] to get close to the target I’ve set us for the first half of the season, so, if we’re going to be genuine title contenders… we need a win.”

Key: Adamstown have only scored seven goals in their last eight matches. Maitland scored seven in one game. Can the Rosebuds find form in front of goal?

 

Lake Macquarie City v Edgeworth Eagles
2.30pm Sunday 20th May at Macquarie Field

Last Meeting: Round 13, 2014: Edgeworth 1 Lake Macquarie 0 at Jack McLaughlan Oval.

Ladder: Lakes 6th (13), Edgeworth 2nd (18)

Last 3 Starts (most recent first):

Lakes – Drew Olympic 1-1 (a), Drew Jets 3-3 (h), Lost Magpies 0-1 (a)

Edgeworth – Won Phoenix 1-0 (h), Won Bears 2-1 (a), Won Blues 2-0 (h)

Bottom Line

Edgeworth returns to Macquarie Field for the first time since 2014 and they will be hoping for a different result than three years ago where they were forced to share the points after a late goal from Sam Walker.

The Eagles will come into this one as favourites after recording their fifth win in a row against Hamilton in the Westfield FFA Cup. On the weekend, the Eagles were made to work hard for their victory over Valentine, scoring once through veteran Daniel McBreen as they ground out a 1-0 victory.

While the end result was tight on Sunday, Edgeworth never looked like conceding with Josh Evans, Pat Wheeler and Dom Bizzarri nullifying the Valentine strike force to ensure they remain the best defence in the comp. They have conceded just five times in nine matches of football.

Lakes have been so very determined over their nine matches played so far. Many expected them to fall last weekend against Hamilton, but a dogged defensive display saw them share the points. It took a wonder strike from Olympic defender Grant Brown to breach their defence.

While they have dropped down the ladder in recent weeks, the Roosters have only lost one of their last four PS4 NPL NNSW matches and are hanging on to the coattails of the top four. A loss to Zone League side Cardiff in the Westfield FFA Cup may have hurt, but, will give Lakes more chance to focus on the league.

This round sees all of the top four clubs, meeting sides outside the top four, and a loss for all the sides outside the top four – including Lakes – could see their grip loosen.

Mentally it has been a huge week for Edgeworth, having to get themselves up for the Westfield FFA Cup clash against Hamilton.

If they are to strike, this weekend could be just the right moment to catch the Eagles napping.

Lakes welcome back midfielder Justin Broadley (toe) and Steve Rospigliosi (work). Josh Symons and Dean Holt (overseas) will be out of the side.

What the Coaches Said:

 Damian Zane (Edgeworth)

“They are probably similar to Valentine in ways. They’re probably a bit more counter-attacking than Valentine. They were sort of like Valentine last year, I think they have exceeded everyone’s expectations. They seem like a really tight unit. Sam Walker, I tried to sign him when I took over, I rate him pretty highly and Blake Green has been really impressive for me. They are a pretty handy team so we won’t be taking them lightly.”

“I like that they didn’t make a lot of changes when they came up. I think you’ve just got to look at our team. We don’t have massive turnover each year. I think the longer the group is together the better.”

Anthony Richards (Lake Macquarie)

“They’re the champs and they are coming good, so if this is going to be our grand final for the round one we are finishing with the best team in the comp. It’s certainly going to be a massive test for us to play against such a good side.”

“We like challenging ourselves and we would much rather play someone like Edgeworth than someone who is not in their position. It’s a good test for us and we want to try and see how we go against the good sides. We realise we don’t have the players they have got, but, we certainly love the challenge.”

Key: Will the Eagles be mentally ready after the midweek Cup match-up with Olympic?




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1st Grade - PlayStation 4 National Premier Leagues - Senior