NPL NNSW Men's Round 20 Review

Match of the Round 
Lambton Jaffas FC 1-0 Charlestown Azzurri FC 

The premiership race took an exciting turn when the Lambton Jaffas scored a late winner to defeat Charlestown Azzurri 1-0 in the Match of the Round at Arthur Edden Oval on Saturday afternoon. 

A Scott Pettit header 40 seconds into second half injury time was the difference as Dave Tanchevski’s side earned a valuable three points in front of a home crowd. 

The Jaffas were the only top-three team to win this weekend as they beat their first-placed opponents.  

A close contest was expected when Azzurri and Lambton went head-to-head and that is exactly what the two premiership hopefuls produced. 

Pat Bond had an early chance to put the Jaffas ahead in the 10th minute when he ran onto a loose ball in the box but shot wide of the right post.  

Charlestown could have taken the lead 90 seconds later but a Rene Ferguson header from close range after the Jaffas had failed to clear a Charlestown free kick was saved by the legs of Ben Kennedy. 

Regan Lundy sliced a shot wide in the 31st minute after Miguel Herrera made a brilliant run down the left edge and cut the ball back to the striker who was unmarked in the box.  

At the other end, Charlestown defended desperately to keep Lambton out in the 37th minute as goalkeeper Nathan Archbold stood strong to deny a powerful Kale Bradbery strike from close range.  

It remained 0-0 at the half-time break, and it was Lambton who went closest to finally opening the scoring just after the hour mark when a thunderous Bailey Newton strike struck the crossbar but deflected over for a goal kick. 

Ferguson had a chance to put Charlestown ahead with five minutes to go when Jacob Melling sent a free kick into the box that found the centre-back unmarked, but his header sailed over the crossbar. 

Pettit made no mistake with his header in injury time when he was picked out by Bond who lobbed a ball into the box. The substitute headed a looping shot over a crowd of players and just inside the left post to secure the three points for the home side. 

The Jaffas’ coach was thrilled as his side scored their fifth consecutive win. He acknowledged that it was a tight contest but thought the result was a fair one. 


“It was pretty close there in the first half. I think we were both pretty cagey and no one wanted to concede the first goal. It was a defensive mindset from both teams,” Tanchevski said. 

“We had a couple of pretty good chances in that half though, and then in the second half, we turned the screw a little bit and created even more chances, and I would have been frustrated if we got a draw. 

“It would have been good to have taken a couple of the chances that we missed, but it was a close game and there was probably only a goal or so in it.  

“I was happy with the win. I think we had a professional performance, which was good. We held possession really well and the boys pressed really well. I thought we limited their space.” 

Tanchevski thought that a number of his players performed quite well, but he was especially pleased with the performance of Bond, who was dominant in the midfield and set up the winning goal. 

Despite finishing Round 20 level on 40 points alongside Maitland, Lambton remained in third spot due to for and against difference. Just ahead of them both, Azzurri continue to hang onto their lead at the top of the table by a thread.  

Both sides will have this weekend off and then Lambton will return on Saturday, August 5, with an away game against Cooks Hill United at Fearnley Dawes Athletics Field, before Charlestown hosts Broadmeadow Magic on Tuesday, August 8, at Lisle Carr Oval. 

Cooks Hill United FC 1-1 Maitland FC 

Maitland’s impressive winning streak came to an end at the Fearnley Dawes Athletics Field on Saturday when the Magpies drew 1-1 with the fast-finishing Cooks Hill United. 

Maitland were the more dominant of the two sides and went into the half-time break with a 1-0 advantage after a 13th-minute Tyran Cousins goal gave them the lead. 

But Cooks Hill’s Carter Smith equalised in the 71st minute, just one week after he scored a stoppage time winner against New Lambton at the same venue, and Maitland were unable to find another goal in the final 20 minutes to extend their winning streak to 11 games. 

Cousins threatened early in the contest when he rose highest to get onto the end of a curling Braedyn Crowley corner, but his headed shot was denied by the crossbar just 95 seconds into the match.  

But the duo linked up again in the 13th minute and this time Cousins made no mistake when he headed a crossed free kick from Crowley past Cooks Hill goalkeeper Daniel Eisenhauer from the edge of the six-yard box after being left unmarked at the back stick during the set piece. 

Maitland thought they had a second in the 26th minute when Eisenhauer produced a fine save to deny a curling James Thompson shot that was destined for the bottom right corner, but the ball rebounded to Crowley and he found the back of the net. But the striker was ruled to have been offside. 

The Magpies went close to doubling their lead again early in the second stanza when Thompson hit the post after running onto a Crowley cutback inside the 18-yard box, but the ball rebounded away as the hosts remained within striking distance. 

Cooks Hill finally found the back of the net in the 71st minute when an attempted Maitland clearance fell to Smith in the penalty area and he guided a low shot past Taylor Pate to level the score up at 1-1. 

Smith nearly put the hosts ahead two minutes later when his headed shot from a corner looked set to cross the line, but Maitland’s Alex Read pulled off a desperate clearance to keep his side in the game. 

Neither side could find a winner and the score finished 1-1. 

The draw sees Mick Bolch’s Magpies miss out on an opportunity to finish the weekend on top of the table.  

Maitland do not have a game this weekend and will next take the field on Saturday, August 5, when they host Newcastle Olympic at Cooks Square Park in Round 21. 

Cooks Hill remains eighth on the table following Saturday’s result, and their next game will be played at Adamstown Oval this Saturday when they play a rescheduled Round 13 clash against the Rosebud. 

Newcastle Olympic FC 2-1 New Lambton FC 

Newcastle Olympic celebrated old boys day in style on Saturday when they defeated New Lambton 2-1 at Darling Street Oval. 

In their last home game of the season, Olympic went behind midway through the opening half before scoring two injury time goals which came in the form of an equaliser in the first half and a winner in the second. 

New Lambton almost opened the scoring in the sixth minute when Kent Harrison hit the post with a shot from just outside the six-yard box.

But there was no denying him in the 21st minute from the penalty spot when he sent Adam Pearce the wrong way and picked out the bottom right corner after Olympic were penalised for a handball. 

Olympic’s centre-back Luke Rutledge made up for his giving away the penalty 70 seconds into injury time when he pulled down the ball from a free kick and put it on a platter for Blake Green who fired a thunderbolt of a strike through a crowd of players and past New Lambton goalkeeper Alex Bozinovski to make the score 1-1. 

New Lambton almost went back ahead in the 82nd minute when a Riley Taylor shot cannoned back out off the post and fell to Harrison in the box, but he blazed his volley over the crossbar. 

Olympic capitalised two minutes into injury time when Joey Langlois put Wil Southcombe in behind with a lofted pass and the substitute volleyed the ball from just outside the 18-yard box into the bottom right corner to make the score 2-1. 

Olympic thought they had a third when Langlois volleyed the ball into the back of the net, but it was ruled out as he was offside. The hosts were able to hold the Eagles out as they secured their ninth win of the season to keep their very slim finals hopes alive. 

Olympic remains seventh and are sixth points behind fifth-placed Weston with just two games to go. They will need to win their last two games while relying on other results to go their way if they have a shot at finals. 

New Lambton are still 11th following their loss, which is where they will finish the season.  

Broadmeadow Magic FC 3-0 Adamstown FC 

Broadmeadow Magic finished the weekend just two points from the top of the table after scoring a 3-0 win at home against Adamstown Rosebud on Sunday at Magic Park. 

John Bennis’ men came out firing as Keanu Moore scored one of the goals of the season when he smashed home a volley into the top right corner just 53 seconds into the contest after the visitors failed to clear an early Magic free kick. 

Moore showed his class again in the 25th minute when he almost set up Magic’s second, bringing down a loose ball with a superb touch to go around a defender and then curling a pass in behind the Adamstown defence into the path of Bailey Wells. 

Magic was able to score their second from a corner when Wells received the ball short and went around a defender before finding Sam Kamper at the back stick for a tap-in. 

Wells was in the thick of things all half, and he had a one-on-one shot superbly saved by Rosebud goalkeeper Nick Hartnett in the 45th minute before hitting the post with a follow-up strike. 

Magic eventually did find their third in injury time when Moore released Will Ingram with a classy volley pass for Ingram to square the ball inside to Sam Donnellan for a simple finish. 

Magic took the 3-0 lead into the break and then the wet and muddy conditions took their toll in the second stanza as neither side was able to find the back of the net. 

Bennis was happy with the result and the way his side played despite those conditions. 

“We were okay,” Bennis said. 

“The conditions were tough and it deteriorated throughout the game. It was slippery, scrappy and bumpy. 

“We came out of the blocks quickly when Keanu scored that wonderful goal, which put us on the front foot. It took us a little while after that to find our groove, but we got there eventually. 

“You have to create opportunities to score goals. I thought we created enough opportunities, and maybe in the second half we should have scored a couple more.” 

Broadmeadow remains fourth following that victory but are now within one win of table leaders Charlestown Azzurri with two games left to play.  

Magic’s next league game is against Charlestown on Tuesday, August 8, away from home at Lisle Carr Oval. But before then, their focus will be on this Saturday’s Men's State Cup Final against Edgeworth at Weston’s Rockwell Automation Park. 

Adamstown are still 10th following Sunday’s loss and next up for them is an away game against Edgeworth at Jack McLaughlan Oval on Sunday, August 6. 

Weston Workers FC 5-0 Lake Macquarie City FC 

A clinical Weston performance saw the Bears end a four-game winless run when they earned a 5-0 home victory against Lake Macquarie City at Rockwell Automation Park on Sunday. 

The home side were dominant from start to finish as they scored their first goal in the fourth minute and then netted their fifth in the 91st. 

Cooper Buswell opened the scoring with a powerful volley after intercepting a Roosters pass just outside the 18-yard box. 

The second goal came off the back of another defensive error in the 27th minute, but it was a superb effort as Yuta Konagaya intercepted a pass on halfway to charge past the Lakes defensive line and into the box before tucking a one-on-one strike past goalkeeper Isaac Nyman and into the back of the net. 

The Bears took the 2-0 lead into the break before adding a third goal 10 minutes into the second half. Aaron Niyonkuru won the ball with a brilliant tackle and then burst through two Lake Macquarie defenders before playing a brilliant pass into the oath of Ben Clouten, whose first shot was saved by Nyman before he got to the loose ball first and scored into an empty net. 

Lake Macquarie’s day went from bad to worse in the 66th minute when captain Guilherme Dos Santos was shown a read card for dissent. 

Weston capitalised on the numbers advantage when they scored their fourth goal in the 82nd minute. A Buswell cross from the right sideline deflected into the path of Liam Wilson, who headed the ball into the back of the net. 

A Konagaya wonder strike from just outside the penalty area on the 90-minute mark was denied by the post, but the hosts completed a five-star game with goal number five just 30 seconds later when Niyonkuru fired the ball past the goalkeeper and five defenders after his initial strike was saved by Nyman. 

The win saw a hungry Bears pack break a four-match winless run and remain in fifth place. They are still just two points ahead of Edgeworth with just two rounds left to play. Weston have this weekend off and then their next game is scheduled for Saturday, August 5, away from home at Alder Park against New Lambton. 

Lake Macquarie cannot finish any higher than last this season but will be hoping to finish their season on a high with two games at home. The first of those will be against Valentine on Sunday, August 6, after they have this weekend off. 

Edgeworth FC 3-0 Valentine FC 

A Josh Rose hat-trick powered Edgeworth to a dominant 3-0 victory on home soil at Jack McLaughlan Oval against Valentine on Sunday. 

Rose struck in the 19th minute and again in the 43rd to give the hosts a 2-0 lead at the half-time break, before completing his hat-trick in the 57th minute as the Eagles ran away with a comfortable win. 

Rose’s first goal was created by central midfielder Andrew Pawiak, who got himself in space and picked up the ball in the middle of the park before playing a classy through ball in behind the Valentine defence after Rose had made a brilliant run.  

The veteran attacker charged onto the ball and went past Valentine’s goalkeeper Brodie Volkiene just outside the 18-yard box and drove the ball into the back of the net past two retreating defenders. 

The former A-League champion scored his second goal of the game with a powerful volley after Tom Curran won a contest for a header and the ball fell to Rose in the box. Rose went past Liam Thornton with a classy touch and then fired his strike across the keeper and in. 

Rose’s third and final goal was a volley into the bottom right corner from the edge of the 18-yard box after he intercepted a misplaced Valentine pass high up the field. 

Coach Peter McGuinness was pleased with the way his side bounced back from a 4-0 loss against Maitland a week earlier and praised the veteran hat-trick hero as well as a couple of youngsters who stood up. 

“I thought our effort was fantastic. We played the whole game out and it was really good to get a clean sheet,” McGuinness said. 

“I thought we competed and our effort was good all over the park, when we had the ball and when we didn’t have the ball. We were competitive and we pressed really well. We forced errors, which gave us field position and created pressure, and that pressure turned into a result. 

“It was good to bounce back (from the Maitland game). 

“I thought Josh was great up top. His runs were intelligent and he got into good positions and consequently found the target three times. He’s an experienced guy who’s played a number of positions, and this week he did the job for us up top.” 

McGuinness also commended two youngsters on their performances, which included goalkeeper Ben Conway and fullback Sam Jones. 

The victory sees Edgeworth remain in the premiership hunt. They remain in sixth place and are just two points behind Weston. Their next league game is on Sunday, August 6, when they host Adamstown at Jack McLaughlan Oval in Round 21.  

Before then the Eagles, they will contest the Men's State Cup Final against Broadmeadow Magic this Saturday and Rockwell Automation Park. 

Valentine remains ninth following their loss and are four points behind Cooks Hill United. Adam Hughes’ men’s next game is away from home against Lake Macquarie on August 6.