NPL Northern NSW Round 4 Review
Match of the Round
Adamstown Rosebud 0 def. by Lake Macquarie City 4 (Hunter 28’, 78’ Walker 57’ PEN, Sichalwe 71’)
Sunday 8th April, 2:30 pm at Adamstown Oval
A ten-man Adamstown held on for as long as they could but were not able to prevent Lakes from claiming their first points of the season.
The result sees Adamstown anchored to the bottom of the ladder after four games with just one point to show, while Lakes’ first win of the season was enough to propel them up two places to ninth.
Mitch Hunter got the ball rolling in the 28th minute locking in Lakes’ second goal of the season. It was a dazzling run from inside his own half, the striker gliding past two players and getting a shot off from outside the area to open the scoring.
Things went bad for Adamstown early in the second half, after defender Danillo O’Brien was shown a straight red card for a pull on the shirt of Morgan Okeno inside the area - to howls of protest from his teammates.
The ensuing penalty was sunk with aplomb by Sam Walker, and Lakes’ lead doubled.
Paul Sichalwe opened the scoring in the second half for Lakes in the 71st minute after being played through by Mitch Hunter. Turning on the ball nicely and finishing past Benn Kelly in the Adamstown goal, Sichalwe put the match definitively out of Rosebud’s reach.
Hunter scored his second in the 78th minute to put the icing on the cake, turning a weak shot in after Kelly saw it late.
It’s not quite panic stations for Adamstown, but with big games against Lambton and Broadmeadow on the horizon, they desperately need to steady the ship.
Maitland Magpies 1 (Swan 37’) drew Valentine Phoenix 1 (Wood 15’ PEN)
Saturday 7th April, 2:30 pm at Cooks Square Park
Maitland managed to maintain their unbeaten record at home so far this year but were unable to take all three points from an end-to-end contest with Valentine.
The visitors opened the scoring in the 15th minute after Joel Wood was brought down in the box by Maitland defender Alex Read. Wood converted the penalty he won to put Valentine ahead.
Matt Comerford turned provider to help Maitland restore parity ten minutes before half-time.
Comerford received the ball from the right-hand side and played a series of quick passes with Andrew Swan, who ended up turning in a tricky tap-in to make it 1-all.
The second half was an end-to-end affair, with each sides chasing a winner in the heat. Despite chances, neither side was able to find the breakthrough and the pair shared the points.
It’s a missed opportunity for Maitland, who could have stayed within three points of Charlestown at the top. Instead, they’re five points behind and level with Lambton on points, occupying second thanks to goal difference.
It’s two points in two weeks against strong opposition for Valentine, but they’re still on the hunt for their first win of the season. They have Lakes next weekend, who will prove again stern competition.
Weston Bears 2 (Adjeke 18’, Maguire 37’) def. Broadmeadow Magic 1 (Virgili 3’)
Sunday 8th April, 2:30 pm at Rockwell Automation Park
This was a game which many expected a rampant Broadmeadow side to win but Weston managed to upset the apple cart and beat Magic at home for the first time since 2014.
It looked like being a long afternoon for Weston after James Virgili scored his sixth goal of the season – in the third minute.
Virgilli was put through by Cody Carroll and managed to hit in the inside of the far post to put Magic ahead.
Weston seized on a mistake at the back shortly after to level the scores. A poor pass from Broadmeadow captain Josh Piddington found Max Foster, who played through Tega Adjeke.
Adjeke, who scored twenty goals for Belswans in the NEWFM Northern League One last season, made no mistake 1 on 1 with keeper Paul Bitz and levelled the scores.
The next goal was something special from the boot of Josh Maguire. Maguire was left unmarked outside the area, and with some significant space around him – which Chris Hurley recognised.
Maguire was played in some 25 yards out and used his left foot to send a rocket above the outstretched arms of Bitz and score his first goal in Weston colours.
Tempers were flaring, with both sides happy to leave the boot in and try to win some type of advantage. Jordan Jackson and Cody Carroll were among those to receive yellow cards in the first half for their involvement in various scuffles.
The second half was a wave of Magic attacks, as they attempted to break down a Weston defence which was happy to sit men behind the ball and defend their lead.
Weston were playing quite deep at times and were making it difficult for Magic to make the most of their pacey wingers as there was very little space in behind.
Their best chances came deep in the half from a pair of free kicks just minutes from time. Kane Runge proved himself up to the task, though, with Weston hanging on for their second win of the season.
Newcastle Jets Youth 0 def. by Edgeworth Eagles 1 (Byrnes 39’)
Sunday 8th April, 2:30 pm at Jack McLaughlan Oval
In their first match at Jack McLaughlan Oval this season, Edgeworth stepped up to the plate and squeezed past a Jets Youth side who for the first time this season.
The solitary goal in this match came in the 39th minute through Jamie Byrnes, who blasted home to earn his side the three points.
It wasn’t an easy thing, though. The young Jets controlled much of the ball in the second half, with both sides creating chances.
In the end, though, Edgeworth did hang on for their second win of the season and ensured they maintain a run which has seen them unbeaten by Jets Youth since 2012.
Edgeworth coach Damien Zane was pleased to pick up his second win of the season and said his side will improve more as they get more game time.
“I’m happy with the way we defended and there is more improvement to come, but yesterday was all about the three points,” Zane said.
“We started really well, they had a fair bit of the ball without hurting us too much and I think we were good for our lead based not on the play but on the possession.
“On chances, we had a couple of decent ones where the keeper pulled off a save or two, but on the play, I think they (Jets Youth) were a bit hard done by not to get anything, it was a funny game like that.”
Zane was pleased to get through the match with his squad intact.
“We were worried about Macca’s (Daniel McBreen) hamstring, it was fine but they found something on the sole of his foot so he had a week off so we’re not risking a stress fracture,” Zane said.
“Other than that, everyone did well.”
Charlestown City Blues 2 (Smith 22’, Sakomoto 94’) def. Lambton Jaffas 1 (Hay 67’)
Sunday 8th April, 2:30 pm at Lisle Carr Oval
This was a big one – first versus second, and it took until the final kick of the game for a winner to be decided.
In the end, it was Charlestown who managed to steal victory at the death and maintain their unbeaten run to the season.
It’s the best start any side has had to an NPL Northern NSW season – the last time a side won their first four matches in the league was Broadmeadow back in 2012, that saw them claim the championship that year.
It was a start which BarTV’s Chris Turner described as ‘reflective of semi-final football’, with both sides much fancied and looking to make a statement.
A Rene Ferguson throw-in caught Lambton asleep at the wheel in the 22nd minute and put Scott Smith on his way toward the goal. He came 1 on 1 with Brad Swancott and eased it past for his fourth goal of the season.
A surging Ben Hay run in the second half levelled things up for Lambton with a little under half an hour to go.
Hay was played in by Ryan Griffiths inside his own half, and charged forward, shrugging off some pressure from Ljubo Milicevic and firing home from outside his box to level it up.
Just as the match looked to be heading to a draw, a slip from Lambton’s Michael Sessions opened up the space for the Blues’ Masaya Sakamoto.
Sakamoto managed to turn it around Brad Swancott for his first goal in Charlestown colours and push his side five points clear at the top of the table.
Charlestown’s Rene Ferguson told BarTV Sports after the match it was a big result for his side.
“Very tough battle, Jaffas are a quality side and have plenty of boys who put up a big fight so we’re happy to come away with the win,” Ferguson said.
The Blues’ Riley McNaughton was equally pleased.
“It’s good to knock off the old teammates,” McNaughton laughed.
“It was a massive game for us, and to come out on top is massive.”