South Cardiff rout Hamilton Olympic but miss finals

SOUTH Cardiff ended their goal-scoring woes with a 7-3 rout of Hamilton Olympic last night, but it was not enough to jump into the Northern NSW State League play-offs.

Edgeworth beat Valentine 3-1 to hang on to fifth spot and seal a finals berth on a dramatic final night of the regular season.

The Eagles entered their catch-up game at Blacksmiths two points and one goal clear of the Gunners.

They needed a victory to be guarantee a place in the elimination semi-final against Charlestown City at Lisle Carr Oval on Saturday.

South Cardiff had to beat minor premiers Olympic at Darling Street Oval and hope Edgeworth stumbled.

Both games started at the same time and at half-time, with Edgeworth and Valentine locked at 1-all and South Cardiff up 3-1, it appeared the Gunners could progress.

But Chris Wheeler and Alex Palozzi scored for Edgeworth in the second half.

Broadmeadow and the Jets youth team will contest the qualifying semi-final at Wanderers Oval on Sunday.

Olympic have the week off after finishing on top.

Last night was the first time the Gunners had scored more than one goal since a 2-0 win over Valentine in round 12.

‘‘It was a good way to finish and we can hold our heads up high,’’ South Cardiff coach Steve Piggott said. ‘‘We let opportunities go in the last five weeks which cost us.

‘‘Tonight we believed we could score and we did.

‘‘We had everything to play for and they didn’t. All we could do was our part.’’

Having wrapped up the minor premiership, Olympic did not risk goalkeeper Brad Swancott (calf) and Tom Walker (hamstring). They also rested Matt Austin and Jacob Bailey, who were a caution away from suspension. Dave Hodgson (suspension) also watched on from the stands.

Olympic were unbeaten in 13 matches, but without Austin and Swancott to marshal the defence they were loose at the back and conceded an avalanche of goals.

At Blacksmiths, Justin Tannock put the visitors ahead from the spot, but on half-time Damian Zane stuck his foot out to intercept a cross only to deflect it in for an own goal.

Wheeler got his head to a Karl Dodd cross in the 65th minute and Palozzi scored with seven minutes to go with a free kick that eluded everyone in a crowded six-yard box.

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