NPL Northern NSW Round 11 Review
Match of the Round
Charlestown City Blues 0 def. by Newcastle Jets Youth 1 (Hayes 80’)
Sunday 27th May, 2:30 pm at Lisle Carr Oval
A perfect home record was on the line as Charlestown returned to action after their bye last weekend.
Jets Youth returned from their own weekend abroad in Hong Kong and apparently much better for it securing a hard-fought, gritty win to ensure they kept in touch with the pack.
Young Jet Joseph O’Connor had the first chance of the afternoon in the fifth minute thanks to a whipped ball in from Ryan Goodhew, but Charlestown’s Danny Ireland proved equal to the challenge. Blues leading goal scorer Scott Smith had a golden opportunity to put his side ahead shortly after, but he wasn’t able to beat Noah James one-on-one.
It was thrill-a-minute type stuff at Lisle Carr. In the ninth minute of play, Kieran Hayes was the recipient of an O’Connor cross, but his shot deflected out for a corner.
Smith had another brilliant chance to give Charlestown the lead in the 16th minute, and with just the keeper to beat, Smith managed to uncharacteristically send his shot high and wide.
Jets Youth looked like they may have had a goal in the 33rd minute when Kent Harrison was played through and finished between the legs of Danny Ireland, but Harrison was offside and the play was called back for after a Charlestown foul in the build-up.
The Blues almost opened their account once more in the 39th minute when a deep Matt Tull corner found the head of Daniel Laiman, whose good shot was stopped superbly by James. Jackson Frendo forced a fantastic save from Ireland early in the second half after the Jets man’s dipping free kick.
Jets Youth had a good chance in the 70th minute after an incisive breakaway had Cai Tipaldo and Jack Simmons running at a barebones Charlestown defence. The ball eventually fell to the late-arriving Kieran Hayes, but he wasn’t able to find the back of the net.
Rene Ferguson had a good chance just moments later when he was found free at the back post, but his first touch allowed James to rush out and shut things down.
It was end-to-end stuff, and in the 78th minute, the Jets had a good chance to open their account. A shot from a long way out from Cai Tipaldo was palmed away, and the resulting cross to the back post was headed over the top by Hayes.
Counter-attack looked to be the flavour of the day, and it would pay dividends for the Jets in the 80th minute. An incisive breakaway, a botched interception and a nice ball through from Cai Tipaldo found Hayes. The captain finally found the back of the net, and it was 1-0.
Perhaps the most remarkable moment of the match was to come though – in the 87th minute, Laiman must have thought he equalised after his shot from the edge of the area was hard and true. James dived down to his right and pulled off a save which any keeper in the world would have been pleased with.
Charlestown desperately searched for a winner, and their desperation saw tackles flying in thick and fast. They earned three yellow cards in the final minutes for their enthusiasm.
Despite all the Blues’ pushing on, it was Jets Youth who had the best chance in the final stages. Cai Tipaldo was one-on-one, and went near post but seen his shot hit the post and rebound out. Jack Simmons took the ball to the corner and drew a foul from Kevin Davidson, but the referee decided enough was enough and the Jets were winners.
Charlestown coach David Tanchevski called it a disappointing result.
“We had some really good chances to put the game to bed early, Scott Smith had a couple of really good one-on-one’s, two clear but one-on-ones which he didn’t put away,” said Tanchevski.
“Traditionally in other games, we’d have taken those chances and won, but it wasn’t our day in front of goal and we had more chances in the second half too… we didn’t take them, we threw men forward and conceded one up the other end.
“Disappointing to take when you feel like you should have won the game, but Jets Youth are a good side and they had their chances and played quite well, I was impressed with them.”
The Blues have now lost won just one of their last four matches in the league now, but Tanchevski denied it’s something which he’s worried about.
“We drew with Edgeworth which I’d take any day of the week, we lost to Adamstown which wasn’t expected but they’re in form,” said Tanchevski.
“I’d be concerned if we didn’t play well or create chances, I’m disappointed we didn’t take our chances and if we weren’t creating them I’d be concerned.
“We’re going through a few injuries, middle of the season at the moment so we haven’t been outplayed… we’ve played the top five teams and only lost to one of those teams, so no alarm bells for me at the moment we just need to get back to basics.”
Lambton Jaffas 2 (Crowley 26’, Griffiths 38’) def. Lake Macquarie City 1 (Walker 25’)
Saturday 26th May, 2:30 pm at Arthur Edden Oval
A 25th-minute goal had Lakes ahead early in this one away to Lambton on Saturday afternoon.
Pegged back just moments later and put behind before the turn of the half, the Roosters eventually succumbed to their eighth loss of the season.
Mitch Hunter let off a range-finder in the sixth minute of play as Lakes and Jaffas battled for control early in this match. The visitors were nearly ahead in the eighth minute when a Hunter cross was met by Lambton’s Ridge Mapu, but his own-goal bound effort deflected off another defender and away from danger.
Lakes was enjoying some good field position and they were creating the chances to match. Paul Sichalwe fired one off past the post in the tenth minute of play and Morgan Okeno fired over two minutes later.
Lambton nearly opened the scoring in the 17th minute when Braedyn Crowley found himself with only the keeper to beat but managed only to hit it straight at Stuart Plant. Joel Griffiths wasn’t able to connect with a ball into the box two minutes later, it missed his head by inches.
The deadlock was finally broken in the 26th minute when a Sam Walker shot from some 25 yards out whistled home past Brad Swancott and gave Lakes the lead.
Keen not to stay behind for too long, it took just a minute for Lambton to draw level. Joel Griffiths played Braedyn Crowley in down the right-hand side, and the youngster made no mistake to make the score 1-all.
They’d be level before half-time, and it was again Joel Griffiths who provided the goal. His touchback across the face found brother Ryan, and he scored his sixth league goal of the season and Lambton’s second of the day.
Tom Sparre nearly scored for Lakes in the 60th minute in the aftermath of a corner but his header was straight at the keeper. Braedyn Crowley could have had a second in the 65th minute, but his shot was stopped by a sliding Joey Cacic.
Lakes more than had their chances to score an equaliser towards the death, but the finishing touch just wasn’t there. Tom Walker blazed one over and Tom Sparre had a goal-bound effort deflect wide.
Nor was it there for Lambton – they hit the post through Pat Brown in the 90th minute and had a number of efforts called offside late on. In the end, Jaffas couldn’t extend their advantage, Lakes couldn’t equalise and the match would end 2-1 Lambton.
Edgeworth Eagles 1 (Bower 87’) def. Valentine Phoenix 0
Saturday 26th May, 2:30 pm at Jack McLaughlan Oval
Last time these two teams met just a fortnight ago in the FFA Cup, it was a tight affair with only a solitary goal the difference.
It was a repeat on Saturday night as both sides battled and eventually Edgeworth clawed their way back to the top of the ladder.
Valentine was subjected to an onslaught from the home side in the opening stages of this, and Edgeworth wasn’t threatened. Daniel McBreen hit the post with a wicked shot in the sixth minute which was just inches from bulging the back of the net.
McBreen looked to provide in the 21st minute as he headed down a long ball to Adam Cawley, but his shot went wide. Cawley shanked what looked to be a certain goal in the 26th minute, after some good work from Tyson Jackson down the right-hand side.
Jamie Byrnes had a good chance in the 32nd minute which saw him admonished for not striking through the ball by the Edgeworth coaching staff, but the Eagles were building the pressure and a goal looked inevitable.
Pat Wheeler forced a good low save from Scott Carter in the 37th minute, but a goal looked like it may well have been coming at the other end in the 42nd minute after Josh Evans missed a cross which fell at the back post for Josh Carroll. His shot deflected out, and the resulting corner found the side netting.
The play was halted temporarily in the 57th minute as a sizeable divot deep in the Edgeworth half was attended to by ground staff. Tyson Jackson forced another good save low from Carter ten minutes later, and McBreen made him go high in the 68th.
Valentine should have opened the scoring in the 75th minute. A Christian Kershaw ball across the face of goal fell to Joel Wood at the back post, but he seemed surprised by it and wasn’t able to put enough power on it to send it in.
Josh Low chose to live dangerously in the 78th minute when he received the ball and played it around an onrushing Aaron Niyonkuru. Valentine had a shout for a penalty waved away a minute later, when Matt Paul looked to have been brought down in the area but the ref said nothing doing.
The deadlock looked destined to be broken though and in the 86th it was. A one-two put Will Bower in front of goal, and he managed to slide the ball underneath Scott Carter and put it away to shoot Edgeworth back to the top of the ladder.
Edgeworth boss Damien Zane believed the game should have been over at half-time.
“It’s probably the best half we’ve put together this year, we created heaps and hit the post twice, missed about three open goals and you can’t afford to dominate like that and not bury a team,” said Zane.
“Valentine came out second half and it was a lot tighter, we used up all the time we could to find a winner and it’s a credit to us because we’re good at doing that and finding a way to win
“We should have been up 3-0 at least at half-time and been able to relax, we can’t afford to keep missing those chances (especially) against even better teams.
“It comes down to taking ownership, our defenders are brought in to defend and we’ve kept three clean sheets in a row.
“It’s the attacker’s job to get into the position to score goals and then put them away, we’re getting into positions but we’re not finishing and it comes down to putting your hand up and wanting to be the guy that scores goals.
“If you’re scoring goals, I can guarantee you’re in my starting eleven every week.”
Valentine assistant coach Sam Griffin was frustrated his side didn’t take something away from Jack McLaughlan Oval.
“It’s a bit tough, twice within the space of two weeks we’ve gone down one-nil to Edgeworth at their home ground and possibly should have got something out of ti,” said Griffin.
“We definitely rode our luck in the first 25 minutes or so, Edgy put us under the pump a bit but they didn’t take their chances and towards the end of the game we probably had a couple of chances to win it so not getting anything out of it is a bit of a kick.”
With Valentine last and Edgeworth first on the ladder, most might have been satisfied with the performance but Griffin rued the points surrendered.
“We weren’t happy, we felt we should have got something and in the end, you walk away disappointed.”
Valentine now faces a lengthy stretch on the sidelines, with the bye next weekend and FFA Cup action the following weekend.
For a side with a swag of injuries and a poor first half of the season, it will allow Phoenix to reflect and recharge ahead of the second half.
“It will be a good chance to give a few boys that are running on empty and with illness, minor injuries to get back to 100 percent,” said Griffin.
“Being the midway point of the season, it’s a good chance for us to reset our goals a bit and obviously we’ve made it hard for ourselves in terms of making semi-finals but it’s about looking at what we can achieve for the year.
“We’ve got a bit of a break now and time to reflect, I think we’ll reassess and look at where we want to finish, a points tally and clean sheets and actually set some targets for the end of the year.”
Weston Bears 1 (Burtson 72’) def. by Hamilton Olympic 2 (Sutherland 15’, Treble 84’)
Sunday 27th May, 2:30 pm at Rockwell Automation Park
The third and final game without Steve Piggott on the sideline for Weston was a topsy-turvy one – crucial for a Bears side looking to close the gap on the pack.
A returning Rhys Cooper played his role as Hamilton conceded the lead and then won it back through youngster Kane Treble for their fourth win of the season.
The home side had a golden opportunity to open the scoring in the 12th minute when Tega Marcus was played in by Chris Hurley. The Bears striker only had the ‘keeper to beat but managed to hit it straight at a diving Tyler Warren.
It’d prove a costly miss just minutes later. An under-hit pass to the last line of defence was swooped upon by Olympic’s Jarryd Sutherland, who dribbled into space and had the confidence to nutmeg Weston keeper Kane Runge for the opening goal.
It was almost two just three minutes after the opening goal when Jordan Jackson got under a back-pass and sent it goal bound. Runge was backpedalling and managed to head it behind to avert a calamitous own goal.
Weston had a pair of good chances in the opening stages of the second half, but Beau Wilkins and Josh Maguire both put their chances from the edge of the area over the crossbar.
The visitors should have made it two in the 70th minute after an incisive breakaway. Jake McGuinness carried the ball half the length of the pitch and played a ball through a crunching sandwich tackle to Jed Hornery.
The number 13 squared it to Rhys Cooper who was virtually free of defenders but he decided to play Hornery back in. A charging Chris Hurley dove in and defused what was one of Hamilton’s most clear-cut chances of the match.
As did Weston with their missed chance earlier in the match, Hamilton would soon regret theirs. The Bears charged up the other end and had a pair of set pieces – a corner floated to the back post was met by the head of Jackson Burston, and it was 1-all.
It was Hamilton who’d ultimately claim their second victory over Weston in as many weeks. A free kick in the 84th minute fell kindly to young substitute Kane Treble, and he had little to do but connect from little more than a yard out to secure victory for Olympic.
Hamilton coach Peter McGuinness was pleased to get the result he felt his side deserved.
“On the balance of the first half I thought we deserved the lead, second half I thought we dug ourselves into a hole,” said McGuinness.
“They changed a bit of their formation and changed the personnel, they had us on the back foot and we countered off that and as a result probably had four opportunities with one v ones, two v ones and we didn’t take any of them.
“We paid the penalty with a poorly defended corner, but probably got what we deserved with a goal from the young substitute.
“It’s always tough at Weston, it’s never easy up there and it’s good to come away with three points.”
The introduction of Rhys Cooper, Joe Temperley and Kane Treble off the bench helped to turn the tide in Olympic’s favour, and McGuinness was pleased with their contributions.
“Rhys had a positive impact with his presence, and it was good for young Kane Treble to come off and get the goal,” said McGuinness.
“Joseph Temperley out of the 20s, those two boys (Temperley and Treble) are young boys who have been with Olympic for a number of years now and they’re coming through the ranks.“They got a bit of a show this week, they’ve both played [first grade] before and they both did quite well.”
Broadmeadow Magic 0 drew Maitland Magpies 0
Sunday 27th May, 2:30 pm at Magic Park
A win was all but necessary for both sides here – the home side looking to stay top of the table, the visitors needing to reclaim their place in the top four.
In the battle of attrition which ensued, Maitland was able to dig in and prevent a rampant Magic outfit from scoring for the first time this season and pick up a valuable point away from home.
The home side had the first real chance midway through the first half when Shane Paul worked hard to create a chance for Kale Bradbury, but the competition’s equal-leading goal scorer’s shot took a deflection on its way to goal and went for a corner.
Magic lost Takumi Sunada to injury, who went off in the 29th minute after a heavy challenge from Chris Fayers which earned him a yellow card.
Both sides went at one another with neither able to find a real opening, with a Ryan Clarke shot in the 73rd minute flashing wide. Maitland’s Grant Brown had a chance at the front post flash over the crossbar two minutes later.
It was a heart in mouth stuff for Maitland in the 79th minute, as the final 15 minutes blew this match wide open. An under-hit back-pass was pounced on by Kale Bradbury, and Magpies’ keeper Matt Trott had the come 30 yards and slide in superbly to clear the danger.
Returning to the Broadmeadow side off the bench on Sunday, Mitch Oxborrow nearly stole the headlines in the 84th minute with a shot from outside the area which dipped just over the crossbar.
The golden, and perhaps the only clear-cut chance of the afternoon came in the 91st minute when Matt Thompson set Ryan Clarke off. Clarke, who had managed to stay onside, was one-on-one with Paul Bitz but hit his shot straight at the Magic keeper.
John Majurovski was inches off getting his head to a deep cross to the back post, but he wasn’t able to connect. Magic and Maitland shared the points for just the second time in league history.
Magic coach Ruben Zadkovich called it a ‘good game’ despite the scoreless stalemate.
“I thought it was a good game all around from both teams, it was physical and the boys from both sides were ripping in,” said Zadkovich.
“Tactically it was an interesting game, we had most of the ball and most of the play and Maitland set up to counter-attack and be patient; they have quality up front.
“The game went to plan, at the end of the day a draw was probably a fair result… They had the best chance of the game there at the end with (Ryan) Clarkey, but we probably had the better of the play for most of it.
“[Magpies coach Michael] Bolchy is a guy that I have a lot of time for, he knows how to set his teams up hard to beat and he has some quality players as well so I’m happy to have got through with the clean sheet.”
It’s the first time Magic hasn’t scored in the league this season, and Zadkovich wasn’t pleased with the way his attacking players performed.
“I was a little bit disappointed that we didn’t get something at the front end, to be honest, our front five or six were pretty poor,” said Zadkovich.
“It’s a pretty good sign if you can have a nil-all draw but have five or six boys who aren’t playing very well, but it’s not a concern because we have the best attack in the league so we’re certainly not worried.
“Maitland’s back four and two sixes, they [the sixes] screened the back four really well and there wasn’t much space, they protected the space in behind so the credit belongs their back four as well.”