Match of the Round
Maitland FC 4-0 Edgeworth FC
Maitland stretched their incredible winning streak to 10 games on Saturday when they proved to be too strong for Edgeworth to secure a 4-0 victory.
The hosts went into half-time with a one-goal and one-man advantage after Braedyn Crowley opened the scoring in the 19th minute and Edgeworth goalkeeper Shayne Van As was sent off.
Crowly made a brilliant run into the box in behind the Eagles’ defence and headed home a superb Rhys Cooper chipped cross.
Van As was sent off on the stroke of half-time after he used his hand to stop a goal-bound Crowley volley outside of his 18-yard box.
The Magpies used the extra man to their advantage in the second stanza as they piled on three more goals and maintained a clean sheet in the process.
Crowley doubled the home side’s lead just 28 seconds after half-time, following some brilliant build-up play by substitute Tyrell Paulson, who slipped Crowley in behind in the box, and then the striker fired a shot across the Eagles’ keeper Jordan Velovski and into the bottom left corner.
James Thompson made it 3-0 with the goal of the game in the 56th minute. Thompson won the ball with a brilliant tackle deep in his own half and playing a one-two with Sean Pratt, before charging up-field and running onto a Crowley pass in behind and picking out the bottom left corner with a one-on-one strike to celebrate his 100th start at Maitland in style.
The Magpies netted their fourth goal in the 85th minute when Cooper completed a brilliant team play that saw the hosts hound Edgeworth to win the ball in the midfield before patiently controlling possession and striking at the perfect time.
Edgeworth thought they had pulled one back seconds before injury time when Sascha Montefiore headed the ball into the back of the net, but it was ruled out due to a foul in the build-up.
The score finished 4-0 to the Magpies and their coach Mick Bolch was quite impressed with the way they dominated the second half.
“The first half wasn’t our best. We couldn’t keep the ball,” Bolch said.
“In the second half, I thought that we were really good and we controlled the match. We moved them around a bit with their 10 men and created a couple of good opportunities.
“We were playing into the wind and we kept the ball on the deck and moved it around quick. They were really good goals with good player movement and good ball movement.
“Everyone is on a role at the moment. We’re playing some decent football. Our pressing and winning the ball has been big. We’re pressing all over the park and working together as a unit and we’re well-organised at the moment. It’s good to watch.”
Edgeworth’s coach Peter McGuinness thought that his side were right in the game up until they went down to 10 men, and conceded that Maitland were simply too good in the second half.
“I thought we were in the game and doing ok, particularly in the first half,” McGuinness said.
“I thought we were nullifying a lot of their stuff. They were still very dangerous though. They’re a dangerous team with their front three.
“We had a good chance just before the send-off and we were getting ready to go into half-time to address the positives and a few things we could do to give us that little kick.
“But we went down to 10, and that made it difficult for us. We had to rearrange our shape and we were very defensive-orientated from there. It was always going to be hard at their ground against the highest-scoring team in the comp. We still held the ball a bit in the second half, but only had a few glimpses at goal. We didn’t really get enough numbers forward with playing a man down.”
Maitland’s victory sees them remain two points behind league-leaders Charlestown Azzurri with three rounds to go. The Magpies play against Cooks Hill United away from home at Fearnley Dawes Athletics Field this Saturday.
Edgeworth are now two points outside the of the finals race. Edgeworth will look to rebound from their loss this Sunday when they welcome Valentine to Jack McLaughlan Oval.
Charlestown Azzurri FC 2-1 Newcastle Olympic FC
Charlestown Azzurri continued their run at the top of the table with a 2-1 victory against Newcastle Olympic on home soil at Lisle Carr Oval on Saturday.
The home side capitalised on two Olympic defensive errors either side of half-time to establish a 2-0 lead.
Azzuri’s Regan Lundy pounced on an underhit back pass and scored a one-on-one strike past Olympic’s goalkeeper Isaac Quinn in the 16th minute, and Kyle Munns did the same in the 78th.
Azzurri had a perfect chance to extend their lead midway through the first half but Miguel Angel Fernandez Herrera skied a penalty over the crossbar.
The three points looked secure for Charlestown when Munns eventually did make the score 2-0 late in the game, but Olympic hit back in the 87th minute as Archie Finn found the bottom left corner with a volleyed shot to set up a grandstand finish.
Azzurri were able to hold onto the win and earn a crucial three points. Their 13th victory of the season sees them remain two points clear of Maitland at the top of the table.
Charlestown will travel to face third-place Lambton Jaffas this Saturday at Arthur Edden Oval.
Olympic’s fourth loss in five games has all but ended their finals hopes as they are now six points behind fifth-placed Weston with just three rounds remaining. They will host New Lambton at Darling Street Oval this Saturday.
Lake Macquarie City FC 1-6 Broadmeadow Magic FC
Broadmeadow Magic put Lake Macquarie City to the sword on Saturday when they secured a dominant 6-1 win away from home at Macquarie Field.
Magic took a slim 2-1 lead into the half-time break but overpowered the side at the bottom of the ladder in the second stanza as they piled on four more goals, three of which were scored after the hosts had a player sent off.
The Broadmeadow men opened the scoring in the eighth minute as Bailey Wells netted first following a sharp play that saw his side go from box to box in 15 seconds.
A superb Sam Donnellan pass released Riley Smith who charged into the penalty area and fired a shot that Lake Macquarie goalkeeper Isaac Nyman parried into the path of Wells, who made no mistake with the follow-up strike.
Donnellan got himself on the scoresheet in the 14th minute when he drove the ball home from close range after Jayden Stewardson had intercepted a back-pass and backheeled a crafty pass into his teammate’s path.
But it was the hosts that struck next as Josh Maguire scored from the penalty box after Magic goalkeeper Cesar Serpa took down Shukurani Sunzu in the box.
Magic extended their lead four-and-a-half minutes into the second half when Riley Smith blasted the ball into the back of the net.
Lakes went down to 10 men in the 73rd minute when Riley Tydd received his second yellow card.
Magic made the hosts pay immediately when Donnellan flicked a Josh Benson shot into the back of the net.
The scored became 5-1 in the 83rd minute when James Cresnar found the bottom left corner with a powerful strike from outside the 18-yard box,
Smith put the cherry on top for Magic in injury time when he slotted a spot kick into the bottom right corner.
Magic’s 6-1 win sees them move three points clear of fifth-placed Weston Bears. They host Adamstown at Magic Park this Sunday.
Lake Macquarie are last on the table and will go in search of their second win of the season on Sunday when they travel to Rockwell Automation Park to challenge Weston.
Weston Workers FC 2-2 Adamstown Rosebud FC
Weston and Adamstown were forced to share the points after contesting a 2-2 draw at Rockwell Automation Park on Saturday.
The Bears opened the scoring in the 19th minute when Aaron Niyonkuru ran onto a lofted Connor Evans past just outside the 18-yard box and went beat two defenders before guiding a shot past the outstretch glove of Adamstown’s Nick Hartnett.
But Adamstown fought back and took a 2-1 lead into the break after Dino Fajkovic twice found space in the 18-yard box and made no mistake with his strikes in the 37th minute and again in injury time.
The Rosebuds almost extended their lead in the 54th minute, but a curling Ryan Rooke corner kick cannoned away off the crossbar.
Weston hit back in the 68th minute when Niyonkuru whipped in a perfect cross from the left edge and Ben Clouten charged onto it and headed it home from close range at the front stick.
Both sides pushed hard for a winner during the final 20 minutes of the match but neither was able to find one.
The result sees Weston remain in fifth place and move two points clear of the Edgeworth Eagles.
The Bears fall three points behind Magic but can still finish fourth or higher, and a win against Lake Macquarie City when they return to Rockwell Automation Park this Sunday would go a long way towards achieving that.
Adamstown are still 10th and will challenge Broadmeadow Magic at Magic Park on Sunday.
Cooks Hill United FC 4-3 New Lambton FC
Cooks Hill United keep on finding ways to win, defeating New Lambton 4-3 in a come-from-behind victory at the Fearnley Dawes Athletics Field on Saturday.
The home side was behind 3-1 with 11 minutes left to play against the Eagles before they equalised with four minutes remaining in regulation time and then found a winner in injury time to secure their fourth win in as many games.
Cooks Hill came out full of intent and struck the crossbar twice by the sixth minute of the contest, but it was New Lambton who opened the scoring.
Ethan Crotty slotted a one-one-one strike past Cooks Hill goalkeeper Daniel Eisenhauer in the 11th minute after charging onto a Riley Taylor through ball in behind the home side’s defence.
The score was 1-1 just four minutes later when Carter Smith netted a classy half-volley from outside the 18-yard box to beat an approaching Alexander Bozinovski who was unable to get a hand to the ball.
The score was still locked at half-time despite the visitors striking the crossbar four minutes before the break.
But Crotty put Valentine ahead again in the 55th minute when he headed home a brilliant Dominic Smith cross from the right edge at the back stick.
Kent Harrison made it 3-1 in the 70th minute when he got onto a Taylor cross from the same area at the front stick and drove the ball into the back of the net.
Cooks Hill pulled one back in the 79th minute when Joel Clissold curled a strike from the edge of the 18-yard box just inside the left post.
Matthew Berrigan headed home a brilliant Campbell Ross cross from the right sideline to level the score up at 3-all in the 86th minute.
Cooks Hill snatched the game from New Lambton in the 90th minute when Clissold whipped in a free kick from the left edge for Smith to head the ball home.
Coach Chris Zoricich said that his players surprised him with their brilliant comeback.
“It was unbelievable the way we won it,” Zoricich said.
“I’ve got to be honest, when we were 3-1 down, I didn’t see us getting the result that we did.”
“Credit to the boys. They just dug in and ground out the result. The way they did it was fantastic.”
Cooks Hill are eighth following the victory but are now just two points behind seventh-placed Newcastle Olympic with a game in hand.
Their winning streak of four games will be tested this Saturday when they host the flying Maitland Magpies at Fearnley Dawes Athletics Field.
New Lambton remains in 11th spot and are away at Darling Street Oval against Newcastle Olympic this Saturday.
Valentine FC 1-2 Lambton Jaffas FC
Valentine were hoping to farewell their 2023 home base at Glendale’s Hunter Sports Stadium in style on Saturday night but it was Lambton that got the job done with a 2-1 victory.
In their final home fixture of the season, Valentine went ahead 1-0 in the 24th minute when centre-back Carl Thornton made an incisive run down the right edge and fired a powerful strike across Jaffas goalkeeper Ben Kennedy and into the bottom left corner.
Valentine took that lead into half-time but the Jaffas levelled the score to 1-1 in the 58th minute. Samuel Webb curled a splendid cross from the left sideline to the back stick where Kale Bradbery headed the ball past Valentine goalkeeper Brodie Volkiene.
Jaffas coach David Tanchevski made a double substitution in the 62nd minute when he introduced both Sakeel Balfour Brown and Bailey Newton, who combined for the match-winner in the 83rd minute.
Balfour Brown charged past a defender and into the box and then fired a shot that was saved by Volkiene but rebounded to Newton, who made no mistake with the follow-up strike.
Valentine were unable to find a late equaliser as the Jaffas secured a 2-1 victory and extended their unbeaten run to seven games.
Jaffas coach thought his side took their time to get into the game but was happy with the way they controlled the second half.
“In the first half, we were pretty poor to be honest,” Tanchevski said.
“That ground out there is the worst we’ve played on all year I’d say. The surface was absolutely terrible. We took a bit of time to adapt to it, but we didn’t really play football in the first half an hour.
“I think it was a game where they out-enthused us in the first half an hour. Having said that though, I think they had one chance and they scored it.
“At half-time, we spoke about changing a few little things like being more composed on the ball and being more disciplined and patient with the ball. I thought we did that very well in the second half and we created a fair few opportunities and could have put another two or three in the back of the net. The boys came back really well.”
Jaffas can narrow the points gap between themselves and the league-leaders this Saturday when they host Charlestown in the Match of the Round at Arthur Edden Oval.
Valentine are ninth following their loss and will look to bounce back this Sunday when they travel to Jack McLaughlan Oval to challenge Edgeworth.