NPL Northern NSW Semi Finals 1st Leg Review
Lambton Jaffas 1 (Crowley 16’) drew Edgeworth Eagles 1 (Rose 31’)
Saturday 25th August, 2:30pm at Arthur Edden Oval
It was tight, it was end-to-end, and it was familiar to most games played out between these two sides in the past twelve months.
As the heavens opened up and Newcastle experienced some of it’s first rain in what seemed an eternity, Lambton and Edgeworth cancelled out one another with the visitors taking away a slim advantage.
The scoring got off to a start in just sixteen minutes at Arthur Edden Oval, after a Luke Remington ball from the left-hand side was helped on by Ryan Griffiths. It found Braedyn Crowley on the right-hand side, and despite a stumble on his way into goal he hit a delightful shot underneath Josh Low to open the scoring.
Luke Remington nearly had a goal of his own shortly after, with Ryan Griffiths again at the heart of things. The rain began to pour shortly after, and a goal was soon to follow.
The beginnings of the chance were carved out by Edgeworth fullback Josh Rose, as he received the ball deep in Lambton’s half and began trying to pummel his way through enemy lines.
He lost it, but the ball was recovered by Adam Cawley and a one-two with Jose Attayde saw the ball whipped back in. Waiting inside the eighteen-yard box was Rose, who slammed it home to level things up.
Joel Griffiths had a good chance shortly after the goal, before there was a stoppage in play when Dom Bizzarri laid prone in the middle of the park after he copped a ball at pace in the midriff. Thankfully for the Eagles, he recovered.
Lambton had the first good chance of the second-half when Luke Remington let off a powerful strike on the edge of the 18-yard-box, which went straight into the arms of a thankful Josh Low.
The visitors had a flurry of chances as the second half wore on; Dylan Holz couldn’t quite reach a header at the back post, before Bailey Garland blazed a golden chance over the bar on the hour mark.
There was a fairly strong penalty shout after Braedyn Crowley was bumped over off the ball inside the box, but the referee waved the appeal away.
Substitute Pat Brown was the unlucky source of another lengthy injury stoppage as the second half wore on, after he and Josh Evans came together on the halfway line. Things looked grim at first, but he was able to continue.
Edgeworth thought they’d found a winner in the 84th minute of play, when substitute Jamie Byrnes turned the ball in but he was ruled to be offside. Will Bower nearly had a goal from the edge of the area moments after, but ultimately both sides had to settle for a goal each.
Speaking to BarTV Sports’ Chris Turner after the draw, Lambton boss James Pascoe said his side will need to improve if they want to win next weekend.
“On the balance of play, we were pretty sharp for the first 25-30 minutes and I have no problem saying they were better for the last hour of the game,” said Pascoe.“They played the conditions a little smarter than we did, so to come away from that and still be in with a chance to progress is a sign of resilience from the boys but we absolutely need to improve next week to progress. We have a job on our hands.”
Maitland Magpies 1 (A. Swan 54’) def. by Broadmeadow Magic 3 (Majurovski 10’, Bradbury 35’, 45+1’)
Sunday 26th August, 2:30pm at Cooks Square Park
After three games without a goal and two of the main attacking Magic men still out o the starting line-up, no-one would have predicted the opening 45 minutes of this match.
Especially not Maitland, who having conceded just two goals in their last seven outings, were blown away by a ruthless Broadmeadow on Sunday afternoon.
They started their rampant first half in the tenth minute of play, after a Matt Hoole corner broke down and the ball found its way out to Kale Bradbury.
He curled it back into an unmarked John Majurovski on the edge of the six-yard box, who turned it home past Matt Trott – something he couldn’t do on the same pitch last weekend.
Dino Fajkovic nearly got a toe in just shy of the twenty-minute mark which would have doubled Magic’s lead, before John Majurovski had a golden opportunity as well.
The chance came about when a mix-up between Maitland defender Grant Brown and goalkeeper Matt Trott saw the ball fall to Majurovski, in behind the defence and with no-one in goals. Taking a touch to open up the angle, it gave Zac Thomas enough time to get back in and between the ball and the goal.
Magic had a big shout for a penalty in the 26th minute after Shane Paul and Zac Thomas came together inside the penalty area, but it was waved away by the referee.
The advantage finally doubled in the 35th minute, when a Paul Bitz free-kick from inside the Magic half was met by the heads of Majurovski and Fajkovic, eventually finding it’s way to Kale Bradbury. With space to run onto the ball, Bradbury did just that and took the strike on first time. Slotting it past Matt Trott, he scored his first goal since August 7th and gave Magic a two-goal lead.
If Bradbury’s first goal was an important one, his second on the stroke of half-time will go down as one of the goal’s of the season.
After being picked up by Shane Paul in the middle of the park, he lost it but was able to regather possession after a poor Matt Thompson pass. Weaving his way through defenders inside the penalty area, Paul laid the ball off for Johh Majurovski.
With his back to goal, Majurovski in turn laid it off to Kale Bradbury. He, again, took his shot on first time and fired home an absolute rocket which put Magic three goals to the good at half-time.
Maitland needed a reaction after half-time, and they got just that. A Matt Thompson free-kick floated into the danger area, and it looked like Andrew Swan made contact giving his delighted Magpies outfit had one back.
A double change with just over fifteen minutes ago was a ploy from Maitland coach Michael Bolch to change things up, but it was Magic who almost had another goal moments after when John Majurovski sent one just over the crossbar.
One of those Maitland substitutes, Justin Micallef, was looking to affect this match and a nice shot in the 78th minute announced his arrival. A former Maitland boy, Justin Broadley, went so close to scoring at the back post at the other end but his header was just wide.
It was Maitland who had the best of the chances in the final ten minutes. Alex Read had a header of his own at the back post flash agonisingly wide, and Ryan Clarke went just inches from nestling a shot in the top corner. It hit the crossbar, bouncing agonisingly over the top, and Broadmeadow took away a two-goal advantage.
Maitland coach Michael Bolch believed a poor first half opened the door for Broadmeadow.
“We didn’t turn up first half, they were just better than us in every facet of the game,” said Bolch.
“They wanted the ball more, we didn’t win any second-phase balls and they dominated us first half. I thought, defensively we weren’t on the game. Their first two goals came from poor defensive reads at set-pieces.
“We re-grouped second half and changed shape at half-time, we asked the boys to show a little bit of character and keep the tie alive for next week. There’s a mountain to climb, you can’t not turn up for the first 45 minutes in the semi-finals.
Thankfully for the Magpies, there are no real injury concerns after Sunday’s match. Matt Thompson and Andrew Swan came off in the second half with knocks, but they won’t be serious enough to prevent the pair from playing next weekend.
Magic coach Ruben Zadkovich told BarTV Sports’ Chris Turner after the win that he’d asked his side to replicate their first-half performance against Bentleigh Greens.
“I thought the boys were really good, the Bentleigh game was like a really good training session for us and that’s what I told the boys,” said Zadkovich.
“We wanted to win that game, and we were fantastic for 45 minutes… I said to the boys, that type of performance in the first half [against Bentleigh] is definitely good enough to beat Maitland and we were looking to try and replicate that first half. The boys were fantastic and did it.
“We had to rest a few boys for the Bentleigh game so that they were backing up into this game, it was a tricky period but all credit to the boys. I was really proud of my senior boys today…the experience they have and their attitudes to back up from a tough game, mentally and physically.”