BROADMEADOW and Edgeworth took positives away from a goalless top-of-the-table clash on Sunday, and one for both sides was the damage directly below on the Northern NSW NPL ladder.
While the Jack McLaughlan Oval clash between leaders Magic (25 points) and second-placed Edgeworth (24) was the focus of round 14, all the talk post-game was about the dramatic 2-2 draw featuring Maitland, Adamstown and three red cards.
Maitland, now third on 21 points, led 2-0 in the 21st minute with a double from Matt Comerford at Adamstown Oval before two penalties put Rosebud level in the 57th.
Ben Higgins scored in the 45th with his second penalty attempt after Matt Trott denied his first but was deemed to have come off his line. Grant Brown took down Callum Gabriel for the first penalty and Zac Thomas fouled Zane Winslade for the second, which Robbie Turnbull converted.
Maitland’s Chris Fayers was shown a straight red card for an off-the-ball elbow to the stomach of Danilo O’Brien at a free-kick in the 66th minute before tempers boiled over again in the 76th.
Magpie Ryan Clarke copped a second yellow card after a challenge which sparked a melee involving several players. Adamstown goalkeeper Benn Kelly, who grabbed and held Clarke in an attempt to stop the scuffle, was shown a straight red.
Maitland had a shout for a penalty when Alex Read went down late but that was turned down on a day they received seven yellow cards.
The Magpies would have gone to second on 23 points with a win and coach Michael Bolch said the game was a “massive opportunity missed”.
“It should have been 5-0 after 40 minutes, we missed that many chances, but if you don’t take your chances, you don’t win games,” Bolch said.
“Benn Kelly was outstanding for them. He probably made seven or eight point-blank saves.”
Bolch said Fayers deserved his straight red but he believed Clarke was unlucky to get two yellows.
The draw was a huge turnaround for eighth-placed Adamstown (15 points), who went down 9-1 at Maitland in round one and lost top scorers Luke Vallone and Connor Heydon to injury last week.
At Lisle Carr Oval, captain Sam Walker scored twice as Lake Macquarie beat fifth-placed Charlestown 3-0.
Walker scored with a header in the 21st minute off Harry Lane’s cross and with a strike in the 76th. Paul Sichalwe capped the win with a volleyed hit in the 82nd. The result left Charlestown on 19 points and with four losses in their past five league games.
Edgeworth coach Damian Zane and Magic counterpart Ruben Zadkovich welcomed the results at other grounds.
Zane praised the “brilliant” defensive effort from his understrength side “against probably best attacking team in the comp”.
Zadkovich believed Magic were clearly the better side and deserved a win but he gave credit to the Eagles’ back five.
The Valentine versus Hamilton match at CB Complex was postponed because of the rain-sodden pitch.
Hamilton also have a washed out match against Charlestown in hand.
On Saturday, fourth-placed Lambton Jaffas (21 points) missed a chance to make up ground on the leaders when they drew 0-0 at Weston.
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