NPL Northern NSW Round 13 Review
Match of the Round
Lake Macquarie City 2 (Okeno 16’, Hunter 73’) def. Weston Bears 1 (Marcus 66’)
Saturday 16th June, 2:30 pm at Macquarie Field
Finally, a win for Lake Macquarie. The much-needed three points came in a game which was pivotal for their hopes of potentially climbing the ladder – a performance worthy of more than two goals.
They should have been down inside the opening three minutes though, but Weston’s Tega Marcus couldn’t convert what looked to be a simple finish from inside the area.
Lakes made them pay in the 16th minute when Morgan Okeno challenged Jordan Jackson for a cross which went into the box. He got a foot in, and it looped over Kane Runge and into the back of the net.
Okeno nearly had a second from a header at the back post but it hit the upright, and Cal Bower nearly equalised up the other end for Weston but his header hit the crossbar.
Lakes had chance after chance, including a double chance on the half-hour mark which should have produced a goal – only desperate Weston defending saved them.
Sam Walker could have scored in the 57th minute but Jordan Jackson was on hand for the block again.
Weston did equalise against the run of play in the 66th minute when a ball over from Chris Hurley was met by the head of Tega Marcus.
It’d prove fruitless though, as Mitch Hunter scored a header of his own up the other end in the 73rd minute to lock down the points for Lakes. A deserved win, however not as comfortable as perhaps it should have been.
Lakes coach Nick Webb thought his side deserved the win.
“I thought we created a lot more chances than what they did,” said Webb.
“They had a few clear chances and we had numerous, at different times we stood up where we needed to and got the result.”
Numerous chances were exactly that, but time after time Lakes wasn’t able to capitalise – something that clearly frustrated Webb, despite the good performance.
“Unfortunately it’s a regular occurrence so we’re sort of used to it, but it doesn’t make it any easier.
“Every game we’re missing clear chances, just this week it was lucky that Stuey Plant pulled off a couple of really good saves when we needed them and we got the goals we needed to win the game.
“I thought Campbell Ross in the middle of the park was unbelievable, the amount of times he was able to break down their play.
“Mitchell Hunter was excellent in a defensive role, he man-marked [Nathan] Morris in the first half after about 10 minutes, we made a structural change and he went into a man-on-man mark with Morris and I thought that worked extremely well.
“There were plenty of people who did really well, Tommy Sparre was great, there wasn’t really a bad player on the pitch, to be honest with you.”
After their first league win since Round 5, Webb gathered the squad at the foot of the Macquarie Field pitch to have a chat after full time.
“I just told them all the hard work we’ve been doing and the luck that we haven’t had could have turned around this week.
“But it’s up to us to make our own luck and we saw that on Saturday, that we have to create our own luck and that’s peppering the goal, making the opportunities ours and not waiting for something to happen.
“We have been in every game rather than a couple this year, to be sitting where we were isn’t a reflection, I think, of where we are as a team.”
Lambton Jaffas 1 drew Broadmeadow Magic 1 (Virgili 29’)
Saturday 16th June, 2:30 pm at Arthur Edden Oval
A win for either side would have had a massive impact on their seasons as the league approaches the pointy end, but both had to settle for a share of the points on Saturday.
James Virgili opened the scoring for Magic in the 29th minute after seizing on a mixup at the back. Cody Carroll’s through ball was lifted high thanks to a bobble on the pitch, and Luke Remington’s defensive header back to Brad Swancott didn’t have enough power.
Virgili pounced, going around Swancott and finishing inside the near post to put the visitors ahead.
Jaffas had a few chances to equalise before the break, but the likes of Braedyn Crowley and Joel Griffiths weren’t able to connect as true as they’d have liked.
Tom Waller sent a chance just over the bar not long after the break and Pat Brown had a half-chance in the 61st minute as things started to open up a little more for Lambton.
A fantastic ball over the top in the 72nd minute fell nicely to Pat Brown, who made good of his chance inside the area and slammed home to bring Lambton level.
Cody Carroll forced a fantastic save from Brad Swancott after one of his trademark free kicks in the 89th minute, but neither Magic nor Lambton was able to find that second goal to pinch a win and they settled for a share of the points.
Hamilton Olympic 4 (Hornery 66’, 69’, Pettit PEN 84’, Cooper 90+3’) def. Adamstown Rosebud 1 (Vallone 59’)
Sunday 17th June, 2:30 pm at Darling Street Oval
It was a tight tussle for nearly 70 minutes, but substitutions breathed life into this one, a red card opened it up, and Hamilton did enough to surge their up way the ladder.
A fantastic double save from Benn Kelly in the 12th minute of play kept Hamilton out and frustrated Rhys Cooper who must have thought he’d scored.
Finley Beasley had a chance thrust upon him in the 28th minute after a miscommunication at the back meant a ball in fell perfectly on his head, but he wasn’t ready for the chance and his header went over the bar.
Beasley had another chance shortly after half-time but wasn’t able to make it count, before Luke Vallone put Adamstown ahead courtesy of a nice ball over the top, in spite of the wind, from Matt Sokulsky.
Off the bench and keen to make an impact, Scott Pettit did just that in the 66th minute. His shot was fired in at Benn Kelly who got in front but could only parry, and Jed Hornery was on hand to finish from close range.
Hornery doubled his tally just minutes later. He was the benefactor of a magnificent ball in behind from Rhys Cooper and finished past Benn Kelly to put Hamilton ahead.
With the game drawing closer to an end, Hamilton was awarded a penalty after Luke Rutledge was adjudged to have handballed inside the area. Rutledge wasn’t happy with the decision and let referee James Cleal know, and earned a yellow card for his protests.
Scott Pettit stepped up and finished the penalty to seal all three points and in the aftermath, Rutledge seemed to say something more to the referee and was sent off for his protests. Adamstown was now two goals, and a man, down.
Rhys Cooper scored a special goal against the ten men in the 93rd minute to put his side unassailably ahead. A run starting inside his own half where he sent two defenders the wrong way and shook off another before rolling a finish past Benn Kelly and Hamilton were 4-1 winners.
Speaking to BarTV Sports after the win, Hamilton midfielder Jacob Bailey praised the way Adamstown pushed them to the limit.
“They’re a physical side and can make themselves a bit of a nuisance to us,” said Bailey.
“They’re a hard team to break down, it took us right until the very end to get on top so a good win today, really good win.
“You can never write Adamstown off, we just had to take our chances in the end and 4-1, I don’t think it’s a true reflection of the game but we’ll take it.
“There are always things we need to work on, we’ll take that (three at the back) away, only three at the back is something we’ve tinkered with at training so we’re going to work on it and we’ll be back stronger next week.”
It’s been a tough road back for Bailey, who missed much of the early parts of the season through injury.
“It did take a good ten weeks to get things rolling again with my knee and build some confidence, so I’m happy to be back and happy to be helping the side,” said Bailey.
Maitland Magpies 5 (Comerford 6’, 17’, 30’, Milicevic OG 58’, Clarke 90’) def. Charlestown City Blues 1 (Smith 45’)
Sunday 17th June, 2:30 pm at Cooks Square Park
It was the ‘Matt Comerford Show’ up at Windy Hill on Sunday, as conditions which usually lead to poor football instead opened the floodgates for Maitland as they charged back into the top four.
Comerford got his first of the afternoon in the just 6th minute, firing a trademark left-footed finish across Danny Ireland to open the scoring.
The second was on his right foot 11 minutes later, the beneficiary of a loose ball at the back post which he slammed home with aplomb to double Maitland’s advantage.
There was a moment where you just couldn’t help but laugh, when not long before the half-hour mark after Maitland was awarded a penalty for a Ljubo Milicevic handball inside the penalty area.
Matt Thompson set the ball down three times to take a penalty, but such was the strength of the wind that it wouldn’t sit still for him – prompting Charlestown captain Matt Tull to step up and put a finger on the ball to keep it in place!
He was dismissed by the referee and Thompson was finally able to take his penalty – but it was saved by Danny Ireland, who has made something of a habit of saving penalties in the past week.
The end result was a corner for Maitland, and it’d prove just as deadly as the penalty. Comerford was on hand and using the wind to his advantage rifled in a corner which beat everyone and snuck in at the far post.
Charlestown made the most of a corner of their own just minutes before half-time, Scott Smith rising highest to score a goal which looked important to the Blues getting back into the match.
Comerford would turn provider in the 58th minute with a cross which slammed into the legs of Charlestown defender Ljubo Milicevic and into the back of the net to restore Maitland’s three-goal buffer.
The Blues’ job got even harder in the 74th minute when Kevin Davison was shown a second yellow card and a subsequent red for match official abuse.
Ryan Clarke completed the rout in the 90th minute with a nice finish past Danny Ireland, and Maitland pushed Charlestown out of the top four with a huge win.
Newcastle Jets Youth 2 (Tipaldo 2’, Petratos PEN 12’) drew Valentine Phoenix 2 (Wood 30’, Feighan 87’)
Sunday 17th June, 2:30 pm at CB Complex
Two goals inside the opening fifteen minutes against the side at the bottom of the ladder made this one seem as if another Jets Youth win was a foregone conclusion – but Valentine fought back and snatched a point at the death.
Cai Tipaldo opened the scoring for Jets Youth inside 90 seconds after a quick counter-attack fed him the ball up top. He beat his man and slid a nice finish past Scott Carter to go ahead 1-0.
They went ahead by two in the 12th minute, after Tipaldo was fouled by Carter inside the penalty box. Yerasimakis Petratos stepped up to take the penalty and made no mistake in burying it to double Jets’ advantage.
Joel Wood halved the deficit on the half-hour mark, with a nice run from midway inside the opposition half and a good finish inside the near post.
There were wild celebrations in the 87th minute when Jesse Feighan equalised after a nice through ball from Zac Sneddon to make the score 2-2.
Valentine continued to push on for a winner and had a number of chances, including a shout for a penalty waved away and a shot into the side-netting.
A share of the points would be it for both sides though – Jets Youth missing the chance to go within a point of the top four, while Valentine ensured they somewhat maintained the pace with the rest.
Phoenix is now two points behind Lakes but still, last on the ladder.