With round one of the NPL Northern NSW Men’s season washed out across the board, we immediately turned our heads to round two, which resulted in some tight affairs.
This season of the NPL in Newcastle has kicked off different from many previous instalments. Instead of the usual suspects battering teams in the first round, there wasn’t a single game with a goal difference greater than one, proving that the league has the potential to be shaken up entirely this season.
Kick360 has all the details you need to know about the past weekend of nail-biting Novocastrian football.
Cooks Hill United 0-0 Maitland FC
The 2022 season opened on Friday night, with the newcomer’s Cooks Hill hosting the high-flying Maitland Magpies at No. 2 Sportsground, the Cookers’ temporary home.
The game’s first real chance came in the 29th minute for Maitland. Lachlan Webb played a brilliant lobbed through ball to returning player Braedyn Crowley from Bentleigh Greens. Virtually uncontested and one-on-one with Cooks Hill goalkeeper Lachlan Watson, Crowley hits the outside of the post, resulting in a goal kick.
Controversy prevailed in the 36th minute. After what looked like a brilliant piece of defensive work from Tom Smart, slide tackling a through ball that was for Maitland danger-man James Thompson, Smart was shown red and forced to sit out the rest of the match in the stands. Cooks Hill were down to 10-men for the last fifty-five minutes of football.
Ten minutes into the second half, James Thompson managed to find himself in some space on the 6-yard box after some fancy footwork. Struck with the left boot, Thompson hits it straight into Watson, and the ball was eventually cleared.
The deadlock could not be broken despite the discrepancy in numbers between the sides, resulting in a relatively surprising nil-all draw.
Adamstown Rosebud 0-1 Edgeworth FC
David v. Goliath.
Arguably the most disappointing NPL team in recent years hosted the most successful in what was a sure win for the Eagles.
A sure win it was not.
In a game dominated by a flurry of corners and spectacular goalkeeping from both sides, no side could break the deadlock until the 86th minute when Dylan Holz found last year’s top goalscorer, Jeremy Brockie, in wide-open space. The former New Zealand International did not hesitate and calmly slotted the ball across the keeper into the bottom right-hand corner.
Keep an ear out for Anthony Wood of Adamstown Rosebud. The striker will score a few goals this season and should have on Saturday if it weren’t for Joshua Low.
Broadmeadow Magic 1-2 Newcastle Olympic
The ‘Match of the Round’. The ‘Red-Blue Derby’. This fixture had a multitude of titles and stories leading up to the game.
The past few derbies between these clubs have been dominated by the ever-strong Magic, winning the last four convincingly.
But this one had a different tone to it. Over the off-season, Magic had lost a plethora of key players, namely Luke and James Virgili, Mitch Rooke, and Mat Hoole. While on the contrary, Olympic have improved, signing Adam Pearce, Chan Yelchan, Jarrod Dodds, and Jackson Burston.
Jacob Dowse gave Magic the first look-in, hitting a low cross from Bailey Wells first time straight into the feet of Adam Pearce.
The second stanza provided all the action.
In the 52nd minute, Chan Yelchan found himself with his back to the sideline and three Magic players between him and the goals. Deciding to take the challenge, Yelchan dribbled past Oppedisano toward the goal and made light work of captain Jeremy Wilson with some impressive footwork. He finished the recital by drilling the ball straight past Broadmeadow keeper Nate Cavaliere into the back of the net.
Magic equalised in the 85th minute, thanks to some magnificent build-up play. Jake Harris managed to whip a pin-point ball while heavily smothered into unmarked substitute Damon Green who finished on the volley, taking a deflection off Pearce into the side netting. To Broadmeadow fans’ despair, Olympic were given a free-kick near the corner of the 18-yard box in injury time. Up steps substitute Jared Muller, who slots it into the top right corner giving Olympic their first Derby win in two and a half years.
Lake Macquarie City 1-1 Charlestown Azzurri
A couple of recognisable faces to A-Leagues fans featured in this match. Both playing for Azzurri, Nigel Boogaard and Jacob Melling were the talismans behind Charlestown getting away with a point.
‘Scrappy’ is the only word that could describe the game’s theme.
The opening goal wasn’t until the 82nd minute when Charlestown player Callum Bower guided a well-placed cross into the net with a flying header.
It was not to be for Charlestown. Goalkeeper Nathan Archbold took out the Lake Macquarie attacker in the box five minutes later. Dylan Burston sent Archbold the wrong way, slotting the ball into the left side of the goal.
Weston Workers vs Lambton Jaffas was postponed.
Valentine FC had a bye.