NPL Northern NSW Round 9 Review
Match of the Round
Lambton Jaffas 1 (Griffiths 8’) def. by Hamilton Olympic 2 (Mooney 13’, Pettit 43’)
Saturday 12th May, 2:30 pm at Arthur Edden Oval
An early Lambton goal in this one was shaping as crucial for an extremely undermanned side.
Ultimately the eighth minute Ryan Griffiths header wasn’t enough for Lambton as Hamilton roared back into form with their second come-from-behind victory in as many weeks.
Griffiths opened the scoring as he rose highest from a Bren Hammel corner, beating Hamilton keeper Tyler Warren to the ball and put the home side ahead 1-0.
A header inside the box just five minutes later from Hamilton’s Simon Mooney levelled things up. Olympic shifted the ball nicely from left to right, and a cut in and cross from Cody Lucas on the right-hand side found Mooney’s head who steered in a tight header under pressure.
Just minutes before half-time, Hamilton was ahead. Scott Pettit finished off a move which he started from the afters of a corner; Pettit played a neat little one-two inside the 18-yard box with Jarryd Sutherland and buried the ball into the back of the net.
Pat Brown had a half-chance to get Lambton back on level terms in the 64th minute, but he wasn’t able to get enough power on his header and steered it wide of the post.
Another header inside the box could have put Lambton level in the 82nd minute, but Ben Hay’s bullet header from a Griffiths’ free kick went just wide of the post. There was to be no leveller in the end from Lambton, who fell to their second loss of the season.
Hamilton boss Peter McGuinness was pleased for his side to pick up their second win in as many weeks.
“I thought the first half we performed well and led. We responded well after going down and it was a pretty even sort of contest in difficult conditions,” said McGuinness.
“It was very windy at times, the pitch was bumpy and the conditions weren’t conducive to a good style of footy so ultimately I didn’t think it was the high standard of match that it could have been on a good surface on a clear day.
“Simon Mooney was good again, but I thought they all played well, to be honest, and we didn’t have too many players that didn’t dig deep, and the last 15-20 minutes or so we dug deep and looked to counter-attack as Lambton were driving on to get the equaliser, but they didn’t have much luck and we defended well and held on.”
McGuinness was pleased his side finally seemed to be getting their rub of the green, matching good results with good performances.
“We went down to Maitland and Edgeworth in the last minute of play, and this week we held on… our performances have been good.
“You have a little bit of fortune sometimes, and sometimes you don’t but what goes around comes around and it won’t stay away forever, that’s changed a bit.
“I think also, the mindset of the guys on the weekend, they wanted to reward themselves with a win and they fought hard, so that was pleasing.”
Lake Macquarie City 0 def. by Maitland FC 2 (Dutton-Black 61’, Thornton 85’)
Saturday 12th May, 7 pm at Macquarie Field
After a win over Maitland nearly two weeks ago, Lakes may have been quietly confident despite their opposition personnel somewhat bolstered since that encounter.
Instead, Maitland reversed the FFA Cup result from just ten days previous to maintain their position inside the top four.
The visitors had a plethora of corners but were unable to do anything from them. Their best chance was from the set piece in the 39th minute, when Liam Thornton rose for the header but wasn’t able to turn it in.
Maitland built more and more pressure as the second half wore on, and in the 61st minute finally found a breakthrough. They moved the ball down the right-hand side, and a Chris Fayers cutback evaded everyone in the penalty area except Josh Dutton-Black on the far corner of the six-yard box. He had time to take a touch and pick his spot for his second goal of the season.
A loose pass from Alex Read at the back in the 67th minute nearly gave Lakes a chance to level the scores, but Manoli Papaspiropoulas was only able to find the side netting.
Lakes had the ball in the back of the net in the 78th minute after a quick transition moved the ball up to Paul Sichalwe, whose neat little dink over the top found Sam Walker. The whistle sounded for offside though, and his shot after the fact didn’t count.
After a number of corners in the first half that Maitland couldn’t make count, one in the dying embers of the second half would. Thornton made a late run into the box and called for the ball, which was duly floated over onto his head.
The strike hit the head of Lakes’ Jayden Saetta and the underside of the crossbar, but Maitland appealed that the ball had crossed the line and the officials agreed and awarded Maitland’s second.
Lakes boss Nick Webb was proud of his side’s effort despite the result.
“We were a couple of troops down with an injury, so we set up to play on the counter-attack and we did quite well for sixty minutes, they got a goal but I was quite proud of the boys,” said Webb.
“We tried a different shape to stop conceding as many goals as we have been, and we did okay but obviously didn’t get the points… the couple of boys out made an enormous difference to the way that we play, our normal attacking style, we did really well for sixty odd minutes and frustrated them.
“If we had have held on for another ten or fifteen minutes we could have gone on the attack and really got after them, but we didn’t get a chance to do that and this week will be a lot different, we’ll go back to our normal style and it’ll be a lot different.
“Tom and Sam Walker were both missing, Tom’s our centre back and Sam runs our midfield, we haven’t got a big first grade squad so it was a big hole to fill, the boys did really well and I’m proud of them, but at the end of the day the style that we played didn’t get us the result.”
Webb indicated there would be some rotation for Wednesday night’s FFA Cup clash at Charlestown.
“The boys are looking forward to it, they’ll be able to get back out and have a little bit of fun with this game, we’ll check what team we put out on the paddock and there’s probably a few boys out there that need a rest at the moment,” said Webb.
“I’ll throw a few of the younger boys in there to give them a crack, and see how we go.”
Maitland coach Michael Bolch described it as a scrappy match.
“You take the conditions, we were playing on the lake and it was pretty windy so it’s hard with ball control, but I was happy with what the boys did,” said Bolch.
“They [Lakes] were very defensively structured, got a lot of numbers behind the ball but did well, they held their structures well and didn’t come out of the line and it took a lot to break them down, the boys were patient and it took us sixty minutes until the opening goal.
“We had quite a few chances before then but I was happy with the patience the boys showed to grind out the win, it’s a tough place to go and Lakes haven’t done too bad this year, only our second clean sheet of the year so the defensive structures we’re putting in place at the moment are working, and it’ll hold us in good stead for the next couple of weeks.”
Bolch was especially pleased with the contribution of captain Carl Thornton on Saturday night.
“He was very good for us, defensively he just marshalled everything and won everything we needed to win, the last twenty minutes when we went one up and they had to come at us a bit, he just shut down everything,” said Bolch.
“Between him and the two Swan boys (Andrew and Mat) in front of him, they did really well.”
The return of Matt Comerford from injury was encouraging for Bolch, who believes there’s much more to come from him.
“He’s very much short of a gallop, he missed a chunk of pre-season then injured his shoulder and only had two training sessions back since that, he gave us a good impact coming off the bench and over the next few weeks as we get more minutes into his legs, he’s only going to improve,” said Bolch.
“We’ll get a lot better in the front third, he’s one of the best-attacking players in the competition and he’s probably only played 120 minutes so far this year so once we get some minutes back into his legs and get him playing 90, he’ll improve our side dramatically.”
Charlestown City Blues 2 (Smith 58’, 66’) def. Valentine Phoenix 0
Sunday 13th May, 2:30 pm at Lisle Carr Oval
It was a shock defeat for Charlestown last time out, and with only one win in their last four league matches, they desperately needed a boost before the bye next weekend.
They got just that, a Scott Smith double doing enough to propel Charlestown back to the top of the table.
Charlestown thought they’d scored in the 33rd minute when Kevin Davidson dispossessed Joel Wood on the halfway line. He played a one-two with Cal Lewis and charged on, getting it back and firing in a shot (or cross) which Lewis got to first and buried it home.
The sides had returned to the half-way line and were ready to go, but discussions ensued between the referee and linesman on the near side and eventually the goal was disallowed as Valentine keeper Scott Carter had come out of his goal as one of his defenders rushed in behind.
This made Carter the last defender rather than the outfield player, and Lewis was adjudged to be beyond the last defender when Davidson’s cross was fired in. A decision which wasn’t entirely agreed upon by all, with Charlestown protesting in vain.
An absolute rocket from Scott Smith in the 58th minute put Charlestown ahead properly for the first time. His free kick from around 30 yards out took a deflection on the way in which helped wrong-foot Carter in the Valentine goal and put the Blues ahead 1-0.
Another set-piece would wrap up the three points for Charlestown just eight minutes later when a Reece Pettit handball inside the Valentine box earned the Blues a penalty. Smith stepped up and buried his second of the day.
Rene Ferguson nearly scored a nice little flick in the 70th minute from a Smith free-kick and forced a good diving save from Carter in the 72nd minute. He wasn’t able to score though, but it didn’t matter for his team in the end as they returned to the top of the table.
Valentine assistant coach Sam Griffin was disappointed not to take anything away from Lisle Carr Oval.
“I think going in nil-all at half-time, after setting out to be in that position or even better gave us a chance to go on with it, but we didn’t really execute the way we would’ve liked in the second half,” Griffin said.
“I think we showed a bit too much respect to the other side, Charlestown are at the top somewhere but once you’re on the field it doesn’t matter where you are and you’ve just got to play what’s in front of you.
“I think we were a bit sheepish when we really should have taken the game to them, in the end, that’s what they did to us and that was the difference.”
Griffin was pleased with Valentine goalkeeper Scott Carter’s return to fitness following a shoulder dislocation.
“He was terrific, he pulled up okay which is good for us, you’ve never 100% sure how they’re going to come back.
“It probably helped that he was a bit fresher than others, but he did really well.”
Edgeworth Eagles 0 def. by Adamstown Rosebud 1 (Vallone 63’)
Sunday 13th May, 2:30 pm at Jack McLaughlan Oval
A win over Charlestown last weekend was a fantastic result for Adamstown, their third win in a row after a troublesome start to the season.
Doing their best to show that it wasn’t just a stroke of luck, Rosebud struck once again this Sunday and knocked a different side off top spot with a massively important win over Edgeworth.
Adamstown nearly opened the scoring in the 7th minute from a corner, when Connor Heydon flicked on a header from further out and forced a reflex save from Nate Cavaliere in the Edgeworth goal.
A glancing header from Pat Wheeler off a corner in the first-half injury time was perhaps Edgeworth’s best chance of the half, and it forced a good save from Adamstown keeper Benn Kelly.
The visitors took the lead in the 63rd minute. From the goal kick, Chris Berlin clipped on the ball to Luke Vallone who set off in behind the defence. A deft little chip from him cleared Nate Cavaliere, and the chasing defenders could only follow the ball into the back of the net as Adamstown went ahead.
Edgeworth’s best chance to level things up came late in the afternoon when they were awarded a free kick on the edge of the area in second-half injury time. Tyson Jackson stepped up but put his effort just wide.
The loss moved Edgeworth off the top of the table all the way down to fourth and was the first time they’ve been kept scoreless this season. Adamstown shot up to sixth on the ladder and are remarkably just two wins outside the top four.
Adamstown boss Shane Cansdell-Sherriff was pleased with the way his side pinched a goal, and then hung on to the lead.
“Great win, great effort, it was a hard and well fought-battle,” said Cansdell-Sherriff.
“It was 50-50, both had our fair share of chances and we knew at half-time that we had a fair chance of getting something out of the game, we battled on and managed to get a goal on the break which caught them out.
“We defended more in the second half than we did the first half, but we reduced them to shooting from long range and playing long balls which is a sign of a good defence, it’s never going to be a perfect game where we’d dominate such a good and experienced side against them.
“Once they’re down, they’re trying to score so they’re chasing the game a little bit, we’re trying to hold on so they gamble a little bit more and push forward a little bit more, which pushed us back and made us dig in, but a win’s a win, we’ll take the three points and move on.”
The Rosebud men have been handed the underdog tag the past two weeks as they’ve knocked off the top teams in the competition, but Cansdell-Sherriff hasn’t been using it as a motivator.
“I said to the boys from the start that we’ll take it one game at a time, we’re a new side and we’ve got to have realistic expectations and when I say that I don’t have the bar way above our heads, but we’re not quite there as a team yet.
“We’re a team that’s been developing from the start, a lot of new faces and young boys, I think we’ve had eight boys debut in the league and they’ve done very very well… let’s keep working at it, learn about ourselves as individuals and as a team and let’s build slowly.
“We needed a little bit of luck to fall our way and once it fell we knew we’d get results, we’ve had it lately and picked up results but the boys are working really hard, they give 100% every training session and I’m getting everyone at every session, which makes my job easier because I get to coach the whole side but difficult because it raises questions over who I pick at the weekend.
“When you get that, it breeds confidence and that mentality and we want to keep driving forward… we’ve worked hard for it.”
Broadmeadow Magic 4 (O’Connor OG 17’, Oxborrow 19’, Broadley 43’) def. Newcastle Jets Youth 2 (Harrison 33’,
Sunday 13th May, 2:30 pm at Magic Park
The big news throughout the week was the return of former Jets and Magic man Mitchell Oxborrow to Broadmeadow.
Oxborrow continued to steal the headlines on Sunday too, with two goals in a resounding Broadmeadow Magic victory which kept them in touch with the top spot.
The scoring was opened in the 17th minute after Oxborrow played a ball in from the left-hand side. It fell to Joseph O’Connor to clear, but his shanked attempt cleared Noah James and put Magic ahead.
A corner from the opposite side just two minutes later doubled the lead for Magic. It was Oxborrow on the end of it once again, and he managed to score directly from the corner for his first goal back in Magic colours.
Jets Youth clawed their way back into the match in the 33rd minute, and it was Kent Harrison with his second goal in a week. Ryan Goodhew played in the ball from the midfield, and Harrison unleashed a vicious shot from outside the penalty box and found the back of the net to make it 2-1.
Kale Bradbury was the architect of Magic’s third, which put them back ahead by two goals just before halftime. He cut in from the left-hand side and laid it back to Justin Broadley on the top of the box. Broadley took a touch and fired home with his right foot, his first goal in Magic colours.
Broadmeadow virtually put the game out of sight in the 59th minute, after two former Newcastle Jets combined to make it four.
James Virgili collected the ball after a goal kick and struggled to beat his man, but a sliding tackle on him sent the ball through to Oxborrow. One-on-one with James, he made no mistake for his second of the afternoon.
Jets Youth would pull back a goal late in the match, but it proved only a consolation. It was a good strike though, Kent Harrison involved as he laid off a ball to Cai Tipaldo. His strike was good from outside the area and made the final score 4-2.