NPL Men’s NNSW Round Two Review: The Bears dominate the Magpies with wonder strike, while the Pheonix fly high over New Lambton

Match of the Round 
Weston Workers FC 5-1 Maitland FC

Weston has kicked off their season with a bang, defeating Maitland 5-1 in the El Clásicoal derby at Rockwell Automation Park on Saturday night. 

The match looked to be an even contest at first, but Maitland was unable to hold on after going down to 10 men early in the second half. 

Christopher Hatfield opened the scoring for the Bears in the 13th minute after receiving a through ball. The striker was able to wrong-foot the Maitland defenders and strike the ball past Magpies goalkeeper Taylor Pate and into the back of the net. 

Maitland brought the scoreline back level in the 27th minute, with a well-controlled hit from captain Braedyn Crowley.  

But the Bears were able to edge ahead just before half-time with what can only be described as a wonder strike from Aaron Niyonkuru. The striker's goal could already be crowned as the goal of the season after round two, with an acrobatic bicycle kick in the penalty area that screamed into the back of the net. 

The momentum continued to sway in the Bears’ favour in the second half, with Maitland’s Regan Lundy receiving a red card for a late tackle on Cooper Sargent in the 48th minute.

Things went from bad to worse for the Magpies, conceding an own goal in the 52nd minute to take the score to 3-1. Weston took a free kick from outside the penalty area that hit the post straight into Maitland player Jordan Jackson who knocked the ball straight into the goal. 

Five minutes later the Bears struck again through new signing Blake Archbold. Sargent beat two Maitland defenders, tip-toeing with the ball along the byline before cutting it back to Archbold who struck the ball low and hard into the back of the net. 

In the 88th minute, substitution Thomas Duggan sealed the deal for Weston, receiving the ball from over the top of his defenders to go one-on-one with Pate and slicing the ball into the bottom corner of the goal. 

Weston coach Kew Jaliens was not entirely pleased with his side’s performance in the first half but took a lot of positives from the match. 

“I would rate our side at a 6,” Jaliens said. 

“I wasn’t happy with the team performance in the first half, but we played better in the second half and had more control, especially after their red card. 

“Individually we did well and we scored some great goals so I am happy with that. The goals from Chris and Aaron were top-class. 

“I was impressed with our scoring ability and the amount of chances that we created.

The Bear’s gaffer was thrilled to be able to achieve their main focus coming into the match, which was to come away with all three points.

“It’s very important to get three points to start the season,” Jaliens said.

“A win will always boost confidence.” 

The Bears will look to claim back-to-back victories when they play their rescheduled fixture against Edgeworth FC on Wednesday night before they host Newcastle Olympic this weekend. 

Maitland will be desperate to turn things around when they face New Lambton at Alder Park on Saturday afternoon.  

New Lambton FC 0-3 Valentine FC

New Lambton FC was unable to pick up their first points of the season, going down 0-3 to Valentine FC on Saturday afternoon. 

The Phoenix picked up back-to-back wins to kick-start their season, with another strong team performance against the Golden Eagles. 

Nick Cowburn opened the scoring in the 28th minute for the Phoenix. Nicholas Martinelli hit a powerful strike towards the goal only to be saved by goalkeeper Shayne Van As. But the clearance ricocheted off a New Lambton defender and into the path of Cowburn, who cleanly hit the ball low and hard into the back of the net. 

The Phoenix went into the sheds with the 1-0 advantage before Cowburn struck again just seconds into the second half. Sakeel Balfour Brown charged down the field with the ball towards goal before offloading it to Cowburn who blasted the ball into the top of the goal. 

Just five minutes later, Valentine tripled their advantage to secure all three points with Brown switching from provider to goal-scorer. New Lambton were unable to clear the ball out of their half, with Brown snatching possession and slicing the ball into the bottom corner of the net. 

Valentine’s coach Adam Hughes was pleased with his side’s performance and their ability to keep a clean sheet for a second week in a row.  

“It was good to get a result, especially with the difficult wind and weather conditions in the first half,” Hughes said. 

“I think the team stayed well organised and disciplined.  They were able to control the game and score in the right moments.

“We were in control for a long period of the game. 

“We have galvanized what our roles are and have been disciplined in defence.”

Hughes has been impressed with the quality of the younger players in the squad and how well everyone is gelling together but still has key areas he wants his side to work on.

“Youth players are given a big chance within the club and we need to keep giving them opportunities,” Hughes said. 

“Credit to the players on the park and the way that they have been gelling together. 

“Of course there are a lot of areas that we need to continue to work on but it will keep evolving.

“We will just concentrate on ourselves and keep raising the bar to set standards.” 

The Phoenix will look to make it three wins on the trot when they travel to take on Adamstown Rosebud, while New Lambton will hope to bounce back when they host Maitland FC.  

Newcastle Olympic 1-1 Edgeworth FC

Newcastle Olympic and Edgworth FC were forced to share the points, in a tension-filled 1-1 draw at Darling Street Oval on Saturday afternoon. 

The drama began from the first whistle after Olympic were reduced to 10 men in the first minute of the match. 

Olympic defender Jacob Pepper was given his marching orders after fouling Keanu Moore, preventing a goal-scoring opportunity as the last man. 

Edgeworth capatlised on the one-man advantage, with Jordan Lennon smashing a long-range strike into the bottom of the net in the 28th minute. 

But less than ten minutes later the Eagles were also reduced to 10 men, after Flynn Goodman received a red card for a dangerous tackle. 

Olympic was able to equalise after being awarded a penalty for a foul inside the box on Lachlan West. Joseph Langlois calmly converted the kick from the spot bringing the score to 1-1.

The Eagles took a further blow in the 92nd minute Lennon was sent from the pitch for bringing down Jed Hornery as the last defender.

Olympic will look to secure their second win of the season when they travel to Rockwell Automation Oval to face Weston Workers.

Edgeworth will return home to face Weston Workers this Wednesday in their postponed round one fixture before going head-to-head with Lambton Jaffas on Saturday.  

Adamstown Rosebud FC 0-3 v Charlestown Azzurri FC

Adamstown Rosebud FC have started their 2024 campaign with defeat, after going down 0-3 to Charlestown Azzurri on Saturday evening. 

The Blues proved too strong against Rosebud’s new-look side with Rene Ferguson scoring a hat-trick to secure all three points for his side.

Ferguson opened the scoring for Azzurri in the 13th minute, tapping in a well-placed cross in from teammate Quinton Phillips-Tapsell. 

In the 38th minute, Ferguson netted his second of the afternoon sliding onto the end of a powerful cross from Dean Pettit.  

Ferguson thought he had scored a hat-trick in the stoppage period of the first half but he was ruled offside. 

Azzurri finally scored their third goal of the afternoon and secured all three points in the 70th minute. Ferguson switched from goal scorer to provider, heading the ball into the path of fellow attacker Harrison Fendo, who charged forward with the ball. 

Fendo’s strike took a touch off Rosebud goalkeeper Stuart Plant but the shot was too powerful, sailing into the back of the net. 

Adamstown will look to regroup when they play their rescheduled round one fixture against Broadmeadow Magic on Tuesday night before returning home to host Valentine FC on Saturday.

Charlestown Azzurri will return home to Lisle Carr Oval to take on Lake Macquarie City FC on Sunday afternoon.  

Lake Macquarie City FC 1-4 Broadmeadow Magic FC 

Lake Macquarie City FC was unable to hold on in the second half after being downed 1-4 by Broadmeadow Magic on Saturday night. 

The young Roosters’ side held 2023 grand finalists to a 1-1 draw in the first half for the second week in a row but let things slip in the second stanza.

Magic’s men opened the scoring through James Cresnar in the 35th minute. The ball pinballed around the box and into Cresnar’s path, who made no mistake in striking the ball low and hard into the back of the net. 

But Lakes quickly responded minutes later Cade Thomas used his pace to stream down the pitch and hit the ball at the goal. The ball deflected off a Magic defender, sending goalkeeper Lewis Alverez the wrong way and evening the scoreline for the Roosters. 

Broadmeadow’s captain Jeremy Wilson made his debut for the 2024 coming on in the 46th minute after being sidelined for an extended period with an injury. Wilson and vice-captain Jayden Stewardson’s introduction to the game made a strong impact on the match, with Magic scoring just 10 minutes later. 

Bailey Wells and Stewardson put their names on the scoresheet for Broadmeadow to break the deadlock in the 56th and 61st minute. 

Luke Corcoran put the cherry on top for Magic in the 90th minute, heading the ball into the back of the net to secure all three points for his side. 

Magic will hope to continue their winning form when they host Adamstown Rosebud in their rescheduled round one fixture on Tuesday night before travelling to face Cooks Hill on Saturday. 

Lake Macquarie will look to bounce back against Charlestown Azzurri on Sunday afternoon.  

Lambton Jaffas FC 4-1 Cooks Hill United FC 

Lambton Jaffas have started the season with back-to-back wins after defeating Cooks Hill United 4-1 on Sunday afternoon at No.2 Sportsground. 

The game started rather open, with each team having opportunities before the momentum shifted into the Jaffas’ favour as they were awarded two penalties in the first half. 

Cooks Hill’s goalkeeper Daniel Eisenhauer came sprinting out off his line to collect the ball in the 21st minute but missed the ball and collected Lambton’s Kale Bradbery instead resulting in a penalty. Bradbery made no mistake in slotting the ball cleanly into the bottom left corner. 

Cookers Alexander Hilton’s late tackle on Bailey Newton inside the penalty area in the 3rd minute of stoppage time allowed Bradbery to net his second of the afternoon, doubling the Jaffas' advantage heading into half-time. 

Newton got his name on the scoresheet just minutes into the second half, tapping in a cross from Benjamin Hay. 

Lambton secured all three points, with Nikolai Topor-Stanley scoring their fourth and final goal of the afternoon in the 63rd minute. 

Cooks Hill attempted to make a late comeback for the second week in a row, with a strong strike from Cody Nancarrow. 

But it was a little too late once again with Chris Zoricich’s side leaving empty-handed. 

Lambton will look to make it three wins on the trot when they travel to Jack McLaughlan Oval to take on Edgeworth FC, while Cooks Hill will continue to search for their first points of the season when they host Broadmeadow Magic on Saturday.