NPL Northern NSW Round 14 Review
Match of the Round
Edgeworth Eagles 0 drew Broadmeadow Magic 0
Sunday June 24, 2:30 pm at Jack McLaughlan Oval
First met second on Sunday, and the chance was there for either side to take control of the competition, go to first place and put some distance between the other.
Ultimately, the two best defences in the competition cancelled one another out as they played what was anything but a bore draw.
Edgeworth forward Dylan Holz was the victim of a high foot in the 12th minute and returned to the field six minutes later with a thick bandage wrapped around his head.
Aaron Oppedisano had the match’s first real chance for Edgeworth in the 19th minute, but Justin Broadley slid in and did enough to clear the danger.
Pat Wheeler almost put his side ahead in first half stoppage time, after a free kick floated over by Adam Cawley somehow didn’t hit Wheeler’s head.
Edgeworth had a golden opportunity shortly after half-time when Jamie Byrnes seized on a scuffed back-pass from Magic captain Josh Piddington. Byrnes couldn’t capitalise and sent it past the post.
Substitute Bailey Garland had a good chance in the 79th minute, after a ball in hitting him on the shoulder and he couldn’t get the direction.
Magic had a good double chance in the 81st minute – a John Majurovski header forced a diving save from Josh Low, and the resulting corner saw only another Low save to deny Luke Virgili from outside the area.
Kale Bradbury went close with a diving header which evaded him by inches in the 88th minute, but ultimately he nor Magic were able to find a way through despite going hard at Edgeworth in the final ten minutes.
Edgeworth coach Damien Zane didn’t think there was much in it.
“There wasn’t a great deal of chances, two teams with a lot to play for that often happens,” said Zane.
“I thought we defended very well, we have a new combination up the front and had to try a few things we possibly wouldn’t have so in the end we came away pretty happy.”
It was a chance for Edgeworth to go two points clear with a win and have a game in hand to boot. It’s one they missed, but Zane wasn’t overly disappointed.
“I said to the boys, I think 36 points will get us to the semis so that’s the first target.
“At the start of the year, I don’t think people thought we’d make the top four… it’s quite easy to start thinking about coming first, but it’s quite easy to lose two or three on the trot in this competition so we’ve just got to concentrate game by game.“Four or five weeks out, if we’re safely in the semis then we can possibly think about premierships. Was it a chance to jump ahead? It was, so I guess it was a dropped chance.
“I think we had the best chance of the game ten minutes into the second half, if we take the lead there then I daresay we take the three points. That’s disappointing, but if you’d offered me a draw before the game I would’ve taken it.”
Electric attacker Dylan Holz of course copped a heavy head knock. Zane was bursting with pride for the way Holz carried on.
“For him to go back out there and play pretty much the whole game, it happened fairly early. It was an accident and these things happen, but he showed a lot of courage and you can see why he’s one of the first players I re-sign each year.
“He’s a leader in his actions, the young boys follow his lead and he is fearless. What he did yesterday was just on another level, I’m proud of him. Putting the team first like that, even ahead of his well-being was pretty special.”
Weston Bears 0 drew Lambton Jaffas 0
Saturday June 23, 2:30 pm at Rockwell Automation Park
Off the back of the ‘worst performance in 30 years of coaching’ that Weston coach Steve Piggott had seen, they needed a huge lift against a quality Lambton side.
They did just that, and if not for a saved penalty at the back end of the second half Weston could have snatched all three points.
Ben Hay forced a good save out of Kane Runge, after one of his trademark long efforts in the 7th minute of play. It was a fairly stop-start first half, as both sides tried to wrestle control of the match.
Nathan Morris sent Lambton keeper Brad Swancott scrambling on the hour mark with a tricky free kick from the deep, and in the 76thminute, Morris had a chance from the spot.
It came after a foul on Jake Barner inside the area, and the ever-steady Morris stepped up to take the penalty against his former teammate in Brad Swancott.
Morris went to his left and Swancott dove to his right, making the save and in turn saving a point for Lambton in a match where a draw was probably a fair result.
Adamstown Rosebud 2 (Higgins PEN 45’, Turnbull 61′) drew Maitland Magpies 2 (Comerford 4’, 21’)
Sunday June 24, 2:30 pm at Adamstown Oval
While most of the attention was directed to the top of the table clash at Jack McLaughlan Oval, this one turned out to be one of the most dramatic clashes in recent history.
Adamstown clawed their way back from two down and ended with ten men, against a Maitland side who scored early in the first half and finished with nine players.
A fantastic diving header from Matt Comerford opened the scoring in just the fourth minute of play and put the visitors ahead.
Comerford scored again in the 21st minute, coming in onto his right foot and firing a shot home – doubling his side’s advantage, a good early buffer.
Adamstown had a way back into the match in the 44th minute when a penalty was awarded after Chris Berlin was brought down inside the area.
Ben Higgins had his first attempt saved by Matt Trott but was allowed to retake the penalty after Trott was ruled to have come off his line. Higgins went the other way and buried it to halve the deficit on the stroke of half-time.
15 minutes after half-time, Adamstown had another opportunity from 12 yards out when Zane Winslade was brought down inside the area. This time it was Robbie Turnbull, and he made no mistake on the first attempt.
Things got worse for Maitland in the 71st minute of play, when Chris Fayers was sent off for an off-the-ball incident just minutes after he’d been substituted on.
There’d be yet another twist in this one after a heavy tackle in the Adamstown half saw a bit of a scuffle emerge.
Ryan Clarke was shown his second yellow card of the match and sent from the park, and then what looked a bizarre decision Adamstown keeper Benn Kelly was sent from the park after what looked like an attempt at peace-making was adjudged violent conduct.
Substitute goalkeeper Dominic Fox come up with a huge double-save at the death, and in the end, the remaining nineteen players on the pitch had to settle for a share of the points.
Rosebud coach Shane Cansdell-Sherriff said there was ‘one particular area’ they failed to deal with in the opening exchanges.
“I think there was one particular area or person we failed to deal with,” said Cansdell-Sherriff.
“We talked about how to deal with him and we didn’t, so we found ourselves two goals down quite early on. We got back in the game, started playing football and started frustrating them.
“Got ourselves back into the game at 2-2, and it could have gone either way at the end. Our keeper made some great saves on the day, probably worked the most out of the two ‘keepers, and certainly earned his money yesterday.
“Even with the sending-offs, Maitland still pushed hard for the win. It was hard for us, they had a lot of experience so even with a player down you can’t switch off or think automatically the game is done.”
One incident towards the back end of the match saw both Clarke and Kelly sent off for their involvements in a bit of a scrap, a decision which Cansdell-Sheriff said ‘frustrated’ Kelly.
“He was frustrated, he’s played with Clarkey before and knows Clarkey well so he just jumped in to pull him out of it,” said Cansdell-Sheriff.
“Obviously the hand goes around the head to pull him back, but there was no reaction from Clarkey. Benn grabbed hold of him and patted his chest and said settle, settle.
“Benn was there to break things up, he’s not a violent man in general. I don’t think it deserved to be sent off, but it’s fair enough, referee and the linesmen see what they see at the time.”
Fresh off 90 minutes in the under 20s, Dominic Fox was called upon to play in goals for the remaining fifteen minutes after Kelly was sent off.
“Dom did well, to come in cold and get out there under such pressure in such a big game, to get out there and pull off a couple of good saves is very good,” said Cansdell-Sherriff.
Charlestown City Blues 0 def. by Lake Macquarie City 3 (Walker 21’, 76’, Sichalwe 82’)
Sunday June 24, 2:30 pm at Lisle Carr Oval
A huge morale-boosting win over Weston last weekend and a signing of a new contract for coach Nick Webb would have those out at the Lake quietly confident of a good performance on Sunday.
Three goals and a stunning performance were just what they needed – and definitely not in the script for a Charlestown side which failed to regain ground on the top four.
A brilliant Sam Walker header in the 21st minute of play opened the scoring, a Harry Lane cross found his head and it was helped in by the underside of the crossbar.
A fantastic save from Stuart Plant and the crossbar denied Charlestown from getting back into the match in the 33rd minute, and Mitchell Hunter could have had one for Lakes if not for a good Danny Ireland save up the other end in the 51st minute.
Only the post denied Paul Sichalwe in the 53rd minute, and Mitch Hunter hit the side netting in the 58th minute in a match which Lakes were taking control of but as they had done so often this season, failed to take advantage.
They did, however, take advantage in the 76th minute. A nice run from Morgan Okeno and turn on the ball put it on a platter for Sam Walker, who finished superbly and put Lakes ahead 2-0.
Lakes saved the best until last though, and it was Paul Sichalwe at the back post who popped up to do the damage. A superb volley thundered into the top of the net and locked down the three points for Lakes who have shot up closer to the pack in the past two weeks.
Valentine v Hamilton was washed out.