NPL Men’s NNSW Round Five Review: Cooks Hill break the Phoenix’s winning streak, while the Roosters defeat New Lambton

Match of the Round 
Cooks Hill United FC 1-1 Valentine FC

Cooks Hill’s coach Chris Zoricich is pleased to get off the mark and knock Valentine FC off the top of the table in a 1-1 draw. 

The home side came from behind to score a late equaliser from a penalty to secure their first point of the season. 

The Phoenix kicked off the scoring in the sixth minute at Fearnley Dawes Athletics Field through Nick Cowburn as he netted his sixth goal of the season. 

Cowburn hit a wonder strike from outside the penalty box after he ran onto a cutback pass from teammate Nicholas Martinelli and curled the ball past Daniel Eisenhauer and into the back of the net. 

The strike takes Cowburn to the top of the golden boot race with six goals, equal with two other players. 

The two sides created multiple goal-scoring opportunities, but neither could increase the scoreline until late in the second half.

Valentine looked to have secured all three points before Cooks Hill was given the chance to equalise when they were awarded a penalty in the 85th minute. 

Cooks Hill attacker Cody Nancarrow was brought down in the penalty area by Carl Thornton. 

Nancarrow calmly converted from the spot and saw Brodie Volkiene concede Valentine’s first goal of the season. 

Cooks Hill had a chance to win the game in the final minute of the match but the ball hit the crossbar, which saw the two sides share the points.

Zoricich was happy to finally secure a point after a tough start to their 2024 campaign and that his side slotted the first goal past Valentine this season.

“It was good to get our first point of the season,” Zoricich said. 

“Valentine is a very good side and it was very positive that we were the first team to score against them.

“I think we are slightly disappointed with the effort we put in and what we got out of the game. We could have won the game right at the end but the keeper made a good save.

“We were again very close to grabbing all three points.” 

Cooks Hill’s coach hoped that the result could push the momentum of his side in the right direction and pick up some much-needed results.

“It’s good to get a bit of momentum, we would have liked to keep going again this week but we will keep working on things and look to pick up our first three points when we come back,” Zoricich said. 

“We need to start games better and get on the front foot.

“We just need to change our fortune around.” 

Valentine coach Adam Hughes was pleased with his side’s mentality and their ability to continue their unbeaten streak. 

“Our start was great, we started the game well and then plateaued a little bit after this,” Hughes said. 

“There was a lot of determination out there protecting our penalty area and space around the area not to concede which I liked.

“The resilience we showed throughout the match was evident even though we weren’t at our previous levels on the day.”

Hughes said that his side’s confidence is still high after their winning streak was broken and credited returned A-League veteran Cowburn in the boost he brings to his side.

“We continue working on parts of our game, it’s very early in the season we have things we need to build on but confidence doesn’t change as we have a playing group who are together and believe in each other,” Hughes said. 

“Nick is a top talent. 

“He (Cowburn) is a fantastic guy to have in the group and a real leader on and off the pitch impacting games with his goals and general play and help guiding the young players around him. 

“It’s a pleasure working with him and seeing him drive our standards within the playing group.” 

Valentine slipped from first on the table to fourth and will hope to secure another win after the long weekend break from the competition when they return home to face Edgeworth FC.

Cooks Hill fell to the bottom of the table with one point and will hope to build on their performance when they face New Lambton FC after the Easter break.  

Lambton Jaffas 1-0 Newcastle Olympic

The 2023 premiers and champions Lambton Jaffas kept the good times rolling after a 1-0 victory over Newcastle Olympic on Sunday afternoon. 

Kale Bradbery scored his sixth goal of the season to secure the Jaffas’ fifth win from as many matches and help them stay in the race for the top of the table. 

The Jaffas started the match strongly and created multiple chances early in the match before they broke ahead in the 15th minute after they were awarded a penalty. Olympic’s Kane Treble brought Jimmy Oates down inside the penalty area with a push in the back which resulted in the spot kick for the home side. 

Bradbery stepped up to the spot and made no mistake, with a low and hard ball into the bottom corner of the net.

Despite numerous goal-scoring opportunities created by the two teams, Olympic was unable to claw their way back into the match and Jaffas could not extend their lead, as the score remained 1-0 at the final whistle. 

The win saw Jaffas move up the table into second on equal nine points with league leaders Charlestown Azzurri and Broadmeadow Magic who sit in third place. 

Olympic has slipped down into sixth on the table with seven points, equal with fifth place Maitland FC. 

Jaffas will look to continue their undefeated streak after this weekend off when they travel to Cooks Square Park to face Maitland FC, while Olympic will hope to bounce back when they go head-to-head with Broadmeadow Magic in two weekend’s time. 

Edgeworth FC 0-2 Charlestown Azzurri

Charlestown Azzurri finished round five at the top of the table after defeating Edgeworth FC 2-0 on Saturday afternoon. 

The Blues showed their class and composure once again, with another strong performance against the Eagles at Jack McLaughlan Oval. 

The woodwork saved the Eagles twice early in the first half before Azzurri finally broke the deadlock in the 30th minute.

Charlestown was awarded a penalty when Edgeworth goalkeeper Ben Conway fouled Harrison Fendo inside the penalty area. Rene Ferguson converted from the spot to secure his sixth goal of the season. 

Ferguson struck for the second time to double his side’s advantage in the 62nd minute with help from Fendo once again. Fendo whipped the ball into the penalty area and onto the striker’s foot as he slid in and put the ball past Conway. 

Edgeworth continued to push until the final whistle but was unable to put the ball into the back of the net.

The Eagles will be desperate to bounce back as the result saw them slide down to ninth on the table with two points.

When the competition resumes after the Easter long weekend, Edgeworth will face undefeated Valentine FC away from home. Charlestown will be eager to continue their form when they return home to host Weston Workers FC.  

New Lambton FC 1-2 Lake Macquarie City FC

Lake Macquarie City FC finally broke their losing streak, defeating New Lambton FC 2-1 on Saturday afternoon. 

The Roosters started on the front foot as they created multiple chances in the first half but were unable to capatlise with the two sides locked up at 0-0 at half-time.

Lakes finally broke the deadlock two minutes into the second half, when Shukurani Sunzu curled the ball from outside the penalty area past Killian McCarthy and into the top right corner of the goal. 

Sunzu struck again six minutes later after he headed a free kick from outside the penalty area straight into the back of the net. 

Josh Piddington clawed one back for the Golden Eagles in the 83rd minute with a soaring header into the goal but they ran out of time to find the equaliser, with all three points handed to the visitors. 

The win moved Lakes up from the bottom of the table into eighth position with three points, while New Lambton has slid down into eleventh with one point.  

The Roosters will look to continue their momentum when the competition resumes after the Easter long weekend when they return home to host Adamstown Rosebud, while New Lambton will hope to bounce back when they face Cooks Hill United.  

Maitland FC 1-1 Adamstown Rosebud FC

Maitland FC and Adamstown Rosebud FC were forced to share the points in a cagey 1-1 draw. 

The Magpies returned to Cooks Square Park for the first time this season off the back of two wins and came from behind to secure another crucial point against Rosebud on Saturday. 

Adamstown broke the deadlock in the 40th minute after they were awarded a penalty. A ball was curled into the penalty area and hit Maitland defender Jordan Jackson’s extended arm. 

Captain Dino Fajkovic calmly converted from the spot and launched the ball into the top left corner of the net. 

Regan Lundy scored the equaliser for Maitland in the 80th minute, with a smart one-two play with James Thompson to get himself in behind Adamstown’s defence and put the ball past Stuart Plant. 

The draw sees Maitland move up one place on the table into fifth on seven points, six points away from Valentine FC who sit in fourth and Rosebud remains tenth.

After the weekend break in the competition for Easter, the Magpies face a tough test as they host Lambton Jaffas while Adamstown travel to Macquarie Field to take on Lake Macquarie City FC.  

Weston Workers FC 2-3 Broadmeadow Magic 

Broadmeadow Magic continue their winning momentum after a crucial win over Weston Workers FC on Saturday night. 

Alexander Rose opened the scoring at Rockwell Automation Park in the 14th minute, after he tapped a cross ball in from Jarred Baker. 

Bailey Wells doubled Magic’s advantage ten minutes later when Rose switched from goal scorer to provider as he crossed the ball into the penalty area into the run of Wells who made no mistake and hit the back of the net. 

Baker got his own name on the scoreboard in the 51st minute when he received the ball unmarked in the penalty area and smashed it past goalkeeper Gerard Roebuck.

Weston was awarded a penalty in the 70th minute when Thomas Duggan was fouled inside the penalty area. Aaron Niyonkuru calmly converted from the spot to help get his side back in the game. 

The Bears clawed one back in the 92nd minute with a glancing header from substitute Connor Evans off a Niyonkuru that sailed into the back of the net to reduce the scoreline to 3-2.

But it was too little too late for the home side as the result was their third loss in five matches. Weston remains seventh on the table with four points and is three points shy of the top six sides.

The result moves Magic into third position on the table on equal points with the top two sides in a tight battle for the top spot early in the season. 

After the Easter break, Broadmeadow will host Newcastle Olympic at home and Weston will travel to Lisle Carr Oval to face league leaders Charlestown Azzurri.