The Maitland Magpies showed heart, desire and a lot of spirit on a windy afternoon at Cooks Square Park to fight back from two goals down to finish level with the premiers in the first leg of their semi-final showdown.
Match of the Round
Maitland Magpies 2 (M.Thompson p 37’, Clarke 69’) drew Edgeworth Eagles 2 (McBreen 21’, Holz 31’) at Cooks Square Park, Saturday 20th August 2.30pm
Down 2-0 inside 31 minutes, the match seemed beyond the home side, but a penalty converted by Matt Thompson and a swinging cross that found its way inside the back post from Ryan Clarke were enough to pull the home side back into the contest.
Playing on a smaller pitch, as Maitland brought the sidelines couple of metres to reduce the threat of the Eagles pace, it was the visiting Eagles who started the stronger of the two sides. With the wind howling from behind them for the first half, Edgeworth controlled the field position and possession for much of the half.
They got their reward when Daniel McBreen opened the scoring on 21 minutes, as Dylan Holz found him with a pinpoint long pass on the left. McBreen ran down the left side of the box, getting on the outside of both Blake Thompson and Dean Heffernan to calmly slot his left foot shot across Maitland keeper Matt Trott and into the bottom right corner.
Just over ten minutes later Dylan Holz doubled the advantage when Ayden Brice found him with a long throw from the right side. Holz turned away from three defenders before burying his right foot shot in the left side of the net to make it 2-0.
It seemed as though it would be a long afternoon for Maitland after Holz put in the Eagles second, but it seemed that was the turning point, as Maitland found some renewed vigour led by the brilliant Matt Thompson.
Broadmeadow Magic 3 (Haynes 49, Bradbury 82’, 90+5’) defeated Hamilton Olympic 1 (Bird 36’) at Magic Park, Sunday 21st August 2.30pm
Broadmeadow Magic ended Hamilton Olympic’s unbeaten run in the PlayStation 4 NPL Northern NSW and ended their own lean run against their rivals with a 3-1 win on Sunday afternoon.
In a dramatic afternoon of entertainment, Broadmeadow coach Rob Virgili was sent from the pitch for dissent to the officials, as he watched his side roar back into the contest in the second half. It was the first time Hamilton have lost in the NPL competition this season and was Magic’s first win over their rivals since 2013.
It was the visitors though that opened the scoring through Daniel Bird, in what was a carbon copy of the goal he scored three weeks ago against the same opposition and at the same ground. Kane Goodchild stepped past defenders and found Bird on the left who rolled his shot across Nick Hartnett in the Magic goals to give Olympic a much-deserved lead.
The turning point in the match came right on the stroke of half-time when Rhys Cooper found an unmarked Andrew Swan down the left side of the box following a break. Swan had all the time in the world and smacked his left foot shot across Hartnett, but racing onto the line to clear the ball was Luke Virgili, as he stopped Magic going into the sheds down 2-0.
With Magic coach Rob Virgili and Bobby Naumov inspiring their side with a stinging half-time spiel, the home side came out a totally different unit in the second half. Within five minutes they were back level, as Peter Haynes headed home a centimetre-perfect Matt Hoole corner.
Then in the 66th minute, Rob Virgili was sent from the bench following a disputed call with the assistant referee over an offside given against James Virgili. Broadmeadow continued to apply pressure to Olympic in the second half until they finally cracked.
Magic got their reward eight minutes from time when Kale Bradbury broke down the left side after a long ball from Luke Virgili down the left edge. Bradbury came to Tom Pullin and rolled his shot across him and into the right corner.
Magic’s third was a dagger to the heart for Olympic, five minutes into stoppage time, as on the break James Virgili crossed from the right side to Kale Bradbury at the back post who tapped in for a 3-1 lead, as Magic Park erupted.
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