Wednesday, 15 April 2015

PREVIEW: PS4 NPL (Northern NSW) Round 2

1st Grade: Maitland FC (3rd) v Broadmeadow Magic (6th)

I'll try and make it out to Maitland on Sunday for this game. I remember watching Magic play a trial out at Cooks Square Park last season and was impressed with the ground and Maitland's side. Now with names like Matt Thompson involved, I'm keen to go and watch the Magpies in action.

Magic weren't far away from a win last week. It certainly wasn't a lack of chances that cost Broadmeadow last week, it was more a lack of finishing ability. I'm a firm believer in confidence in front of goal. What I mean by that is that when the goals start going in, the strikers will start finding the net more regularly. 

Anyway enough raving on, time for my actual prediction. Maitland went up 2-0 at Ulinga Oval last week but failed to capitalise and take home all three points. They'll be fired up for their first NPL home match and they're certainly capable of causing an upset.

I'm going with a Magic win but I'm not doing in confidence. A draw wouldn't be a surprise at all and neither would a Maitland win. It's early days in the season and anything can happen but I think Magic will get the goals going in and win this game on the road.

Under 22's: Maitland FC (1st) v Broadmeadow Magic (6th)

This one is another tough one to predict. I've seen Magic's 22's play a fair bit over the last couple season and they've got some good talent that have played some first grade but are still young enough to play in the Under 22's side. Pacey, attacking-minded players who can find the back of the net but they'll need to up the ante to beat this Maitland side.

The Magpie 22's put five past South Cardiff last week in what was the most impressive result in the 22's competition last week. Magic are another step up from the Gunners but I think Maitland can get at least a point out of this one. A score draw sounds like a good result here.

Under 19's: Maitland FC (6th) v Broadmeadow Magic (8th)

Both these sides lost their matches last week but Maitland won't be lacking confidence after finding the net three times in a 4-3 loss to South Cardiff. Magic on the other hand couldn't find the net in their 1-0 loss to Hamilton Olympic but that's no cause for concern after one game.

If Maitland can defend well and not let in four goals, I think they'll be good enough to get the three points. Again, it's not easy to predict after just one game but I'll go with the home side here.

My Tip:
1st Grade: Maitland FC 1-3 Broadmeadow Magic
Under 22's: Maitland FC 2-2 Broadmeadow Magic
Under 19's: Maitland FC 2-1 Broadmeadow Magic

1st Grade: Hamilton Olympic (7th) v Edgeworth (1st)

Hamilton Olympic host Edgeworth for the second time this year after doing battle in the FFA Cup competition about a month ago. Edgeworth came from behind on that occasion to send Olympic crashing out of the national knockout competition.

Talking about the FFA Cup, Edgeworth just beat South Cardiff 5-0 in their clash at Lisle Carr Oval and that throws my tip here right out the window. Before that I would have gone with an Olympic win but now I have doubts, severe doubts about Olympic's chances.

I was on hand for Hamilton's 0-0 draw with Broadmeadow last week and I think they'll struggle against a free-scoring Edgeworth Eagles line-up. Edgeworth look serious about sending out some messages early in the season that they're on the hunt for success in 2015.

Edgeworth have scored nine goals in their last two and have not let one in their own net in either of those games. I think they're going to make it two from two in the NPL on Saturday at Darling St Oval.

Under 22's: Hamilton Olympic (6th) v Edgeworth (4th)

Hamilton's 22's gained a late draw against Broadmeadow Magic last week and this week face an Edgeworth Eagles side that got over the line against Charlestown City Blues with a 1-0 result last Friday night. So all in all, defending will be key in this match-up.

Edgeworth are normally heavily-reliant on their defending and it's evident with their 22's side winning 1-0 last week. Keeping Hamilton scoreless will be tough though and that's why I'm tipping the home side. I don't expect a high-scoring match but Hamilton should be good enough to win.

Under 19's: Hamilton Olympic (4th) v Edgeworth (10th)

These two sides played in extremely different match-up's last week. Hamilton scored twice to see off Broadmeadow 2-0 but Edgeworth were involved in what was a nine-goal thriller with Charlestown City last Friday night. The Eagles went down 6-3 in what was the highest-scoring match-up in the Senior NNSW NPL last week.

So going into this match, it's obvious that both teams know how to find the net. Whether Edgeworth can concede less than six or not is going to be the question. They can't let that many goals in and expect a good result so I'm sure they would have worked hard on defending at training this week.

Hamilton are my pick here. Holding Magic to nil is a big result and I expect them to back it up this week. Maybe not a clean sheet but a win in my opinion.

My Tips:
1st Grade: Hamilton 0-3 Edgeworth
Under 22's: Hamilton 2-1 Edgeworth
Under 19's: Hamilton 3-1 Edgeworth

1st Grade: Charlestown City (10th) v Adamstown Rosebud (5th)

I'm writing this preview just moments after Charlestown City went down 5-4 to Adamstown in the FFA Cup and if that result is anything to go by, this weekend's match should be an entertaining one to say the very least.

Charlestown will feel hard done by after conceding in the 92nd minute and crashing out of the FFA Cup but they have a great chance to make amends in this rematch at home.

After Charlestown's 4-0 defeat to Edgeworth last week, I wasn't going to even think about tipping anything but an Adamstown win. I'm going to back a draw here, perhaps even a high-scoring one. 

Under 22's: Charlestown City (9th) v Adamstown Rosebud (8th)

Two teams that lost their first-up matches last week will meet at Lisle Carr Oval on Sunday. Charlestown are coming off a 1-0 loss to Edgeworth whilst Adamstown went down 2-1 to Weston last Sunday.

It's another tough one to predict but being a Charlestown home game, you'd think that would make them slight favourites. Adamstown though are no pushovers in any grade so it's tough to tip against them. I'm going to split the two and go for a draw.

Under 19's: Charlestown City (1st) v Adamstown Rosebud (10th)

It's first versus last in the Under 19's at Lisle Carr Oval. I'm expecting this to be a high-scoring match-up if last week's scores are anything to go by. Charlestown were 6-3 victors over Edgeworth whilst Adamstown went down 5-2 to Weston on Sunday afternoon.

I'm tipping Charlestown to get the win here. A home game and a chance to go two from two will have the young Blues hoping they can remain at the top of the table.

My Tip:
1st Grade: Charlestown City 2-2 Adamstown Rosebud
Under 22's: Charlestown City 1-1 Adamstown Rosebud
Under 19's: Charlestown City 4-2 Adamstown Rosebud

1st Grade: Weston Workers (8th) v Lambton (2nd)

Weston had a tough pre-season but managed to take a point away from Adamstown Oval last week, drawing 0-0 with the Rosebuds. Meanwhile, I was on hand for Lambton's 3-2 victory over the Newcastle Jets Youth side at Arthur Edden Oval.

The Grand-Final rematch will surely bring a good crowd to Rockwell Automation Park on Sunday for what will no doubt be a fiercely-contested match-up. The Bears at home is never an easy day out and it will be no different for the Jaffas this Sunday.

Weston will need to step up a level if they want to overcome the defending Premiers and whether or not they can do that is the million-dollar question. Personally, I don't think they can. Lambton looked good last week and with so many draws in Week 1, they can build a bit of a gap at the top with a win here.

Under 22's: Weston Workers (3rd) v Lambton (7th)

Weston's 22's started their season with a win at Adamstown Oval whilst the Jaffas were outdone by the Under 18 Emerging Jets in a 3-2 loss at Arthur Edden Oval. 

As I said earlier, Weston is a tough place to go to and I think the hosts can get the job done here. Lambton will need to step up defensively after letting in three last week and I'm not sure if they can do it against Weston. Bears for me.

Under 19's: Weston Workers (2nd) v Lambton (3rd)

The 19's for both Weston and Lambton picked up wins last week. Weston with a 5-2 win over Adamstown and Lambton with a 3-1 result over the Under 16 Emerging Jets. I'm not feeling too confident about the Jaffas chances at Rockwell Automation Park though.

Weston will be keen to build some early season from and there's no better place to do that than at home. 

My Tips:
1st Grade: Weston 1-3 Lambton
Under 22's: Weston 2-1 Lambton
Under 19's: Weston 3-2 Lambton

1st Grade: South Cardiff (4th) v Newcastle Jets Youth (9th)

The final game of Round 2 sees the Newcastle Jets Youth side travel to Ulinga Oval to take on the South Cardiff Gunners. The Gunners of course are coming off a 2-2 come-from-behind draw against newly-promoted Maitland whilst the young Jets went down 3-2 to a strong Jaffas side last weekend.

In my opinion the Jets Youth weren't too far off the pace in Lambton last week. Bringing on Michael Kantarovski at half-time helped their cause with the 19 year old bagging an impressive goal to make it 3-2. I'm not sure on the extent of Braedyn Crowley's injury but if he's out this week, they'll need to look elsewhere for some goalscoring talent.

They can find that in Radovan Pavicevic. The 19-year old forward has experienced some A-League football this year and can really gain some confidence with a big year in the local NPL. 

He won't have good memories of Ulinga Oval after breaking his arm there last season in what was a real blow to the Jets Youth after a strong first half of the year but I think Pavicevic will bag a few in the NPL this season. I'm tipping the Jets Youth to get the win on Sunday but it won't be easy.

*Edit* South Cardiff lost their FFA Cup match with Edgeworth 5-0 so I've changed my tip from Jets Youth 2-1 to Jets Youth 3-1.

Under 22's: South Cardiff (10th) v U/18 Emerging Jets (2nd)

This will be a tough one for a Gunners side that went down 5-2 to Maitland last weekend. The Under 18 Emerging Jets gained a big three points at Arthur Edden Oval last Saturday and will no doubt be full of confidence after putting three past the Jaffas in that game.

South Cardiff will be aiming to avoid two straight home losses which is why I'm going for a draw here. The Gunners' 22's need a bit of a better performance in defence and if they can do that, they can pick up a point or maybe three  against the young Jets.

Under 19's: South Cardiff (5th) v U/16 Emerging Jets (7th)

South Cardiff won a goalfest against Maitland last Sunday whilst the Under 16's Jets went down to Lambton on Saturday. South Cardiff will like their chances of making it two from two and moving further up the table but beating the Emerging Jets is never an easy task.

The young Jets went down 3-1 last week and will need improvement against South Cardiff. With that being said, I'm going with the home side here. 

My Tips:
1st Grade: South Cardiff 1-3 Newcastle Jets Youth
Under 22's: South Cardiff 2-2 U/18 Emerging Jets
Under 19's: South Cardiff 3-1 U/16 Emerging Jets

*Kickoff Times*
1st Grade: 2:30pm
Under 22's: 12:45pm
Under 19's: 11:00am

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