NPL Northern NSW Round 13:Tired Hamilton rise to challenge as Adamstown see red

HAMILTON coach Peter McGuinness praised his team’s character and hoped a comeback 4-1 win over a 10-man Adamstown on Sunday was the starting point of their run at the top four in the Northern NSW NPL.

Olympic climbed to 16 points and seventh spot, four points outside the four, with the round 13 victory at Darling Street Oval.

Backing up from a midweek 2-1 loss to Broadmeadow in the FFA Cup, Hamilton were behind in the 57th minute when Luke Vallone chipped goalkeeper Tyler Warren.

Jed Hornery equalised in the 66th after Benn Kelly spilled Scott Pettit’s shot. Hornery put Olympic ahead three minutes later when he slotted home Rhys Cooper’s through ball. Pettit scored from the spot in the 84th after Luke Rutledge was penalised and yellow carded for a close-range handball off Kane Treble’s shot. Rutledge was given a second yellow, this time for dissent, after the penalty. Cooper finished a run from halfway with a goal in the 93rd minute for 4-1.

McGuinness said his tired team “looked a yard off it for most of the game” but substitutes Pettit and Treble helped turn the tide. He said Hornery, Pettit and Reece Papas played through injury and he welcomed the show of character from his squad.

“If I could have got that in bucketloads earlier in the year when we were up against it, we wouldn’t be out of the four, but we are and we’re looking to get in it,” McGuinness said. 

“That’s a starting point.”

Adamstown coach Shane Cansdell-Sherriff rued referring calls and missed chances from his side, who dropped to eighth on 14 points. He said inconsistent calls from officials were “wrecking and changing games”.

“Talking back to the ref, he’s got to accept what he got for that,” he said of Rutledge’s send-off. “But I don’t accept the yellow card for the handball. The decision-making from some of the officials this season has been absolutely horrendous.

“They want us to respect them and treat them the right way, then they’ve got to start performing at the level, because it’s affecting games, it’s affecting players.

“I’m not happy with the way it was dealt with by the players, but I can share their frustration to a degree.”

At Cooks Square Park, a hat-trick from Matt Comerford helped Maitland (20 points) jump from fifth to third with a 5-1 win over a 10-man Charlestown, who dropped to fifth on 19.

Both sides had a penalty each saved and Blues defender Kev Davison was sent off in the 74th minute for match official abuse.

At CB Complex, last-placed Valentine (seven points) came from 2-0 down after 12 minutes to draw 2-2 with the Jets Youth. Cai Tipaldo scored in the second minute and Yerasimakis Petratos converted a penalty in the 12th after keeper Scott Carter fouled Tipaldo. Joel Wood (30th) scored before Jesse Feighan (86th) equalised off Zac Sneddon’s through ball.

On Saturday, leaders Broadmeadow (24 points) and Lambton Jaffas (20) drew 1-1 at Edden Oval and second-last Lake Macquarie (nine) defeated Weston (12) 2-1 at Macquarie Field. 

James Virgili pounced on a mix-up at the back to score in the 29th minute for Magic, who went to outright first ahead of Edgeworth (23). Jaffas equalised in the 72nd through Pat Brown, whose scored from a close-range rebound after his header was blocked. Lambton slipped from third to fourth on goal difference behind Maitland.

Mitch Hunter scored Lake Macquarie’s winner with a header in the 73rd minute. Morgan Okeno put the Roosters ahead in the 16th minute off a Paul Sichalwe cross and Tega Adjeke equalised with a header in the 66th. 

At Maitland, Comerford scored in the sixth minute after Ryan Clarke and Matt Thompson opened up the Blues defence. Comerford made it 2-0 off a Clarke cross in the 17th and added a third in the 29th with a corner kick that beat everyone. Scott Smith headed in a Matt Tull corner in the 45th minute to give the visitors hope but a Ljubo Milicevic own goal off a Comerford cross in the 58th and Clarke’s finish in the 90th completed the rout.

NPL Northern NSW Round 13:Hamilton Olympic take on Adamstown Rosebuds

Hamilton Olympic v Adamstown Rosebud

Sunday 17th June, 2:30pm at Darling Street Oval

With the FFA Cup now in the rear-vision mirror for both these sides, the league is once again the priority and with just a point separating the pair a win for either will be crucial.

Hamilton triumphed last time the two met as a Jed Hornery goal was enough to secure coach Peter McGuinness’ first competitive win as Olympic coach – 1-0 back in Round 2 this season.

It was a case of so close, yet so far for Hamilton in the FFA Cup. They went down at the last hurdle, a 2-1 defeat to Broadmeadow on Wednesday night denying them a shot on the national stage.

With all eyes back to the league, Hamilton needs to start picking up wins everywhere they go if featuring in the finals is a goal for them this season. They’re six points and four places adrift of the top four, albeit with a game in hand.

With Simon Mooney waiting on the results of an MRI on Friday to assess how bad his injury on Wednesday night was, there are a number of question marks of others in the squad as well. Scott Pettit, Kyle Hodges, Jarryd Sutherland and Jed Hornery are all unknowns ahead of Sunday.

Adamstown didn’t make it quite as far in the cup as Hamilton but both were beaten by the same side. Rosebud went down 3-0 on Saturday at out at Lake Macquarie Regional Football Facility.

It wasn’t a particularly poor performance though, which will have given coach Shane Cansdell-Sherriff some encouragement. As their eyes turn back to the league, the ladder isn’t bad viewing for Adamstown.

After a bad start to the year, that run of four league wins in a row catapulted them into seventh and just five points from the top four. It looks a long shot, but with a couple of victories Adamstown could compete for one of those spots in the four.

What the coaches said:
Peter McGuinness (Hamilton)

“The FFA Cup loss is disappointing but we move on, that’s the end of that competition and we’ll concentrate heavily now on the league and try to climb the ladder as high as we possibly can.

“I was happy with the performance considering we had a few knocks and bruises from the weekend, we lost Scott Pettit in the warm-up and then Simon Mooney who are two key players in our front third. We recovered and competed well… a bit of luck could have gone our way, but unfortunately didn’t.

“Adamstown have improved dramatically, what Shane’s done with them he’s got points and managed to climb the ladder and he’s done a good job. A number of players there out of last year Olympic under 20s side who trained with us pre-season then decided to head over the road. I’m expecting plenty of players with a point to prove.

“A lot of the injured boys will wait until the morning of the game, and that’s to give them every opportunity.”


Weston Workers vs Hamilton Olympic on Saturday 16 June at Rockwell Automation Park

U13s kick off at 10.00am

U14s Bye

U15s kick off at 1.00pm

U16s kick off at 2.30pm


Lake Macquarie City v Weston Bears

Saturday 16th June, 2:30pm at Macquarie Field

This weekend’s match of the round takes us to Macquarie Field for a game which will have real implications for those sides hovering around the bottom of the ladder.

No FFA Cup duties for either side mean they come into this fresh off a weekend’s break, something which Weston may not have wanted given they scored a huge derby win over Maitland in Round 12.

Some time off may have been just what Lakes needed given they’d lost six league games straight prior to the week off. A goal difference which is one better than Valentine’s is all that’s keeping them better from bottom.

An up-and-down run has Weston sitting on 12 points, but they’ll no doubt be buzzing after that surprise derby win over a strong Maitland side. The return of Kew Jaliens, who played around 60 minutes in the relatively unfamiliar role of striker, is an encouraging sign for one of the youngest squads in the competition.

The loss of Kamon Bol, who was deregistered from the squad, creates opportunities for the likes of young defender Angus Lathan, who started against Maitland in that win a fortnight ago. He was one of the best on the park and may be called upon once more on Saturday.

A win for Weston may just be enough to ensure they avoid the wooden spoon for the first time in three seasons. While there’s still plenty of football left to be played, three points would extend the gap between them and bottom up to nine points.

Meanwhile, a win for Lakes would keep them off the bottom of the ladder and close that gap between them and Weston (in ninth) to just three points. For them, this is a key ‘six-pointer’.

Relatively injury-free for much of the season, the week off for Lakes might have stood as a good chance for them to catch their breath and regroup ahead of the nine remaining league matches.

If the second half of the season is going to be better than the first, then home form may be a good place to start. They have the equal-second worst record at home this season, with just one win from six attempts.


What the coaches said:

Nick Webb (Lakes)

“We had a bit of a bonding session on Saturday then back into training pretty hard, getting ready for Weston. I’m not sure if it was a good time for a break, I think we’ll find the answer to that on Saturday. The boys are certainly pumped for the game, training really really well.

“It’s probably been our best training week of the year and we’re going into the game with high hopes. We’re expecting a tough match, they’ve done really well in recent weeks and are very compact, two strikers made a huge difference with Kew Jaliens up top, experienced player.

“When you’ve got those sorts of players in your team, you normally get some good structures and success, so we have no doubt it’s going to be a tough match. We’re lucky enough that we have some wide players that can attack, we’re strong through the front third with our strikers and we’ll be looking to mix it up and change what’s in front of us.

“We’re looking to turn our season around, and it starts this week.”


Newcastle Jets Youth v Valentine Phoenix

Sunday 17th June, 2:30pm at CB Complex

Things are getting desperate at Valentine, and Jets Youth will need to be at their best if they’re to overcome Phoenix on Saturday afternoon.

Of course, it was Jets Youth who did the job the last time these two sides met with a 2-1 victory back in Round 2. Back to the beginning of the draw after the bye in the last round, Valentine will want a win in order to get their second half of the season off to a much better start.

Without Lawrie McKinna in the technical area this weekend due to a trip to Russia for the FIFA World Cup, it falls on Labinot Haliti to take full responsibility on the sideline.

It’s certainly a good time for Haliti to flex his muscle, given confidence is sure to be high after two straight wins over quality opposition – 1-0 over Charlestown three weeks ago, and 2-1 over Adamstown in the last round.

One man who has been immense for Jets Youth in both those victories is captain Kieran Hayes. The midfielder scored the winner against Charlestown and set up the first against Adamstown and is a key cog in the Jets machine.

At the bottom of the ladder and without a win since victory over Weston back in round eight (their only win of the season), it will have been three weeks since Valentine has taken the pitch by the time they take to it on Saturday.

Their last match was the tight 1-0 defeat to Edgeworth in Round 11, with a bye and the FFA Cup weekend meaning they’ve spent plenty of time on the sidelines with discussions regarding their goals for their remaining ten matches.

Wilson Edwards is out for Valentine this weekend and looks likely to be so for at least another fortnight. The loss of American import Christian Kershaw also leaves a hole, which is yet to be filled.


What the coaches said:

Sam Griffin (Valentine assistant)

“Three weeks between games, which is not ideal but probably at the stage we were in it was a good time to go away, have a bit of a break then come back and get back into it. Everyone is pretty fresh and raring to go, which is the reaction you’re hoping for.

“I went and watched the Jets a couple of weeks ago against Adamstown and they were very fluid, you’re used to the Jets being quite structured but their rotation was so good. I think we’re going to have to have eyes in the back of our heads to keep track of all the movement.

“They’re quite good at keeping possession and not turning the ball over as often, we would like to take it to them and get up in their face a bit and play up their end a bit more. The first time we played them was up own end, so hopefully turn them around and get something out of it.”


Lambton Jaffas v Broadmeadow Magic
Saturday 16th June, 2:30pm at Arthur Edden Oval

Midweek matches for both sides where neither left anything in the tank, although Lambton was forced to play an extra half hour than their Magic counterparts.

It was all for nothing in the end for Jaffas though as they went out of the FFA Cup on penalties, while Magic got the job done 2-1 over Hamilton on Wednesday night.

They haven’t lost since Round 4 at Weston, and now Broadmeadow has been buoyed further after the win on Wednesday night sent them into the FFA Cup Round of 32.

It follows relatively straightforward 3-0 wins over Adamstown in the FFA Cup final eight on Saturday, and Lakes in the league the week before.

There were question marks over Kale Bradbury’s fitness for one after he went off with injury during that clash with Adamstown. Encouragingly for Magic though, he played the full 90 minutes in that midweek win over Hamilton.

It was heartbreak for Lambton as they crashed out of the FFA Cup following the heroics of Charlestown ‘keeper Danny Ireland to help the Blues win out on penalties after no goals in 120 minutes.

Both Lambton and Magic may have felt the odds were even coming into Saturday given both were playing midweek matches, but the extra half hour may prove something of a difference come the weekend.

Bren Hammel is out for Jaffas due to an overseas trip, while Braedyn Crowley is available for selection once again after being cup-tied for that fixture on Wednesday night.

It’s a match which is of huge importance to both sides and could have big implications on the make-up of the ladder. If Magic win, they’ll go three points clear of Edgeworth who has the bye this weekend and Lambton could potentially drop out of the four.

A Jaffas win would bring them to within one point of top spot though, improve on that goal difference which could be key come season’s end, and put a stop to Magic’s dream run of late.


Hamilton Olympic v Adamstown Rosebud

Sunday 17th June, 2:30pm at Darling Street Oval

With the FFA Cup now in the rear-vision mirror for both these sides, the league is once again the priority and with just a point separating the pair a win for either will be crucial.

Hamilton triumphed last time the two met as a Jed Hornery goal was enough to secure coach Peter McGuinness’ first competitive win as Olympic coach – 1-0 back in Round 2 this season.

It was a case of so close, yet so far for Hamilton in the FFA Cup. They went down at the last hurdle, a 2-1 defeat to Broadmeadow on Wednesday night denying them a shot on the national stage.

With all eyes back to the league, Hamilton needs to start picking up wins everywhere they go if featuring in the finals is a goal for them this season. They’re six points and four places adrift of the top four, albeit with a game in hand.

With Simon Mooney waiting on the results of an MRI on Friday to assess how bad his injury on Wednesday night was, there are a number of question marks of others in the squad as well. Scott Pettit, Kyle Hodges, Jarryd Sutherland and Jed Hornery are all unknowns ahead of Sunday.

Adamstown didn’t make it quite as far in the cup as Hamilton but both were beaten by the same side. Rosebud went down 3-0 on Saturday at out at Lake Macquarie Regional Football Facility.

It wasn’t a particularly poor performance though, which will have given coach Shane Cansdell-Sherriff some encouragement. As their eyes turn back to the league, the ladder isn’t bad viewing for Adamstown.

After a bad start to the year, that run of four league wins in a row catapulted them into seventh and just five points from the top four. It looks a long shot, but with a couple of victories Adamstown could compete for one of those spots in the four.


What the coaches said:
Peter McGuinness (Hamilton)

“The FFA Cup loss is disappointing but we move on, that’s the end of that competition and we’ll concentrate heavily now on the league and try to climb the ladder as high as we possibly can.

“I was happy with the performance considering we had a few knocks and bruises from the weekend, we lost Scott Pettit in the warm-up and then Simon Mooney who are two key players in our front third. We recovered and competed well… a bit of luck could have gone our way, but unfortunately didn’t.

“Adamstown have improved dramatically, what Shane’s done with them he’s got points and managed to climb the ladder and he’s done a good job. A number of players there out of last year Olympic under 20s side who trained with us pre-season then decided to head over the road. I’m expecting plenty of players with a point to prove.

“A lot of the injured boys will wait until the morning of the game, and that’s to give them every opportunity.”


Maitland Magpies v Charlestown City Blues

Sunday 17th June, 2:30pm at Cooks Square Park

It’s fourth versus fifth up at Cooks Square Park on Sunday as Maitland look to snap a poor run of form and jump back into the top four.

Meanwhile, Charlestown is riding high after qualifying on penalties for the FFA Cup Round of 32, and hoping they can fight their way back toward the top spot.

Without victory since the 2-0 victory over Lakes back in Round 9, Maitland will be looking to move on quickly from that shock loss to Weston in the Coalfields Derby.

Home has been a somewhat happy hunting ground for the Magpies, who have lost just twice at Cooks Square Park this season. Three points against a strong Charlestown side could prove the perfect boost to kick Michael Bolch’s side on for the back end of the season.

The Magpies come into this one very fresh compared to their opponents. Their last game was that loss to Weston two weeks Sunday due to their crashing out of the FFA Cup against Lakes in the competition’s fifth round.

Charlestown made history by becoming just the fifth team in Northern NSW (excluding Newcastle Jets) to qualify for the FFA Cup after that penalty win over Lambton on Wednesday night.

Squad management will be key to getting three points this weekend and in the coming weeks ahead. This match will be Charlestown’s third in eight days (smack-bang in the middle of five in fifteen days) and comes off the back of a gruelling 120 minutes against Lambton.

The Blues will be hoping ‘keeper Danny Ireland can replicate his FFA Cup heroics this weekend. He was enormous throughout the win over Lambton with key saves in extra-time and the penalty shootout.

This is an important match for both sides, given the make-up of the ladder. A loss could see Charlestown drop out of the top four (albeit with a game in hand), whereas a loss for Maitland could see them potentially five points adrift of the top four.


FFA Cup Northern NSW Football Round 7‬: Hamilton Olympic eliminated 2-1 by Broadmeadow Magic

Hamilton Olympic were eliminated from progressing to the final 32 of the FFA Cup when they lost 2-1 to Broadmeadow Magic tonight.

The two goals by Magic were scored by Oxborrow and Majurovski while the single goal by Olympic came from Hornery.

source:Tom Tsamouras

FFA Cup: Hamilton skipper relishes return clash with Broadmeadow

HAMILTON captain Kyle Hodges would love to finally lead his club out on the national stage in the FFA Cup.

And after a controversial NPL loss to Broadmeadow last month, Hodges was hoping to meet Magic in the match to make that a reality.

The centre-back’s wish was granted when Olympic drew Broadmeadow for round seven of the Cup on Wednesday night at Adamstown Oval. Charlestown play Lambton Jaffas at Lisle Carr Oval. The two winners progress to the FFA Cup’s nationwide round of 32.

Hodges and Broadmeadow midfielder Shane Paul had a spirited debate on Facebook over the final goal in Magic’s 4-2 win over Hamilton on May 20.

Broadmeadow played on and scored with Hodges out of position after he stopped alongside fallen Magic player Dino Fajkovic. Hodges said it was the ‘worst sportsmanship I’ve ever seen’. It sparked a debate with Paul, who defended the goal and criticised Hodges for kicking the ball at Magic’s celebrations.

Ahead of the Cup clash, Hodges said: “It was anger and heated on the field, but we’re all still mates. It’s just a game at the end of the day”.

“I said to him a week or so after the game that it will be good if we draw you guys in the final round to get into the FFA Cup, so it’s all worked it. It should be a blockbuster.”

Hodges was sticking to his guns over the goal and believed the incident would add spice to the Cup game. 

“It was the second time he had gone down injured, the ball was in their half. If it was in our half and they were attacking, fair enough,” he said. “They had plenty of time to kick it out, but it’s all good. We’ve moved on and hopefully we can get a win on Wednesday.

“I think it will all lead to a bit of a build-up. It will make it more intense, definitely.”

Hamilton have yet to feature in the round of 32 but defeated NNSW cup kings Edgeworth on Saturday 3-2 to give themselves a chance.

Olympic sit eighth, six points off the top four, in the NPL after 10 games under new coach Peter McGuinness and with a rebuilt squad. With three wins in their past four matches, they loom as play-off contenders.​

”I think we’ve all started to click now,” said Hodges, one of just a few players left from last year’s team. 

“We lost a lot of players, a new coach coming in, a different style of play. It was quite a bit to get used to, but it’s worked out well.

“I knew we always had a good enough team to compete and get wins, and all the games we’ve lost have been really close. I don’t think we’ve ever been outplayed. It’s just been a few defensive errors and things like that that have cost us games.”

He hopes to overcome a rib injury to play Wednesday. Scott Pettit (groin) and Jed Hornery (hamstring) were other concerns for Hamilton.

“I’d love to make the round of 32,” Hodges said.

“I haven’t too many more years left in me, so it would be awesome to make it and get to travel somewhere and play a big team.”

Hodges, though, said Hamilton were “not putting all our eggs into one basket” and making the NPL finals was still a focus.

“We’re six points off the top four and if we get lucky and a few results go our way, I’m confident we can get up there,” he said.

“We’re good enough.”

He said Hamilton had an intense pre-season, involving training three nights a week and weekly trial games, under McGuinness.

“A lot of people might not know how full-on it was,” he said.

“It’s eased off a bit now, but I don’t mind taking myself out of my comfort zone a bit and testing myself, it’s been really good.

“It was a longer pre-season and with more focus on structure and playing out.

“We went down to Sydney for quite a few trials games, so it was a bit of a wake-up call playing against teams of the next calibre.”


FFA Cup Northern NSW Football Round 7: Hamilton Olympic take on Broadmeadow Magic

Hamilton Olympic face Broadmeadow Magic FC on Wednesday night 13th June, at Adamstown Oval for our chance to book a place in the final 32 of the FFA Cup!

Olympic fans are encouraged to be there for a 7:00pm kick off to help the boys create club history and put Hamilton Olympic FC on the national stage!

source: Tom Tsamouras

FFA Cup Northern NSW Football Round 6‬: Hamilton Olympic down Edgeworth Eagles 3-2

Hamilton Olympic eliminated Edgeworth Eagles in Round 6 of the FFA Cup after goals from Papas, Hornery and Bailey.

In the next round, Hamilton Olympic will be away to Broadmeadow Magic.

source: Tom Tsamouras

NPL Northern NSW Round 12: Hamilton Olympic vs Charlestown City washed out

Charlestown City Blues vs Hamilton Olympic FC – Round 12 was washed out and is rescheduled for:

Tuesday 19th June, Lisle Carr Oval
18s – 6:15pm
20s – 8:00pm

Wednesday 20th June, Lisle Carr Oval
1st Grade – 7:00pm

NPL Youth Round 13
Olympic vs Lake Macquarie
Saturday at Darling St Oval

Under 16s won 2-1
Under 15s lost 0-2
Under 14s won 8-0
Under 13s won 1-0

Zone League 2
Olympic vs New Lambton
Saturday at Islington Oval
1st Grade draw  1-1
2nd Grade lost 0-1

Community Juniors Today
U12 (NET) Adamstown v Olympic 6-0
U13 Olympic has a bye
U14 Rutherford v Olympic 1-5
U16 Olympic vs Adamstown 1-3



Weston Bears 3 (Hurley 10’, 28′, Maguire 45′) def. Maitland Magpies 2 (Clarke 19’, Thompson 26’)

Sunday 3rd June, 2:30pm at Rockwell Automation Park

‘El Classicoal’ was the billing ahead of this one, and it was a match equally as thrilling as it’s Spanish cousin.

Five goals in the first half, two absolute screamers from Chris Hurley, and more than a little niggle made for one of the most memorable Coalfields derby’s in recent memory.

The first of Hurley’s goals came early on, in just the tenth minute. Seizing on a loose ball outside the area after it was cleared, the midfielder hit it on the half-volley. It evaded a sea of players inside the area and flew into the back of the net.

Maitland needed a response, and it took just nine minutes to come. Matt Thompson made something out of nothing, playing a ball over the top to Ryan Clarke who was right on the last line of defence. He ran with it and finished through Kane Runge to level the scores.

Just five minutes later, Ryan Clarke was involved at the front end of the pitch again after he was adjudged to have been brought down inside the area by Callum Bower however, replays show there may not have been as much contact as first thought.

Matt Thompson stepped up to take the penalty and buried it home in the 26th minute to put the Magpies ahead for the first time in this match.

Determined not to be outshone, Chris Hurley stepped up once more. Two minutes after Maitland went ahead, Weston went forward and an attack from Tega Marcus broke down.

The ball fell nicely once again to Chris Hurley, and instead of waiting for the bounce he struck it on the volley with some venom. Bending away from goal, the left-footed strike beat Matt Trott and rippled the back of the net and got Weston back on level terms.

Another goal before half-time would have been the perfect way to go to the sheds for either side. It was the home side who found that goal – Josh Maguire at the near post seized on the ball which came in from a corner.

The shot took a deflection on the way in – but it was Maguire’s goal, an injury-time strike to send the Bears to the sheds ahead.

After a frantic, free-scoring first half many were tipping there to be a couple more in the second stanza.

Maitland nearly had just that in the 63rd minute as a corner came flying in and bounced around the area. Alex Read had a golden chance from just three yards out, but his header slammed into the underside of the crossbar and bounced clear.

The visitors were pushing on for a goal, and Weston looked to sit back and defend their lead. Max Foster nearly doubled their advantage with a stinging strike in the 72nd minute which just fizzed past the post.

Making his first appearance in Maitland colours, albeit off the bench, Sean Pratt nearly directed a header home in the 74th minute.

The Bears had a good chance from a set piece up the other end in the 84th minute after Regan Payne was brought down outside the area, but the acute angle proved too sharp for Liam O’Reilly.

Weston was on the back foot and Maitland was looking to pinch an equaliser – Alex Read was thrown up front and the visitors were playing five in the front line at stages.

Carl Thornton had been moved into the midfield and stung the palms of Kane Runge in injury time, but ultimately the Magpies were unable to find a breakthrough. Weston picked up their first win over Maitland since 2015, and moved six points clear off the bottom of tenth place.


Edgeworth Eagles 1 (Cawley 56’) drew Lambton Jaffas 1 (Duncan 87′)

Saturday 2nd June, 2:30pm at Jack McLaughlan Oval

There was a lot of hype around this one – a grand final rematch, and the first time the two sides had met since Lambton’s last-gasp win back in round one.

Ultimately though, two sides with similar lofty ambitions and strong squads cancelled each other out and shared the points.

Edgeworth nearly, and perhaps should have, had the opening goal in the 22nd minute. It was a move created and almost finished by Tyson Jackson, who played a nice ball down his right-hand side to Jamie Byrnes and then busted to make it to the back post.

He received the ball there eventually and fired off toward goal – only the post denied him from his second league goal this season.

There was an interesting coming together shortly after when Jamie Byrnes and former Eagle Bren Hammel had a tangle inside the Lambton area in the 27th minute. Nothing came of it, but it did end up with Hammel over the top of the opposition striker giving him an earful.

Adam Cawley had his share of chances throughout the match – he forced a save in the 29th minute and blazed one high and wide in the 54th minute.

The goal was coming though, and he wasn’t to be denied in the 56th minute. Cutting in from his wing once again Cawley hit a shot which fizzed high into the net, inside the near post but beyond the reach of Brad Swancott.

Lambton was mere inches from equalising in the 70th minute when Braedyn Crowley rattled the post with a shot from close range. The ball rebounded into the side of Josh Low, and luckily for the home side, not into the goal.

Edgy had a strong shout for a penalty in the 74th minute when Bren Hammel and Daniel McBreen got into a tangle inside the penalty area, but the referee waved away the protests.

Things were getting dire for Lambton, and they needed a goal – enter, of all people, Marcus Duncan. He rose for a header from a corner in the 87th minute, and his shot found the back of the net.

The visitors rescued a point at the death and moved two points clear inside the top four, above Charlestown on the ladder (on goal difference) into third spot.


Adamstown Rosebud 1 (Vallone 78’) def. by Newcastle Jets Youth 2 (O’Connor 75’, 88’)

Sunday 3rd June, 2:30pm at Adamstown Oval

The final fifteen minutes was where it all went down at Adamstown, with all three goals coming at the death.

Joseph O’Connor was the goal scorer on both occasions for Jets Youth, his double putting his side ahead and within a win of the top four.

However, it was Adamstown who had the opening chance of the match after youngster Liam Ryan chased down a backpedalling Brendan Knowles as he played a ball back to his ‘keeper.

Chris Berlin was on hand and swooped in, but his shot from an extremely acute angle trickled agonisingly across the face of goal and out.

Determined not to lie down, Jets Youth charged up the other end and nearly had one in the 14th minute when Solomon Vaiika found himself one-on-one with Benn Kelly, but he wasn’t able to beat the veteran goalkeeper.

Luke Rutledge nearly shanked a clearance into his own goal in the 28th minute in a close call for Adamstown, before Robbie Turnbull was forced off with injury shortly after and replaced by youngster Cal Gabriel.

The rain was falling as the second half began and the slippery conditions nearly proved costly for Benn Kelly, who slipped with Yerasimakis Petratos bearing down on goal. He wasn’t able to get his shot away with any real conviction, and Kelly collected it.

Some end-to-end action had the crowd at Adamstown Oval excited just shy of the hour mark when Kieran Hayes had a shot saved and play was sent back the Jets’ way.

The bouncing ball sat up for Luke Vallone, but he wasn’t able to get his shot away with enough power to beat Noah James in the Jets’ goal.

Jets Youth captain Kieran Hayes scored the winner for his side last weekend against Charlestown, and he turned provider in the 75th minute. His little dinked ball found the head of Joseph O’Connor, and he did enough to beat Kelly and put Jets Youth ahead 1-0.

Keen not to let their recent good form go to waste, Adamstown went straight back down the other end and got one back. The long ball worked a treat this time, with Luke Vallone on the end of it to finish for his fourth goal of the season.

A winning attitude has been part of the Jets Youth resurgence this season, and they showed just that in nabbing a winner late in this game.

A free kick in the 88th minute went into the mixer and Kelly got a hand to it, but only knocked it into Rosebud substitute Ayden von Essen. The rebound from him fell nicely for O’Connor, who tapped home for his second of the day and the match winner.

Jets Youth co-coach Lawrie McKinna thought his side did well in getting the three points.

“Like most games in NPL against good teams, the opposition has started strong but once we settled down, we played some good football,” said McKinna.

“I thought we finished the first half very strong, the second half was a bit more even and there were chances at both.

“It was just good to see after Adamstown equalised, the boys come back again and got the winner in the last couple of minutes. Sometimes with young players, you lose a goal late and they go into their shell a little bit. The boys showed a bit of maturity and did very well.

“A hard-fought game, good entertainment value for the crowd.”

Goals in the final fifteen minutes have won matches for Jets Youth in two consecutive matches, and McKinna believes it’s proof of how the young players are progressing.

“We’re trying to develop players for the first team but it’s all about winning, and that’s what we’ve been trying to instil all season,” said McKinna.

“We had that little slump in the middle of the season and that was when we had four or five boys injured, we called up a number of under 18s and weren’t quite getting results. In the last two games, we’ve started to get players back and credit to them.

“Young Brendan (Knowles) the young full-back, is only 16, Jack Simmons is only 16, the bulk of the squad is only 17, a few 18-year-old’s and we’ve got one 19-year-old in the squad.

“Kieran Hayes he battled, Jack Simmons, Jackson Frendo, these guys I thought were outstanding during the game.”

Jets Youth now have a weekend off thanks to FFA Cup action, and will be without McKinna for at least June as he heads to Russia for the FIFA World Cup. Co-coach Labinot Haliti will assume full control on the sideline for that period.


Broadmeadow Magic 3 (Bradbury 36’, Virgili 58’, 81’) def. Lake Macquarie City 0

Sunday 3rd June, 2:30pm at Magic Park

Edgeworth failing to win on Saturday left the door to top spot wide open for Broadmeadow on Sunday and they took full advantage by scoring three goals to propel themselves into first place – level on points with Edgy at the top but with a goal difference which is ten better.

Paul Sichalwe was playing back at Magic Park for the first time since he left Broadmeadow at the end of the last season, and the now-Lakes man fired off an early sighter which had Paul Bitz off his feet to make a save.

A parry from Stuart Plant after a palm-stinging long shot nearly opened the door for John Majurovski to put one away in the 13th minute, but Plant was able to prevent him from close range.

Sam Walker had a golden opportunity in the 14th minute when he was on hand as the ball came across the face of goal, but he wasn’t able to connect and cut a frustrated figure as the chance went begging.

A quick counter-attack around ten minutes before half-time put Magic ahead. As a Lakes corner broke down, Mitch Oxborrow sent a defence-splitting ball down toward the Lakes goal.

Intended for James Virgili, a sliding tackle from a scrambling Lakes defender won it from him but sent it straight into the path of Kale Bradbury. The striker made no mistake in slotting his shot home and edging ahead in the race for the Golden Boot.

Level before half-time would have made for an interesting second half, and Lakes thought they’d got one back in the 45th minute. A free-kick from Paul Sichalwe was helped on by Sam Walker and forced a great save from Paul Bitz.

A scramble ensued in the Magic goalmouth and it went through three sets of legs before ending up in the back of the net, but at least one of the three sets was offside and the goal didn’t stand.

Lakes almost got level in the 53rd minute, but Paul Bitz was on hand to make a fantastic save and deny Sam Walker’s diving header.

A corner five minutes later proved lethal for Lakes, as Magic doubled their advantage. Helping things along and turning provider, Kale Bradbury’s touch somehow wormed its way through for James Virgili who stretched and connected with the ball.

Finding its way high into the top of the net, Magic was up 2-0 and Virgili had now drawn back level in the race for the Golden Boot. He was denied a chance at another goal in the 63rd thanks to a low save from Plant.

The visitors weren’t without their own chances, a low save at the other end from Bitz in the 67th minute and a last-ditch sliding tackle to prevent Morgan Okeno in the 74th minute keeping Lakes at bay.

It was all in vain though, as Broadmeadow would score the goal to put this one to rest. Virgili and Fajkovic combined, the former played a one-two with the latter and finished off the move.

It was a goal which put him one ahead in the race for the Golden Boot, his second of the day and Magic’s third of the day. It was enough to see out the match for Magic, who claimed their seventh win of the season.

Magic coach Ruben Zadkovich called it a good result, but not a great performance.

“We played really well in patches, we had a lot of opportunities where we could’ve had that little bit better execution on the final pass or the final decision,” said Zadkovich.

“We had some good opportunities to score a lot more goals, but all in all we’re happy with the clean sheet, a pretty comprehensive win and we’re pretty happy with the result.”

Goalkeeper Paul Bitz made a few key saves throughout the match, but Zadkovich said it’s what he expects of the experienced shot-stopper.

“He made two or three pretty good saves which kept the clean sheet which was nice, but they’re all saves you expect him to make,” said Zadkovich.

“Lakes had a couple of opportunities, they had a goal that was disallowed for offside so that was a little bit lucky for us. We tried something a little bit different today and it worked for us, we won 3-0 but there’s still things we need to work on.”

The focus now turns to the long weekend at Speers Point and a shot at the FFA Cup Round of 32.

“Every club wants to get into that 32, it’s good exposure for your club and you put your club’s brand out there and it’s really good thing for not just the club, but the players,” said Zadkovich.

“Especially the younger ones, they get a bit of exposure and you see the other players that have gone from NPL clubs to A-League clubs off the back of FFA Cup exploits.

“For me, it’s (the round of 32) just the perfect platform to put players and the club out there, and get a little bit of exposure.”

NPL Northern NSW Round 12: Hamilton Olympic travel away to Charlestown City

Charlestown City Blues v Hamilton Olympic

Sunday 3rd June, 2:30 pm at Lisle Carr Oval

It’s Old Boys Day at Lisle Carr Oval on Sunday, and the Blues will want a hearty crowd behind them as they look to return to form.

Two goals from former Olympic man Scott Smith helped Charlestown take the spoils in a 3-2 win back in round one of this season. It set the Blues on their upward trajectory, and they’ll be looking for a similar boost this weekend.

The form which shot Charlestown to first place has evaded them in the past weeks, and they’ve now just four points from their last four league matches. Their most recent outing was that defeat to Jets Youth on Sunday, an 80th-minute goal condemning them to a 1-0 defeat.

Hamilton has had a much kinder time in their last four. They’ve taken nine points from those matches, including a win over Lambton and defeat to Magic. Last weekend saw them escape with all three points in a 2-1 win over Weston which they could have tied up earlier than the 84th-minute goal which won it.

In a welcome boost this weekend, Olympic welcome back Simon Mooney and Scott Pettit after they served mandatory one-match suspensions for yellow card accumulation. Rhys Cooper also returned last weekend after spending time with the Australian futsal team in Spain.

Key men in Kane Goodchild and Riley McNaughton remain out for Charlestown, but there were positive signs last weekend as Daniel Minors got through 60 minutes in his return from a calf injury. Zac Lloyd is also nearing closer to a return to the pitch.

Lisle Carr Oval has been a happy hunting ground for Olympic, and they haven’t lost there since Charlestown returned to the top flight in 2012. Of the six matches the two have played at Whitebridge since then, Olympic has won four and drawn two.

First place is potentially on the line for Charlestown, and they’ll be determined to ascend given they blew the chance to sit equal on top last weekend. Hamilton could move one place up the ladder to sixth, and go within just two points of the top four after an underwhelming start to the year.

What the coaches said:

Peter McGuinness (Hamilton)
“It’ll be a very tough game, Charlestown hasn’t picked up too many points of late and they’ll be looking to pick up points and continue on from the good first round of the season they had.

“In round one they were probably not as fit as what they are now, and they’ve also got some combinations going because they’re a relatively new group together. They’ve probably got a lot more cohesion than what they had at the start.

“Simon Mooney and Scott Pettit will both add some speed to the team, which will be good on our behalf because they’re always looking to get in behind defences. That will help us and probably allow us a little bit more space than what we’ve had without them.

“Stuey (Musalik) played a bit of time in the 20s last weekend which was good, but we’re not sure on Jarryd Sutherland. He picked up a knock last weekend at Weston, and we’re hoping he’ll be okay.”


Hamilton Olympic – Lake Macquarie City on Saturday 2nd June at Darling St Oval

U13s kick off at 10.00am

U14s kick off at 11.30am

U15s kick off at  1.00pm

U16s kick off at  2.30pm

Weston Bears v Maitland Magpies

Sunday 3rd June, 2:30 pm at Rockwell Automation Park

It’s this year’s second edition of the Coalfields derby, dubbed the ‘El Classicoal’, and it promises to be as fiery as ever.

The home side comes into this match off the back of two defeats in Hamilton in their last two matches, one in the league and another in the cup. They sit ninth, and a four-point gap between them and eighth threatens to widen this weekend.

Maitland is on the road in the search of three points that could potentially put them back into the top four. Last weekend’s draw put them out of the finals positions for the first time this season since round three.

Round one this season was the last time these two sides met, and a late surge from Maitland seen them score two goals in the final ten minutes to snatch a 2-1 victory from the jaws of defeat.

In fact, since Maitland was promoted to the top tier in 2015 they’ve only lost to Weston once. In three matches at home against the Magpies, Weston has only taken a single point away.

Goals are something which Weston has had to fight for so far this season, and they’ve scored 15 in their 10 matches this season. It’s the equal-second lowest output in the league, and given Maitland’s defensive structure it may be a tall order this weekend.

That defensive structure last weekend made Maitland the first team this year to keep Broadmeadow at bay in last Sunday’s 0-0 draw at Magic Park. It could well have been a 1-0 victory though if only Ryan Clarke had finished the game’s only clear-cut chance late in injury time.

In fact, the defence has been a positive feature of Maitland’s game this season and they’ve conceded just 13 goals in ten matches. Magic coach Ruben Zadkovich praised the way midfielders Matt Thompson and Andrew Swan screened the defence last weekend.

That experience will prove tough to break down for Weston, who welcome back coach Steve Piggott to the technical area after he served a three-match ban for match official abuse. Kew Jaliens has stood in while Piggott served his ban as the former Dutch international edges closer to a return to the pitch.

FFA Cup is something which neither of these sides has to contend with, which means they’ll each have the upcoming long weekend away from the pitch. For both Weston and Maitland, going into that period with a win under their belts would be invaluable.


Edgeworth Eagles v Lambton Jaffas

Saturday 2nd June, 2:30 pm at Jack McLaughlan Oval

The reigning premiers meet the reigning champions once more, this time at Jack McLaughlan Oval and with it all to play for.

The last time these two sides met it took a 93rd minute goal to declare Lambton the victors in a stunning tit-for-tat battle which ended 4-3 Jaffas. It was the fourth time in the last five matches that Lambton has beat Edgeworth.

Edgeworth is for a clinical touch after a late Will Bower goal secured a 1-0 victory over Valentine last weekend. It could have been five goals by half-time had the Eagles been ruthless in front of goal, a fact which coach Damien Zane lamented in the aftermath of the victory.

That clinical touch might be something which Lambton look for this weekend also. A 2-1 win over Lakes on Saturday consisted of two goals in the first half, but a Pat Brown shot in the second half hit the crossbar and a number of other chances went begging.

There are only two goals which separate the goal differences between the two teams this weekend. Edgeworth has scored 20 and conceded 12, while Lambton has also scored 20 but conceded 14. A third of Edgeworth’s conceded goals this season came in the opening round against Lambton.

There is quality aplenty among both sides this weekend, but the key Lambton men to watch at the top end of the pitch are undoubtedly Ryan Griffiths and Braedyn Crowley, who have six and four goals respectively. The latter has played just league four matches and is currently scoring at a rate of one goal a game.

Combinations up front are starting to solidify between Edgeworth’s two front men Daniel McBreen and Jamie Byrnes, who have themselves four and five goals respectively. That experience, especially McBreen’s, will be invaluable this weekend.

There’s a long way to go in the season, but this match is shaping as a real ‘six-pointer’ for both sides. An Edgeworth win would send them seven points clear of Lambton and ensure they stay at the top, whereas a Lambton win would trim the gap to just a point and blow things open in the race for the premiership.


What the coaches said

Damien Zane (Edgeworth)

“The form book goes out the window when we play Lambton. We expect to be taking on the competition favourites, they’ve got the best squad on paper so we’re not going to look into their injuries. We’ve all got injuries, it’s about dealing with them and they’ve got experienced players and I’m sure we’ll get up for this match, no problem at all.

“We’re expecting it to be tight, a lot of intensity, we won’t be taking it easy but we’ve been travelling okay and improving each week ourselves. It’s a game that we want to win, and hopefully, it’d set us up for the second half of the year. I’m sure Lambton will come out and get up for this match a bit easier, it’s a big clash and it’s another game that we want to win.

“The last two weeks, we’ve had probably one recognised first grader on the bench so we’ve been dealing with our own injuries. Mitch Dobson (futsal), Liam Spurway and Aaron Oppedisano (injury) are all back in the mix, Dylan Holz continues to look better and better each week so we’re hoping to build him up for the back half of the year.”


Adamstown Rosebud v Newcastle Jets Youth

Sunday 3rd June, 2:30 pm at Adamstown Oval

Back at Adamstown Oval for the first time since the start of May, one of the league’s most in-form sides returns from the bye with a huge task ahead.

Adamstown was the location for the last clash between these two sides, which was a 2-all draw way back in round one. It was the only point which Adamstown picked up in the first four rounds.

Speaking of points, the Jets Youth nabbed three last weekend at Charlestown against the heavyweights through a gritty performance. The 1-0 win was the typical type of mentality which Lawrie McKinna and Labinot Haliti are attempting to instil in some of Newcastle’s best and brightest.

Tough slogs and three points are fast becoming synonymous with Adamstown too, with gutsy wins over big boys Edgeworth and Lambton just two of the four victories they amassed prior to the bye.

It was that run which propelled them from just two points and eleventh place after six rounds to now 14 points and sixth place after ten games played. Adamstown is just four points away from the top four – near unimaginable after a horror start to the year.

Jets Youth have done similarly this season, albeit a yo-yo of results. They haven’t yet strung together back-to-back victories, but have won four and currently sit on 13 points and in eighth place.

This weekend shapes as an interesting tactical battle between two sides who have preferred the counter-attack this season. Jets Youth used it to devastating effect last weekend and Adamstown have fine-tuned their approach as the season has progressed.

More goals will be the order of the day for both sides this weekend. Adamstown boasts just 12 goals this season while Jets Youth has 15 – the second and equal-third worst outputs in the league respectively. Kent Harrison has six goals for Jets Youth and Connor Heydon five for Adamstown – they’re key up front this weekend.


What the coaches said:
Shane Cansdell-Sherriff (Adamstown)

“Jets Youth are a well-organised side, a good footballing side, they’ve got a lot of energy and enthusiasm… there are players all over that team that can hurt us and we’ve got to respect that, there are good players and they’re the players of the future.

“We’ve changed in various different ways since we played them in round one, we’ve come together a little bit better now as a team and we understand each other better and work as a team now rather than individuals… hopefully, we can work together and get the result that we want.

“The boys spent the weekend off bonding, they had a good weekend together which is great. The atmosphere and the team spirit amongst the boys is great considering where we’ve come from, such a young new group has come a long way. We’ve come back this week and it’s training as usual.”


Labinot Haliti (Jets Youth)

“Adamstown has won their last four, they’ve got a coach who’s played at a top level and they’re getting good results so it’s just like any other game where we have to make sure we turn up and respect them, but not fear them. It’s going to be a good game, we come in from a win and they’ve had four wins and a bye.

“Building confidence is a process that leads from one game to another, the win last weekend is a big plus and we had obviously a very young squad so it’s good to get a win. It’s important that we are competitive, that we do perform and that we try to be in matches and try to stay in them, not just throw them away.

“We had three or four weeks where we had a few injuries and we were very light on bodies, we started hitting some form at the wrong time with injuries. Since we’ve come back from Hong Kong, it was a good trip and we’ve got a few more coming back (from injury)… there are some boys who were a bit lighter through the week, but we’re all good with injuries.”


Broadmeadow Magic v Lake Macquarie City

Sunday 3rd June, 2:30 pm at Magic Park

Things are dire at the bottom and it’s looking more and more like a two-horse race for last place – Lakes have a lot of work to do in order to move away from Valentine and could potentially jump into ninth with a win on Sunday.

Back in round one, Magic hit Lakes for six. Four from James Virgili and two from Kale Bradbury secured a stunning 6-0 Broadmeadow win on an extremely hot day at Macquarie Field.

Unsurprisingly, those two men now lead the goal-scoring charts with eight goals apiece. If awards were handed out now Virgili would pip Bradbury to the golden boot given he’s played one less game (nine), but they’re not and the focus for each man will undoubtedly be on the team.

Eight goals in nine games has Lakes’ Sam Walker right on their tails, and he added another one to his tally last weekend with a thunderbolt in the 2-1 defeat to Lambton. The big matches keep on coming for Lakes, and despite the defeat, they’ll have taken confidence ahead of this weekend’s encounter with a second-place Magic side.

It’s a team which boasted ‘five or six’ players at its front end which underperformed last weekend, according to coach Ruben Zadkovich. Broadmeadow was held at bay for the first time this season on Sunday in a scoreless draw against Maitland. Despite the lack of flair up front, it was Magic’s fifth clean sheet of the season.

Magic have one of the tightest defences in the league with just eleven goals through in ten matches, and it’s that type of defensive resolve which Lakes need to find on Sunday. They’ve conceded 25 this season (equal-highest with Adamstown) and have kept just one clean sheet.

The way these two sides set up tactically will be interesting to see this weekend. Magic like to press high and exploit the space in behind, but finding that space may be difficult against a Lakes side which tends to sit deep and play quickly on the counter.

One to watch this weekend will be former Magic man Paul Sichalwe, who spent a number of years at Broadmeadow but wasn’t able to pin down a first-team position. He’s scored four times for Lakes this season, but one this weekend against his former club might be the sweetest yet.


What the coaches said:

Nick Webb (Lakes)

“Magic will press pretty high and push pretty hard, they’ve got a quality squad and they’ll be looking to bounce back from their draw against Maitland. We’ll be aware of that, and we’ll be looking to counteract that.

“Round one, like I said after the game back then we chased the Heritage Cup and were extremely tired, it was 40 degrees and it’s completely different now. Although we’re equal last, we certainly should have got something out of the weekend, we set up well and it was just two mistakes that cost us goals. Other than that, we had the lions share of possession and a lions share of the chances, we just didn’t take them.

“You can try all you like to coach the boys to eliminate errors from their game, at the end of the day it’s lapses in concentration that cost us. Guys can be quick but we have to be a little bit smarter and understand that, we spoke about it but we didn’t do it at the end of the day.

“Training was good on Tuesday night and we’ll look to lift that intensity again on Thursday night and be ready for Magic Park.”


NPL Northern NSW Round 11: Hamilton Olympic come away with a 2-1 win over Weston Bears

Weston Bears 1 (Burtson 72’) def. by Hamilton Olympic 2 (Sutherland 15’, Treble 84’)

Sunday 27th May, 2:30 pm at Rockwell Automation Park

The third and final game without Steve Piggott on the sideline for Weston was a topsy-turvy one – crucial for a Bears side looking to close the gap on the pack.

A returning Rhys Cooper played his role as Hamilton conceded the lead and then won it back through youngster Kane Treble for their fourth win of the season.

The home side had a golden opportunity to open the scoring in the 12th minute when Tega Marcus was played in by Chris Hurley. The Bears striker only had the ‘keeper to beat but managed to hit it straight at a diving Tyler Warren.

It’d prove a costly miss just minutes later. An under-hit pass to the last line of defence was swooped upon by Olympic’s Jarryd Sutherland, who dribbled into space and had the confidence to nutmeg Weston keeper Kane Runge for the opening goal.

It was almost two just three minutes after the opening goal when Jordan Jackson got under a back-pass and sent it goal bound. Runge was backpedalling and managed to head it behind to avert a calamitous own goal.

Weston had a pair of good chances in the opening stages of the second half, but Beau Wilkins and Josh Maguire both put their chances from the edge of the area over the crossbar.

The visitors should have made it two in the 70th minute after an incisive breakaway. Jake McGuinness carried the ball half the length of the pitch and played a ball through a crunching sandwich tackle to Jed Hornery.

The number 13 squared it to Rhys Cooper who was virtually free of defenders but he decided to play Hornery back in. A charging Chris Hurley dove in and defused what was one of Hamilton’s most clear-cut chances of the match.

As did Weston with their missed chance earlier in the match, Hamilton would soon regret theirs. The Bears charged up the other end and had a pair of set pieces – a corner floated to the back post was met by the head of Jackson Burston, and it was 1-all.

It was Hamilton who’d ultimately claim their second victory over Weston in as many weeks. A free kick in the 84th minute fell kindly to young substitute Kane Treble, and he had little to do but connect from little more than a yard out to secure victory for Olympic.

Hamilton coach Peter McGuinness was pleased to get the result he felt his side deserved.

“On the balance of the first half I thought we deserved the lead, second half I thought we dug ourselves into a hole,” said McGuinness.

“They changed a bit of their formation and changed the personnel, they had us on the back foot and we countered off that and as a result probably had four opportunities with one v ones, two v ones and we didn’t take any of them.

“We paid the penalty with a poorly defended corner, but probably got what we deserved with a goal from the young substitute.

“It’s always tough at Weston, it’s never easy up there and it’s good to come away with three points.”

The introduction of Rhys Cooper, Joe Temperley and Kane Treble off the bench helped to turn the tide in Olympic’s favour, and McGuinness was pleased with their contributions.

“Rhys had a positive impact with his presence, and it was good for young Kane Treble to come off and get the goal,” said McGuinness.

“Joseph Temperley out of the 20s, those two boys (Temperley and Treble) are young boys who have been with Olympic for a number of years now and they’re coming through the ranks.“They got a bit of a show this week, they’ve both played [first grade] before and they both did quite well.”

Under 20s Weston won 0-1
Under 18s drew 2-2

NPL Youth
Olympic vs Jets Youth
Under 16s Jets won 3-5
Under 15s Olympic won 4-2
Under 14s Olympic won 3-1
Under 13s Jets won 2-4

Zone League 2
Kahibah vs Olympic
1st Grade Olympic won 5-2
2nd Grade Kahibah won 1-2

Community Juniors
Under 12s Olympic 2-5 Valentine
Under 13s Olympic 4-2 Charlestown
Under 14s Olympic 1-2 Kotara
Under 16s Olympic 1-2 Lambton

Charlestown City Blues 0 def. by Newcastle Jets Youth 1 (Hayes 80’)

Sunday 27th May, 2:30 pm at Lisle Carr Oval

A perfect home record was on the line as Charlestown returned to action after their bye last weekend.

Jets Youth returned from their own weekend abroad in Hong Kong and apparently much better for it securing a hard-fought, gritty win to ensure they kept in touch with the pack.

Young Jet Joseph O’Connor had the first chance of the afternoon in the fifth minute thanks to a whipped ball in from Ryan Goodhew, but Charlestown’s Danny Ireland proved equal to the challenge. Blues leading goal scorer Scott Smith had a golden opportunity to put his side ahead shortly after, but he wasn’t able to beat Noah James one-on-one.

It was thrill-a-minute type stuff at Lisle Carr. In the ninth minute of play, Kieran Hayes was the recipient of an O’Connor cross, but his shot deflected out for a corner.

Smith had another brilliant chance to give Charlestown the lead in the 16th minute, and with just the keeper to beat, Smith managed to uncharacteristically send his shot high and wide.

Jets Youth looked like they may have had a goal in the 33rd minute when Kent Harrison was played through and finished between the legs of Danny Ireland, but Harrison was offside and the play was called back for after a Charlestown foul in the build-up.

The Blues almost opened their account once more in the 39th minute when a deep Matt Tull corner found the head of Daniel Laiman, whose good shot was stopped superbly by James. Jackson Frendo forced a fantastic save from Ireland early in the second half after the Jets man’s dipping free kick.

Jets Youth had a good chance in the 70th minute after an incisive breakaway had Cai Tipaldo and Jack Simmons running at a barebones Charlestown defence. The ball eventually fell to the late-arriving Kieran Hayes, but he wasn’t able to find the back of the net.

Rene Ferguson had a good chance just moments later when he was found free at the back post, but his first touch allowed James to rush out and shut things down.

It was end-to-end stuff, and in the 78th minute, the Jets had a good chance to open their account. A shot from a long way out from Cai Tipaldo was palmed away, and the resulting cross to the back post was headed over the top by Hayes.

Counter-attack looked to be the flavour of the day, and it would pay dividends for the Jets in the 80th minute. An incisive breakaway, a botched interception and a nice ball through from Cai Tipaldo found Hayes. The captain finally found the back of the net, and it was 1-0.

Perhaps the most remarkable moment of the match was to come though – in the 87th minute, Laiman must have thought he equalised after his shot from the edge of the area was hard and true. James dived down to his right and pulled off a save which any keeper in the world would have been pleased with.

Charlestown desperately searched for a winner, and their desperation saw tackles flying in thick and fast. They earned three yellow cards in the final minutes for their enthusiasm.

Despite all the Blues’ pushing on, it was Jets Youth who had the best chance in the final stages. Cai Tipaldo was one-on-one, and went near post but seen his shot hit the post and rebound out. Jack Simmons took the ball to the corner and drew a foul from Kevin Davidson, but the referee decided enough was enough and the Jets were winners.

Charlestown coach David Tanchevski called it a disappointing result.

“We had some really good chances to put the game to bed early, Scott Smith had a couple of really good one-on-one’s, two clear but one-on-ones which he didn’t put away,” said Tanchevski.

“Traditionally in other games, we’d have taken those chances and won, but it wasn’t our day in front of goal and we had more chances in the second half too… we didn’t take them, we threw men forward and conceded one up the other end.

“Disappointing to take when you feel like you should have won the game, but Jets Youth are a good side and they had their chances and played quite well, I was impressed with them.”

The Blues have now lost won just one of their last four matches in the league now, but Tanchevski denied it’s something which he’s worried about.

“We drew with Edgeworth which I’d take any day of the week, we lost to Adamstown which wasn’t expected but they’re in form,” said Tanchevski.

“I’d be concerned if we didn’t play well or create chances, I’m disappointed we didn’t take our chances and if we weren’t creating them I’d be concerned.

“We’re going through a few injuries, middle of the season at the moment so we haven’t been outplayed… we’ve played the top five teams and only lost to one of those teams, so no alarm bells for me at the moment we just need to get back to basics.”


Lambton Jaffas 2 (Crowley 26’, Griffiths 38’) def. Lake Macquarie City 1 (Walker 25’)

Saturday 26th May, 2:30 pm at Arthur Edden Oval

A 25th-minute goal had Lakes ahead early in this one away to Lambton on Saturday afternoon.

Pegged back just moments later and put behind before the turn of the half, the Roosters eventually succumbed to their eighth loss of the season.

Mitch Hunter let off a range-finder in the sixth minute of play as Lakes and Jaffas battled for control early in this match. The visitors were nearly ahead in the eighth minute when a Hunter cross was met by Lambton’s Ridge Mapu, but his own-goal bound effort deflected off another defender and away from danger.

Lakes was enjoying some good field position and they were creating the chances to match. Paul Sichalwe fired one off past the post in the tenth minute of play and Morgan Okeno fired over two minutes later.

Lambton nearly opened the scoring in the 17th minute when Braedyn Crowley found himself with only the keeper to beat but managed only to hit it straight at Stuart Plant. Joel Griffiths wasn’t able to connect with a ball into the box two minutes later, it missed his head by inches.

The deadlock was finally broken in the 26th minute when a Sam Walker shot from some 25 yards out whistled home past Brad Swancott and gave Lakes the lead.

Keen not to stay behind for too long, it took just a minute for Lambton to draw level. Joel Griffiths played Braedyn Crowley in down the right-hand side, and the youngster made no mistake to make the score 1-all.

They’d be level before half-time, and it was again Joel Griffiths who provided the goal. His touchback across the face found brother Ryan, and he scored his sixth league goal of the season and Lambton’s second of the day.

Tom Sparre nearly scored for Lakes in the 60th minute in the aftermath of a corner but his header was straight at the keeper. Braedyn Crowley could have had a second in the 65th minute, but his shot was stopped by a sliding Joey Cacic.

Lakes more than had their chances to score an equaliser towards the death, but the finishing touch just wasn’t there. Tom Walker blazed one over and Tom Sparre had a goal-bound effort deflect wide.

Nor was it there for Lambton – they hit the post through Pat Brown in the 90th minute and had a number of efforts called offside late on. In the end, Jaffas couldn’t extend their advantage, Lakes couldn’t equalise and the match would end 2-1 Lambton.


Edgeworth Eagles 1 (Bower 87’) def. Valentine Phoenix 0

Saturday 26th May, 2:30 pm at Jack McLaughlan Oval

Last time these two teams met just a fortnight ago in the FFA Cup, it was a tight affair with only a solitary goal the difference.

It was a repeat on Saturday night as both sides battled and eventually Edgeworth clawed their way back to the top of the ladder.

Valentine was subjected to an onslaught from the home side in the opening stages of this, and Edgeworth wasn’t threatened. Daniel McBreen hit the post with a wicked shot in the sixth minute which was just inches from bulging the back of the net.

McBreen looked to provide in the 21st minute as he headed down a long ball to Adam Cawley, but his shot went wide. Cawley shanked what looked to be a certain goal in the 26th minute, after some good work from Tyson Jackson down the right-hand side.

Jamie Byrnes had a good chance in the 32nd minute which saw him admonished for not striking through the ball by the Edgeworth coaching staff, but the Eagles were building the pressure and a goal looked inevitable.

Pat Wheeler forced a good low save from Scott Carter in the 37th minute, but a goal looked like it may well have been coming at the other end in the 42nd minute after Josh Evans missed a cross which fell at the back post for Josh Carroll. His shot deflected out, and the resulting corner found the side netting.

The play was halted temporarily in the 57th minute as a sizeable divot deep in the Edgeworth half was attended to by ground staff. Tyson Jackson forced another good save low from Carter ten minutes later, and McBreen made him go high in the 68th.

Valentine should have opened the scoring in the 75th minute. A Christian Kershaw ball across the face of goal fell to Joel Wood at the back post, but he seemed surprised by it and wasn’t able to put enough power on it to send it in.

Josh Low chose to live dangerously in the 78th minute when he received the ball and played it around an onrushing Aaron Niyonkuru. Valentine had a shout for a penalty waved away a minute later, when Matt Paul looked to have been brought down in the area but the ref said nothing doing.

The deadlock looked destined to be broken though and in the 86th it was. A one-two put Will Bower in front of goal, and he managed to slide the ball underneath Scott Carter and put it away to shoot Edgeworth back to the top of the ladder.

Edgeworth boss Damien Zane believed the game should have been over at half-time.

“It’s probably the best half we’ve put together this year, we created heaps and hit the post twice, missed about three open goals and you can’t afford to dominate like that and not bury a team,” said Zane.

“Valentine came out second half and it was a lot tighter, we used up all the time we could to find a winner and it’s a credit to us because we’re good at doing that and finding a way to win

“We should have been up 3-0 at least at half-time and been able to relax, we can’t afford to keep missing those chances (especially) against even better teams.

“It comes down to taking ownership, our defenders are brought in to defend and we’ve kept three clean sheets in a row.

“It’s the attacker’s job to get into the position to score goals and then put them away, we’re getting into positions but we’re not finishing and it comes down to putting your hand up and wanting to be the guy that scores goals.

“If you’re scoring goals, I can guarantee you’re in my starting eleven every week.”

Valentine assistant coach Sam Griffin was frustrated his side didn’t take something away from Jack McLaughlan Oval.

“It’s a bit tough, twice within the space of two weeks we’ve gone down one-nil to Edgeworth at their home ground and possibly should have got something out of ti,” said Griffin.

“We definitely rode our luck in the first 25 minutes or so, Edgy put us under the pump a bit but they didn’t take their chances and towards the end of the game we probably had a couple of chances to win it so not getting anything out of it is a bit of a kick.”

With Valentine last and Edgeworth first on the ladder, most might have been satisfied with the performance but Griffin rued the points surrendered.

“We weren’t happy, we felt we should have got something and in the end, you walk away disappointed.”

Valentine now faces a lengthy stretch on the sidelines, with the bye next weekend and FFA Cup action the following weekend.

For a side with a swag of injuries and a poor first half of the season, it will allow Phoenix to reflect and recharge ahead of the second half.

“It will be a good chance to give a few boys that are running on empty and with illness, minor injuries to get back to 100 percent,” said Griffin.

“Being the midway point of the season, it’s a good chance for us to reset our goals a bit and obviously we’ve made it hard for ourselves in terms of making semi-finals but it’s about looking at what we can achieve for the year.

“We’ve got a bit of a break now and time to reflect, I think we’ll reassess and look at where we want to finish, a points tally and clean sheets and actually set some targets for the end of the year.”


Broadmeadow Magic 0 drew Maitland Magpies 0

Sunday 27th May, 2:30 pm at Magic Park

A win was all but necessary for both sides here – the home side looking to stay top of the table, the visitors needing to reclaim their place in the top four.

In the battle of attrition which ensued, Maitland was able to dig in and prevent a rampant Magic outfit from scoring for the first time this season and pick up a valuable point away from home.

The home side had the first real chance midway through the first half when Shane Paul worked hard to create a chance for Kale Bradbury, but the competition’s equal-leading goal scorer’s shot took a deflection on its way to goal and went for a corner.

Magic lost Takumi Sunada to injury, who went off in the 29th minute after a heavy challenge from Chris Fayers which earned him a yellow card.

Both sides went at one another with neither able to find a real opening, with a Ryan Clarke shot in the 73rd minute flashing wide. Maitland’s Grant Brown had a chance at the front post flash over the crossbar two minutes later.

It was a heart in mouth stuff for Maitland in the 79th minute, as the final 15 minutes blew this match wide open. An under-hit back-pass was pounced on by Kale Bradbury, and Magpies’ keeper Matt Trott had the come 30 yards and slide in superbly to clear the danger.

Returning to the Broadmeadow side off the bench on Sunday, Mitch Oxborrow nearly stole the headlines in the 84th minute with a shot from outside the area which dipped just over the crossbar.

The golden, and perhaps the only clear-cut chance of the afternoon came in the 91st minute when Matt Thompson set Ryan Clarke off. Clarke, who had managed to stay onside, was one-on-one with Paul Bitz but hit his shot straight at the Magic keeper.

John Majurovski was inches off getting his head to a deep cross to the back post, but he wasn’t able to connect. Magic and Maitland shared the points for just the second time in league history.

Magic coach Ruben Zadkovich called it a ‘good game’ despite the scoreless stalemate.

“I thought it was a good game all around from both teams, it was physical and the boys from both sides were ripping in,” said Zadkovich.

“Tactically it was an interesting game, we had most of the ball and most of the play and Maitland set up to counter-attack and be patient; they have quality up front.

“The game went to plan, at the end of the day a draw was probably a fair result… They had the best chance of the game there at the end with (Ryan) Clarkey, but we probably had the better of the play for most of it.

“[Magpies coach Michael] Bolchy is a guy that I have a lot of time for, he knows how to set his teams up hard to beat and he has some quality players as well so I’m happy to have got through with the clean sheet.”

It’s the first time Magic hasn’t scored in the league this season, and Zadkovich wasn’t pleased with the way his attacking players performed.

“I was a little bit disappointed that we didn’t get something at the front end, to be honest, our front five or six were pretty poor,” said Zadkovich.

“It’s a pretty good sign if you can have a nil-all draw but have five or six boys who aren’t playing very well, but it’s not a concern because we have the best attack in the league so we’re certainly not worried.

“Maitland’s back four and two sixes, they [the sixes] screened the back four really well and there wasn’t much space, they protected the space in behind so the credit belongs their back four as well.”


NPL Northern NSW Round 11:Hamilton Olympic travel away to Weston Bears

Weston Bears v Hamilton Olympic

Sunday 27th May, 2:30 pm at Rockwell Automation Park

Just eleven days will have gone by when these two sides meet again on Sunday, and judging by that match this weekend it’s anyone’s game.

That match, a sixth-round FFA Cup clash ended in a 2-0 win to Hamilton but wasn’t a straightforward affair. There have been 25 encounters between these two sides since 2008, and Weston has won ten of them. Hamilton takes bragging rights though with 14 wins and has won the past eight encounters between the two.

The Bears haven’t played since the last time they met Hamilton, thanks to a round nine bye and their round ten match against Jets Youth which was brought forward to May 9th.

Weston won that match against Jets Youth 2-1 but went down to a near full-strength Hamilton side 2-0 last Wednesday. A win on Sunday could take Weston above this weekend’s opponents, and as high as seventh on the ladder.

The likes of Josh Maguire, Cooper Buswell and Kamon Bol weren’t on the team sheet for Weston in their FFA Cup match, while Chris Hurley started on the bench. A side closer to full-strength may give Weston a good chance at a result.

Full-strength is something which Hamilton won’t be at this weekend after yellow cards last Sunday mean Scott Pettit and Simon Mooney are suspended for this clash.

The 4-2 loss to Magic at the weekend brought a halt to a good run of form which Hamilton had built up and denied them a shot to close the gap on the top four.

Peter McGuinness’ side has enjoyed some solid results on the road so far this season, winning four of their five matches away from home across all competitions. They’ll be keen to make it five this weekend.


What the coaches said

Peter McGuinness (Hamilton)

“It doesn’t matter whether it’s 2018 or 2008, it’s always a tough game up there at Weston and they’ve always been very strong at home which is something I don’t expect to be any different this time around.

“The players Weston promoted in the FFA Cup match acquitted themselves well, they were pretty organised, tough to break down and they did a good job which says there’s a bit of depth in the club. They should be a little more experienced this weekend, whether they have more energy than the youngsters maybe, maybe not, but they’ll be certainly much more experienced than they were on that night.

“Rhys Cooper comes back into the squad, but we lose Simon Mooney and Scott Pettit which takes away a fair bit of speed. They’re two pretty quick players up front, they can get forward pretty quick but it takes away a little bit of penetration from us. Jed Hornery will come in as well, he played in the FFA Cup match and he’s coming back through from injury.

“Stuart Musalik will get some game time in the 20s this week which is great for him, great for the club. He’s worked really hard to put himself back in the picture, he’s had a few knockbacks and a few injuries and different things that have gone on, he’s ready to get some minutes this week.”


Hamilton Olympic vs  Newcastle Jets at Darling St Oval on Saturday 26th May

U13s kick off at 10.00am

U14s kick off  at 11.30am

U15s kick off at  1.00 pm

U16s kick off at   2.30pm

 Charlestown City Blues v Newcastle Jets Youth

Sunday 27th March, 2:30 pm at Lisle Carr Oval

Both Charlestown and Jets Youth have had a weekend away from the NPL NNSW pitch, but each spent it vastly differently.

The now third-placed Blues had the bye which pushed them out of top spot, while Jets Youth claimed the Main Plate at the Hong Kong Soccer Sevens.

The history between Charlestown and Jets Youth doesn’t give either an advantage – they’ve each won six each since 2012. The Blues won both matches last season, scoring four times in each encounter.

Without a match in 11 days thanks to the bye, Charlestown will be fresh, fit and keen to get back to the top of the league this weekend. They finished off on a high, beating Valentine 2-0 in the league and progressing to the final eight of the FFA Cup with a 3-1 win over Lakes.

The Blues have relied on a strong defence to carve out their lead at the top, and have conceded just ten goals this season. They have scored the least out of the sides in the top four – just 16.

This weekend will be a good test of where Charlestown are now in the aftermath of the bye. What will encourage them is the best home form in the league – four wins from four games at Lisle Carr Oval.

A large swath of the Jets Youth squad arrived back in Australia early this week after they claimed the Main Plate at the Hong Kong Soccer Sevens over the weekend.

Their trip overseas meant their last match in the NPL NNSW was a fortnight ago at Magic Park, where they went down 4-2. It was their third loss in eight days, but a cup win will have imbued the squad with some confidence.

Kent Harrison is the man to watch up front for Jets Youth. He’s scored six goals in nine matches for the side in the NPL NNSW this season and has double that of his next closest teammate Cai Tipaldo.


What the coaches said

Labinot Haliti (Jets Youth)

“We’ve just come back from Hong Kong and we’ll train again a few times before Sunday, obviously it’s great to play Charlestown because they’ve been the benchmark of the league so far. We’re looking forward to it, it’s great for our boys to be playing teams like that.

“The young kids will see first hand what those experienced boys can do and the benchmark… they’ve got a good side, our boys are looking forward to it and I’m sure it’ll be a good game.

“We haven’t looked too much into Charlestown given we’ve just got back from a massive week in Hong Kong, so it’s been about refreshing and trying to get rid of niggles. As we get closer to the game, we’ll look at more things, where their strengths are… I’ve watched some of Charlestown’s games through the year and there’s a lot of experience there, they totally deserve to be where they are.”

Lambton Jaffas v Lake Macquarie City

Saturday 26th May, 2:30 pm at Arthur Edden Oval

Two sides with contrasting fortunes in recent weeks will be a crucial clash for both Lambton and Lakes as it will be all on the line for them.

In six fixtures between these two sides since 2013, Lakes hasn’t claimed a single win over Lambton. Jaffas has five wins, including a clean sweep with two wins in their two league matches last season.

The defeat last weekend would have left Lambton a long way from the top four and a shot at the premiership, but a rampant first half against Maitland did enough to edge out a 3-2 result.

A swag of attacking ability seems to be doing the trick for Lambton as they look to hit a good run of form. They’ve lost just once in the past five matches and won the other four, and sit just a point outside the top four.

Braedyn Crowley has helped give Lambton a bit of a kick-start since his arrival, with three goals in three league matches. Ryan Griffiths leads their goal-scoring charts with five goals in the league.

Without a win in the league since their round five demolition of Valentine, Lakes are sailing precariously close to the wind at the bottom of the ladder. They’re in tenth, level on points with last-placed Valentine but ahead with a goal difference which is four better.

The Roosters went close last weekend against a high-flying Edgeworth, but were unable to take anything away from the match and went down 2-0. It means they’re only scored once in their past three outings.

It’s not like Lakes are short of goalscorers though – Sam Walker has seven, and Mitch Hunter and Paul Sichalwe each have four. That’s 15 of the side’s 17 goals this season, so chances are if Lakes are to win it will be because of one of these three.

What the coaches said

James Pascoe (Jaffas)

“Lakes are a bit of a handful, they haven’t been disgraced in any of their games and have had a couple of wins, really competitive. We tend to follow them in the draw so I’ve been out and watched a fair bit of Lakes, I think they’re dangerous and have goals in them in Sam Walker and Paul Sichalwe. They’re youthful in big parts of the team which gives them lots of energy and intensity so it will be an interesting game.

“Results have been a little bit frustrating but confidence hasn’t really dropped, we know what we’ve got within our roster and what we haven’t had the opportunity to do is play people week in, week out and get that stability into the starting 11 and even on the training pitch. The more results we can string together the better everyone feels, including the FFA Cup games we’ve won four of the past five now.

“Our top 15 players are all available this weekend, but out of that 15, there are three or four that if they were to start they’d be making only their first or second start of the season. We’ve relied on a core group of about nine payers that have played a lot of minutes, and the other half dozen have only had dribs and drabs because of various reasons.”

Edgeworth Eagles v Valentine Phoenix

Saturday 26th May, 5 pm at Jack McLaughlan Oval

Despite this match standing as a clash between second place and last place, it’s far from a result set in stone as Valentine desperately fight for a positive result ahead of the bye.

In 20 meetings between these two sides since 2008, Edgeworth has won 11 of the encounters. Things were close just last week when the Eagles edged out Valentine 1-0 in their sixth round FFA Cup fixture.

Bouncing back from that shock 1-0 loss to Adamstown in round nine was the goal for Edgeworth at the weekend, and they managed just that with a 2-0 win over Lakes last Saturday.

Just one loss in the past ten for Edgeworth has them sitting level on top, and deservedly so. A side which was gutted by a number of departures at the end of last season has suffered another hit, with goalkeeper Nate Cavaliere heading now to Kingston City in the Victorian NPL.

Cavaliere has helped Edgeworth take the mantle of one the best defensive sides in the competition, a position which they’ve adopted again this season conceding just 12 goals in nine games. Josh Low will now step up as the side’s first-choice goalkeeper, and with two clean sheets in his Edgeworth’s last two matches looks a worthy replacement.

Contrasting fortunes for Valentine has them sat down in last-place and with the least amount of goals of any side in the competition (ten) they may be hard-pressed to find one this weekend.

Just the one goal last Sunday in a 2-1 loss to Adamstown which prevented them from moving away from the bottom spot, but it could have been two and a point if the finishing had been slightly improved.

One man on whom Valentine lean on for goals is striker Joel Wood, who missed last weekend through injury. If a return is on the cards for him this weekend, he’ll need to have his eye in and make the most of any chances which come his way. Zac Sneddon and Chris Brown are also in line to return.

What the coaches said:
Damien Zane (Edgeworth)

“A few people said to me after the cup match against Valentine ‘they’re not a bad team’, and I know that the boys didn’t take that match easier. They’re a team which has lacked a bit of luck and have been unlucky not to get a result or two and at the moment it’s probably what’s separating the league… we won’t be underestimating them.

“It’s a good opportunity for Nate [Cavaliere], we knew about it [the move to Kingston City] and Josh Low has had two games, the cup and the NPL game and has kept two clean sheets, he had a decent start and we’ve been prepared. When someone moves along, someone moves up into that spot and we have every faith that Josh is ready.

“We told Josh that next season was yours but it’s happened early, he has been very good this year and has improved more than we expected, and he’s probably ready now. Dylan Holz trained Tuesday so we’re hoping he’ll be back in this weekend, Aaron Oppedisano next week and Mitch Dobson next weekend.”

Sam Griffin (Valentine assistant)

“It’ll be same old Edgy, they’ll be high tempo and up in your face and getting forward quickly, which everyone wants to do but they just seem to execute it better than most. We were reasonably successful in the FFA Cup playing quite direct against them, I think we were unlucky not to push them a little further so we’ll probably try to play similar and cause enough problems to get something out of it.

“The performance against Edgeworth in the FFA Cup will give us confidence, to walk away disappointed against the premier team in the competition because we didn’t get something out of it because we felt we could have got something out of it is the best way we can take a loss.

“Touch wood, all three (Brown, Sneddon and Wood) will make an appearance, as long as they get through training on Thursday night. It’d be really good to see Chris Brown back on the park, he lifts everyone because he’s that good a bloke that everyone wants to play with him and be around him.

“He’s so passionate about the game and about Valentine that he lifts the other players on the field, and training as well the level increases and it’s another steady head at a crucial time in the game. He’ll be invaluable.”

Broadmeadow Magic v Maitland Magpies

Sunday 27th May, 2:30 pm at Magic Park

There’s an outside chance that Maitland could jump Magic into first place with a win on Sunday, but it’s certainly a tall order.

This weekend’s home side has the advantage when you look at the history between the two since they’ve shared the NPL NNSW stage. Broadmeadow has won five of their six encounters, but Maitland’s sole victory was that 7-1 battering at Magic Park last year.

Seven wins on the trot now for Magic has them flying, equal leaders with Edgeworth and Charlestown but Broadmeadow is the side which currently sits atop on the top of the ladder thanks to a superior goal difference.

26 goals in nine games is the best output of any side in the league, four of those coming in the 4-2 win over Hamilton last weekend. It means Magic now boast the two top scorers in the league – James Virgili and Kale Bradbury both have eight goals each.

Last time Maitland and Magic left, Virgili scored one and Mitch Oxborrow also got one in what was his last match for Broadmeadow before he signed for Brisbane Roar. His return this weekend would strengthen an already solid Magic side.

It could have been a four-way dead heat at the top last weekend, but an injury-hit Maitland stumbled and went down 3-2 at the hands of a classy Lambton outfit. The Magpies are now sit in fourth, three points from the top spot and one clear of fifth place.

Those injured men included attacking weapon Ryan Clarke, and now there’s confirmation that Josh Dutton-Black has ruptured his ACL and is out for the season after he went down early in the first half.

One aspect of Maitland’s season which is less than stellar so far is their record against the league’s big sides. They’ve lost matches against Charlestown, Edgeworth, and Lambton so far this year.

What the coaches said

Michael Bolch (Maitland)

“Magic are the form team of the comp at the moment, I think they’ve won their past eight including the FFA Cup, scored the most goals and conceded the least so they’re obviously buzzing but realistically we’ve got to deal with their front three. Bradbury and [James] Virgili are leading goalscorers at the moment, Dino is doing well too.

“They seem to dominate teams that leave space in behind by using their pace, so we’ve just got to be wary and switched on as to how high a line we play, and the boys have to be mindful of their roles for the 90 minutes. We’ve got to do the one percenters, they punish mistakes and they’re very good in transition, chasing the ball, and counter-attacking really quickly.

“The losses to those teams in the top five is not a concern at this stage, I’ve noticed it myself and coming towards the end of the year I’ be a lot more concerned. You need to beat those guys to be in the semis and the run we’ve got coming into the semis is Magic, Jaffas, all those sorts of sides. We’re probably just a little bit off those two or three sides at this point in the year, we need to be better in key areas.

“Josh [Dutton-Black] has ruptured his ACL and he’ll be out for the season. It’s a big loss, he’s been good and has been doing quite well. We get Grant Brown back [on Sunday] thanks to work commitments, Mat Swan is still out after a knock he picked up against Lake Macquarie [in round nine], and Alex Read and Ryan Clarke are probably 50/50.”