NNSW NPL ROUND 21: Hamilton Olympic have a bye

1st Grade bye
Under 20s bye

⚽️Under 18s Olympic vs Mid North Coast
Sunday at LMRFF
Kick off 4.30pm

NPL Youth
Charlestown City vs Olympic
Saturday at Lisle Carr Oval
⚽️Under 16s kick off 2.30pm
⚽️Under15s kick off 12.50pm
⚽️Under 14s kick off 11.10am
⚽️Under 13s kick off 9.30am

Zone League 2
Olympic vs Hunter Simba
Saturday at Tech College
⚽️1st Grade kick off 2.30pm
⚽️2nd Grade Kick off 12.45pm
A win for 2nd Grade will crown the Premiers!

Community Junior Major Semi Finals

⚽️Over 35s Olympic vs Nelson Bay
Friday kick off 8.00pm at Seaham/Bowthorne

⚽️Under 12/A Olympic vs Lambton
Saturday kick off 9.00am at Tilligerry

SAP 9s and SAP 10s
Olympic vs Broadmeadow
Sunday at Darling Street

Matches kicking off at 10.00am.

source:  Tom Tsamouras

Hamilton Olympic prove a tough nut for Newcastle Jets

It was the perfect hit-out just under a week before a crucial FFA Cup clash, with the Newcastle Jets running out 2-0 winners over NPL Northern NSW opposition, Hamilton Olympic.

There were debuts for a number of youngsters as well as Irishman, Wes Hoolahan, plus a first-ever starting berth for Abdiel Arroyo.

A healthy crowd turned out at Darling Street Oval to witness the enthralling clash, in which Hamilton put up a gritty fight. 

Newcastle started the game in red hot fashion, with the front four of Nick Fitzgerald, Abdiel Arroyo, Wes Hoolahan, and Dimi Petratos combining to see the latter produce a shot on target inside 20 seconds.

The game settled into a fairly even rhythm, with the Jets controlling territory but a resolute and determined Olympic side were fighting for every opportunity.

The 12th minute saw the game’s next real chance when Hamilton fumble off an Abdiel Arroyo shot set up Nick Fitzgerald from close range, but desperate defending saw his shot deflect out for aa corner.

A new-look back four of Matt Millar, Pat Langlois, Johnny Koutroumbis, and Jason Hoffman (from right to left) stood tall for the duration, laying the foundation for some effective play through the midfield.

It was one of those men – Koutroubmis – who opened the scoring for Newcastle in the 25th minute. He hit a blistering shot from outside the areas in the afters of a corner, which kept low through a sea of legs to ripple the back of the net.

A little under a minute later, the Jets were in again as Jason Hoffman broke down the left-hand side and delivered a low, pinpoint ball which Abdiel Arroyo was never going to miss.

Chances proved few as the half wore on and the second half began, the best of them a chance to Nick Fitzgerald who rounded the ‘keeper and got a shot off from a tight angle – the post denied him.

The 53rd-57th minute saw Ernie Merrick make a total of nine changes, with the only players from the starting XI to remain on the pitch Pat Langlois and Lewis Italiano. Italiano would eventually be substituted in the 71st minute and replaced by Keegan Hughes.

Among the boys who came on were Kosta and Maki Petratos, as well as first-team debuts for Tom Beecham, Jackson Frendo, and Joey O’Connor.

The evening’s number 45, Joey O’Connor, had a chance in the 65th minute when he found himself in a good yet tight position, but his shot went across the face.

There were a smattering of chances at either end as the game wore down, but neither side were able to add to the scoreline and it finished 2-0.

What Ernie Merrick said

On the playing style: 

“Our key players, our 14 or 15 starting-type players that we have, I wanted them all to have a good run, especially in that first half.

“We worked on our gameplan, we knew how the other team were going to play but that wasn’t of any concern, it was about making sure we compress the middle third when we didn’t have the ball and they were playing out, and winning the ball in the middle third through pressing.

“When we get to a reset position, pressing to win the ball, and then playing forward from there. Not always counter-attacking, but trying to get forward reasonably quickly and the boys did it extremely well. I’m very happy with it.”

On the opposition:

“It wasn’t easy – the Hamilton boys were up for it.”

“They’re very fit, they’ve had a long season and we’re in pre-season. They made it very competitive for us and it’s a credit to them, they kept us to the two goals.”

On faces new and old:

“I was very happy with Matt Ridenton and Steve Ugarkovic in the middle, Dimi [Petratos] linking a lot with our new players in Wes [Hoolahan] and Abidel Arroyo. He [Arroyo] was making some great runs in behind.

“Nick [Fitzgerald] showed, he almost scored just after half-time, he’s getting the hang of the way we play.

“I feel as though the new players have grasped the way we play, our gameplan, and they’re working really well at ball-winning and short, sharp passing, which was very good.”

On a new-look backline:

“Jason Hoffman, I could play him anywhere, even in goals I think he’d do a job for us. Jason is an athlete, he was up and down and continually getting forward and working on the left-hand flank with Nick… as was Matty [Millar] on the right.

“We’ve got several really good attacking fullbacks, and Jason shows that he can play there and do a good job.

“The special two, Johnny [Koutroumbis] and Pat [Langlois], I thought they were outstanding as centre-backs. The special two. Lewis [Italiano] was solid behind them, didn’t have a lot to do, but Johnny and Pat were terrific.

“Pat is coming on in leaps and bounds, I reckon I could play him just about anywhere and in any position.”

source: http://www.newcastlejets.com.au

HAMILTON OLYMPIC ANNUAL JUNIOR PRESENTATION DAY

Hamilton Olympic FC will be holding their ANNUAL JUNIOR PRESENTATION DAY for our Community Juniors UNDER 5/ 6s/ 7s,/ 8s, SAP UNDER 9s, SAP UNDER 10s, NET UNDER 11s, 12s, and Community Under 15A:

      WHEN-  Saturday, 14th  September, 2019

      WHERE- Darling Street Oval

       TIME– Starts at 10.00am

There will be  jumping castle for the younger children operating from 10.00am till 1.00pm, with other various activities on the main ground.

All PLAYERS will be given a LUNCH TOKEN for either a SAUSAGE SIZZLE or HOT CHIPS, and a soft drink/ water by their coach or manager.  

The canteen will run as normal for any parents that would like to purchase a schnitzel/ steak drinks etc.  

COACHES/ MANAGERS/ PARENTS- as is tradition, we will hold our Annual Parents v Coaches/Managers match at about 11.15am.  Please bring your football boots if you are keen for a run. We will provide shorts and football jersey!!

 ACTUAL PRESENTATION– Will begin at approximately 12.15pm. If you are unable to attend, please contact your team manager/ coach prior.

Please join the club in celebrating another wonderful year of Junior Football with Hamilton Olympic FC.

If you have any questions/ queries, please contact me by email or phone.

Regards,

Con Gounis

Secretary

HOFC

Newcastle Jets prepare for the A League with a trial game against Hamilton Olympic

This Thursday night, 15th August, all are welcome to come and see Hamilton Olympic  1st Grade take on the Newcastle Jets Seniors “under the lights” at Darling Street Oval, with a 7.00pm kick.

Coming off a big win in our “derby match” against Broadmeadow Magic on Sunday, the locals will face a strong Newcastle Jets team who are well advanced in their preparations for the upcoming 2019/20 A League season. Free entry for all, with “FULL CANTEEN OPERATING

source:TomTsamouras

Hamilton Olympic complete trifecta over Broadmeadow Magic

Hamilton Olympic FC completed a trifecta over Broadmeadow Magic in the washed out derby from Round 14.

The u18s began proceedings with a 3-1 victory, followed by a 2-0 win by the u20s. First Grade completed the “treble”, after going head 3-0 thanks to goals from Kawachi, Marcus Duncan and Reece Pettit. Magic rallied home with two goals but it wasn’t enough. A great game of football that lived up to it’s name, the Red and Blue Derby!

Northern NSW Football Round 14
Olympic vs Broadmeadow

U20s Olympic won 2-0
U18s Olympic won 3-1

YOUTH NPL:

Hamilton Olympic vs Newcastle Jets Academy

U13s lost 3-2

U14s lost 1-0

U15s won 3-0

U16s lost  3-0

source: Tom Tsamouras

Hamilton Olympic Over 35s and 12As Premiers and runners up

Congratulations to our Over 35 Friday Night Division A team, who were crowned Premiers last weekend.

It’s the first time we have entered a team in this “age level.” There are many familiar names in the team, with most having played Seniors with Olympic, including  Dimis x 2, Austin, Grenell, Thodas, West, James, Nicola, Safouris, Blakey, Scott, Devitis and Griffiths x 2. The team will play second placed Nelson Bay this coming Friday, 16th August in the Major Semi- Final at 8.00pm at Seaham/ Bowthorne, with the winner progressing straight through to the Grand Final, whilst the looser has another chance the following weekend to get into the decider.

All the best to our Under 12A team, who finished as runners up, in their Major Semi- Final on Saturday, 17th August at 9.00am at Tilligery. Coached by Peter Dimis, the boys will face Lambton, and will progress to the Grand Final with a win. Do your best, boys!

source: Tom Tsamouras

HAMILTON OLYMPIC FC EXPRESSIONS OF INTEREST 2020 Season NPL, NET and SAP Trials

Expressions of Interest for our 2020 NPL (13-14-15-16s) – NET (12s) – SAP (9-10-11s)

The trial dates are as follows, and the times will be 5.30pm for a 6.00pm start:

⚽️Tue 13 Aug ​NET 12s ​​(Islington Park)
​⚽️Mon 02 Sep​ SAP 9s​​ (Darling St Oval)
⚽️Mon 23 Sep NPL 13s​​ (Darling St Oval)
⚽️Tue 24 Sep ​SAP 10s ​​(Darling St Oval)
⚽️Wed 25 Sep​ SAP 11s ​​(Darling St Oval)
⚽️Mon 14 Oct​ NPL 16s ​​(Darling St Oval)
⚽️Tue 15 Oct​ NPL 15s ​​(Darling St Oval)
⚽️Wed 16 Oct​ NPL 14s ​​(Darling St Oval)

Trials for the SAP 9s teams will be open, but you will need to register by submitting an EOI and confirming your attendance.

Trials for the remaining SAP, NET, and NPL teams will be by invitation after EOIs are registered.

To submit an EOI for any of the above, please go to the Hamilton Olympic FC home page or go to this link:
https://hamiltonolympic.com.au/npl-net-and-sap-team-trials/

Please note that EOIs for each team will close one week prior to the relevant trial date except for the U12’s NET.

source:Tom Tsamouras

NNSW NPL Catch-up: Hamilton Olympic take on Broadmeadow Magic

The last NNSW NPL Catch-up Round takes place this weekend and there are massive games that all have implications on the tight premiership race, top four chase and wooden spoon scrap, including  the derby between Hamilton Olympic and Broadmeadow Magic from Round 14.

This Sunday is also our Old  Boy’s Day. Any Old Boy from any era of Olympic will be given free entry on this day. Whether you were a player, coach, manager or committee member you are more than welcome.

Sunday 11 August, at Darling St Oval

1st Grade kick off 2.30pm
Under 20s kick off 12.40pm
Under 18s kick off 10.55am

YOUTH  NPL:                                                                                                                Hamilton Olympic’s youth NPL teams take on Newcastle Jets on Saturday 10 August at Darling St Oval.

U13s kick off at 10.00am

U14s kick off at 11.40am

U15s kick off at   1.20pm

U16s kick off at    3.30pm

source:  Tom Tsamouras

Premier Profiles: Reece Papadimitrios – Hamilton Olympic

Growing up, Reece Papadimitrios (Papas) quickly became a name full of promise and was widely regarded by many as one of the most talented players around, and it was that talent that took him to all parts of the world including trial stints at major English Premier League clubs Liverpool, Aston Villa and Stoke City and selection in the U/17’s Australian Joeys team.

Since then, Reece has starred and progressed through the Newcastle Jets and Central Coast Mariners Youth Academies but has now found himself back where it all started, Hamilton Olympic. NPL Northern NSW league correspondent Quentin, caught up with Reece, who were actually former rivals on the field when they were young kids, to learn more about his incredible journey so far and whether he still has ambitions of progressing on.

Where and when did you start your junior career and how did you progress into senior football?

I started at Hamilton Olympic at the age of five and played there until I was 10. From there I progressed through the Northern NSW Football development programs and finished off in the Newcastle Jets and Central Coast Mariners Youth teams before coming back to play senior football at Olympic. I’m now in my third season back at the club but I’ve been involved with the club all my life due to family connections.

What do you like to do in your spare time when you’re not playing football?

I work as an air conditioning and refrigeration mechanic. With work and football, it doesn’t leave too much spare time but every chance I get I like to socialise and have a few drinks with mates, spend time with the girlfriend and just chill out really.

What player has been one of your favourite players to play with and you have admiration for? Why?

I’ve been lucky enough to play with a number of good players but the one that sticks out for me would be our captain Kyle Hodges. His attitude and desire to play for the club and the shirt is second to none. He’s always giving 100% for his team-mates – that’s what sticks out most for me.

Which player is the hardest to play against? And why?

I’d say Micheal ‘Beanhead’ Kantarovski, he’s always a tough competitor. He’s always full of energy and in your face. He’s also not too bad with his feet too I suppose.

At a young age, you trailed overseas in England – what were some of the clubs you spent time at and what was that experience like? What did you learn from it all?

I was lucky enough to have trial stints at Aston Villa, Bolton, QPR, Stoke and Liverpool. The experience was unreal and was a real eye opener to see how far behind Australia is in football development. From the training facilities to the support staff, to the fans involvement and just the money pumped into the game over there, nothing compares to here.

The biggest thing I learnt is that the pool of top-quality players over there is a lot higher than here. Yes there is a population difference, but there are definitely greater opportunities for players over there than young players here. There is less politics in the sport over there as they give everyone equal opportunity – something Australian football could learn from.

You’ve spent a lot of time playing at elite levels with the Jets and Mariners Youth, and what was it like playing at that level for so long?

It was good to be involved in professional environments like that. It really helped me develop as a footballer and a man. Without those opportunities, I wouldn’t be the player I feel I am today.

What was the reasoning behind coming back to Hamilton?

I came back to Olympic when I reached a bit of a hurdle in my life. My time at the NYL level had come to an end and I had a choice to continue chasing the footballing dream or to find myself a job/career where I could build myself a future. At the time I felt that moving into the workforce was the best decision for me. I didn’t want to be finishing a footballing career and have nothing to fall back on. I feel I made the right decision.

Do you still have ambitions of potentially playing in the A-League or at a professional level?

At this stage no I don’t, I’m enjoying what I’m doing now. I’ve just bought a house so that and work is my main focus at this stage. In saying that who knows what the future holds.

What’s the most memorable moment(s) of your career so far?

I’ve been lucky enough to have plenty of memorable moments. The 2014 season where the Jets Youth won the premiership would be up there. Also, being involved and named in the Central Coast Mariners A-League squad was another thing I won’t forget.

But the two that stick out for me would be playing for my country at the U/17’s level and playing a game for Stoke City against Chelsea in the U/20’s Premier League.

Who’s the most influential person in your career?

I’d probably have to say influential ‘people’ as it’s been a team effort. Without the support of Mum, Dad & Paupau (pop) I wouldn’t have had the opportunities that I’ve been lucky enough to have. So those three are easily the most influential people in my career and life.

What are you hoping to achieve for this year’s season? Individually and as a team?

We don’t really have much to play for now as we’re out of the contention for finals, but I think both individually and as a team we are going to give everything to finish off the year strong and start to build a good foundation for 2020.

What’s your plans for the future of your career? Where are you hoping to progress?

I’ve got no real plans at this stage. I’m enjoying what I’m doing both on and off the park, so I think more of that is what you can expect from me.

Source: https://northernnswfootball.com.au/

NNSW NPL Round 20: Hamilton Olympic beaten 3-0 by Maitland Magpies

Maitland FC 3 (M. Swan 4’, Clarke 69’, Cowburn 85’) def. Hamilton Olympic 0

Sunday 4 August, 2:30pm, Cooks Square Park

Concluding what has been one of the biggest weeks in Maitland’s club history, the Magpies put on a solid display to shut-out Hamilton and stake their claim at both playing finals once again, but also at a chance to win their second-ever premiership.

In the reverse fixture, Olympic put on a clinic to win 4-0, but this time around, the hosts were focused on getting on the offensive early and it led to a goal in the first five minutes after some delicate passing being finished off with a Matt Swan header from close range thanks to a pinpoint cross from Ryan Clarke.

The visitors struggled to gather any momentum that resulted in chances in the final third as the Magpies’ strong defence kept them at bay throughout the first half.

In the second stanza, the hosts looked to pile on the pressure for their opponents and James Thompson proved to be a constant threat, as was Clarke who, after having a golden chance saved not long earlier, had his persistence pay off weaving his way onto a bouncing through ball and popping into the top of the net to double the lead.

Nothing was working out for Olympic and it was typified in the play that saw Rhys Cooper’s rocketing volley only kept out by some desperate defending from Maitland captain Carl Thornton who threw his body in front of the ball to keep a clean sheet.

The Magpies would seal the game not long later through their former Newcastle Jets star Nick Cowburn who curled a shot in the bottom corner of the goal to pick up his first since linking up with the Coalfields club mid-season and extend their winning margin to three.

Maitland now move into third place on the table despite playing a game or two less than their fellow top four compatriots and are beginning to firm as potential favourites to take out the premiership title if they can continue their red-hot form.

Magpies’ coach Mick Bolch was impressed with his team’s performance following an challenging midweek battle against the Central Coast Mariners.

“I couldn’t be happier with the effort today. I thought we were pretty comfortable,” Bolch said.

“We were pretty banged up after the Wednesday night’s game. There were a lot of sore boys and it’s probably hard to get up the next day after playing in front of a crowd of 3,000 in that sort of atmosphere.

“Olympic have nothing to play for except to spoil a few sides in the semis, so for me it was a big banana-skin type of game.”

With the side sitting in the drivers’ seat for an incredible premiership run, the former Hamilton coach admitted the team weren’t getting ahead of themselves and instead were putting in the effort to make sure no points slipped especially in their important game coming during the week.

“We’re starting to get a lot stronger across our squad now,” he said.

“The group are putting a lot of pressure on themselves. They’re fighting for semi-finals spots so there’s a lot of competition amongst themselves.

“There’s plenty of experience that keep the boys with level heads.

“For me, realistically, our game against Jaffas on Wednesday night is massive. Whoever wins Wednesday night has a massive foot in the door.”

For Hamilton, they continue to squander well below the top six in eighth and will finish their year in a mid-table position in what can only be described as a lacklustre year for the boys in blue, however, they do have a chance of creating a highlight in their season when they take on arch-rivals Broadmeadow Magic in the Red and Blue Derby next weekend.

Under 20s Olympic won 2-0
Under 18s Olympic won 7-1

NPL Youth
Maitland vs Olympic
Under 16s Olympic won 2-0
Under 15s Olympic won 3-2
Under 14s drew 0-0
Under 13s Olympic won 13-0

Zone League 2
Olympic vs Merewether
1st Grade Merewether won 2-3
2nd Grade Olympic won 2-0

IN OTHER GAMES:

Lambton Jaffas 2 (Sutton 67, Crowley 90+1’) def. Broadmeadow Magic 0

Saturday 3 August, 2:30pm, Arthur Edden Oval

Lambton have made a major impression on the top four and premiership race after taking down Broadmeadow in a terrific match where both goalkeepers shined.

Jaffas’ keeper Brad Swancott proved why he’s still getting starts despite the arrival of former Newcastle Jets gloveman Ben Kennedy, stopping two early shots from Magic’s James Virgili and Josh Piddington from inside the box.

His side weren’t able to create many worthwhile opportunities in the first half, but in the second, the hosts came alive.

Josh Sutton was looming as a threat on the right-hand side, as was Braedyn Crowley in the middle, however down the other end of the field, Swancott was once again called upon to save a shot from James Virgili, before Will McFarlane showed some desperation to clear the rebound off the line.

Moments later, it looked like the breakthrough would come when the Jaffas were awarded one of two penalties of the game. Crowley stepped up, but his shot was well-parried by Paul Bitz to keep the game level although there would be nothing he could do on a later play that led to the first goal.

A goalmouth scramble where multiple clearances were attempted landed at the feet of an unmarked Sutton who blasted it into the bottom corner of the net.

The Magicians continued their barrage on goal looking to equalise, but were constantly met by the brilliant hands of Swancott denying Kristian Brymora, and Virgili twice more.

As stoppage time ticked over, a desperate Broadmeadow sent a large number of bodies forward looking for their goal, and it left a gaping defence of which Crowley exploited, dashing past tired legs and burying it past Bitz in goal.

As was the trend of the day, a very late penalty for the visitors looked as though it may spell at least one goal for the day, but Lambton’s veteran goalkeeper had other ideas, saving Virgili’s shot from the spot expertly.

Although Lambton still sit on the outside of the top four, they are now just two points away from Broadmeadow above them but have a game in hand and in addition to that, sit just five points away from the current league leaders Edgeworth who they have two games in hand of.

The defending Grand Final winners are still within a shout of the premiership despite experiencing just their third loss of the year, but, exemplifying how close the competition is this year, they also are at strong risk of missing out on finals if they aren’t able to bounce back.

 

Newcastle Jets Youth 1 (Petratos 2’) drew with Adamstown Rosebud 1 (Keogh 16’)

Saturday 3 August, 2:30pm, Adamstown Oval

For the third game in a row, Adamstown have picked up points this weekend getting a tight draw against the young Newcastle Jets Youth.

The game didn’t start in the hosts’ favour though as Maki Petratos let loose with a long shot that found its way past Daniel Eisenhauer in goals and into the back of the net after 90 seconds of football.

The Rosebuds weren’t fazed by the early deficit though and worked their way back into the game as Finn Beasley came close to scoring, before Mat Keogh got his second goal for the year with a strong, looping header to equalise.

Petratos continued to trouble the defence of Adamstown, but Eisenhauer was fit for the task pulling off multiple saves to deny Petratos and his teammates.

That continued to be the case in the second half as Eisenhaur was called upon again for his side, even making three saves in rapid succession to deny Petratos, Joey O’Connor and Jack Simmons, all from close range.

Neither side were able to find the killing blow to their opposition leaving both with a frustrating draw as the season nears an end.

The Rosebuds are still in the dogfight going on to avoid the wooden spoon and currently sit in equal last-place but are ahead of their low-tabled rivals on goal difference.

The Jets continue to squander in mid-table obscurity for 2019 and can only finish in seventh or eighth over the last few games.

 

Valentine Phoenix 3 (Garland 45+1’, Pearson 90’, Paul 90+1) def. Edgeworth Eagles 1 (Rose 78’)

Sunday 4 August, 2:30pm, CB Complex

In arguably the biggest upset of the season, Valentine pulled out two late goals to overcome an in-form Edgeworth side in their hopes of avoiding a second consecutive wooden spoon.

As many would have expected, the Eagles took the ascendancy early with the majority of possession and created two golden opportunities in the first half.

The first came from a goalmouth scramble that ended with Josh Rose having his shot saved and cleared off the line by Perry Budeen, Valentine’s goalkeeper, before Aden Gardner then had his hit headed over the bar by Josh Murray stopping a certain goal.

Despite the large time the Phoenix spent defending the league-leaders, the first goal of the game actually came courtesy of the hosts on the brink of half-time following a huge goalkeeping blunder by Josh Low that gifted Bailey Garland an easy finish into an open net.

Trailing in the second-half, Edgeworth’s task would only get more challenging as the team fell to 10-men after what can only be considered a brain-snap by key forward Oliver Smith who was shown his second yellow card for a reckless challenge, and just seconds later, proceeded to head-butt Jacob Bailey as he left the field – an action that could see him missing from the side for some time.

In famous Edgeworth fashion though, the visitors didn’t give up hope despite the numbers disadvantage and with just over ten minutes left in the game, the Eagles notched up an equaliser through their veteran defender as Rose skilfully controlled a cross from Gardner and clinically tucking it into the side of the goal.

The drama at Croudace Bay wouldn’t stop there though, as Valentine youngster Kaleb Pearson provided an epic twist in the tale, latching himself onto a through ball that saw him in acres of space, before beating a defender and toeing it into the bottom of the goal right on the stroke of stoppage time.

One of the hosts’ star men Matt Paul put the cherry on top just a minute later, striking the ball from distance past Low to seal one of the most surprising results of the year as the Phoenix knocked off the defending premiers.

The victory for Valentine snaps a seven-game losing streak as well as a 12-game losing run against Edgeworth, but more importantly puts them within a chance of avoiding the dreaded last-place as they enter the last few weeks of the competition.

Coach of the Phoenix Sam Griffin, was over the moon with the major upset and stating the result was a compensation for the effort the team had been putting in over the year.

“It’s been a very tough year… but I’m just so happy for them because they deserve it – they deserved some reward for what they’re putting in,” Griffin said.

“We needed everything to go right to beat them, and it did.

“There’s obviously some luck there as well, but that’s the game. We took our chances, and they didn’t.”

“We definitely matched them physically and in parts were dominant in that way.

“We’ve threatened to do this in so many games that it’s not a surprise but when they scored an equaliser in the last ten minutes, we’ve been guilty of giving it away previously, so to have the mental fortitude to say ‘no, we’re not going to let it happen again’… I couldn’t fault any of the boys today.”

Near the top of the table, with the two teams below them dropping points over the weekend, the Eagles will be kicking themselves after missing out on the chance to put one hand on the premiership trophy, and now, the title is once again anyone’s to take.

 

Weston Bears 2 (Morris 18’, Tjien-Fooh 86’) drew with Charlestown City Blues 2 (Goodchild 26’, Ferguson 72’)

Sunday 4 August, 2:30pm, Rockwell Automation Park

Going by the purple patch in form from these two sides heading into this match, there didn’t look to be anything that would separate them and that’s exactly how it turned out as Weston and Charlestown traded leads to finish all square.

The Bears were the first to get onto the scoresheet thanks to their captain Nathan Morris who made a searching run forward from the backline and ended up smashing in a volley low into the goal, but their early lead wouldn’t stay around for long.

Charlestown defender Riley McNaughton made a strong, sliding challenge and the rebound fell perfectly for an on-running Kane Goodchild who made no mistakes slotting it into the side of the goal scoring his fourth of the year and equalising the game.

The second half saw much of the same frantic football that was displayed in the first, and both sides went close to nabbing the lead early on. Rio Nishuira launched a shot from distance that was saved, then Jason Tjien-Fooh had his volley denied by the woodwork.

Both teams were knocking on the door but it would be the visitors who found the second-half breakthrough after some lovely work by Rene Ferguson who did well to chest down a cross and smack a volley on his turn high in the goal over the head of Weston goalkeeper Tristian Esquiliant.

The Blues looked in control and had two great chances to double their lead and possibly seal the game, but Esquiliant pulled off two terrific saves – one from point blank range to deny Ferguson of a double.

With the game looking in favour of Charlestown, up stepped the Bears’ Dutchman, as Tjien-Fooh showed some skill and class to beat a defender and smash home a goal into the bottom corner with just under five minutes remaining.

Drama continued to ensue at Bear Park though as the two teams traded goal-scoring chances in the five minutes of stoppage time.

First Tjien-Fooh was denied of a second goal by the feet of Nate Archibold in goals and seconds later, the ball was cleared off the line by defender Kevin Davison, while down the other end, a last minute free-kick from McNaughton looked destined to perch itself in the top corner had it not been for a diving effort from Esquilant.

Fans were able to finally breathe as the full-time whistle sounded, but both coaches will feel they could have taken all three points in one of the more exciting games seen this season.

Charlestown’s finals hopes have taken a slight hit, but they are still well and truly in the fight for a top four spot and are only six points off the top with two games in hand of the top two teams, while for the Bears they’ve let a golden opportunity slip.

A win for Weston would have seen them take first place back from Edgeworth, but instead they remain stuck behind by one point and locked in a six-way battle for the ultimate prize.

Lake Macquarie City Roosters had the bye.

Source: https://northernnswfootball.com