Broadmeadow coach Ruben Zadkovich knew his side didn’t need a wake-up call heading into a two-leg semi-finals series against Edgeworth.
They had that reality check in a FFA Cup loss to Moreton Bay a week and a half ago.
Zadkovich wanted to build confidence and maintain momentum in the Northern NSW NPL, and he got exactly that in a 2-1 win over second-placed Hamilton at Darling Street Oval on Saturday night.
Broadmeadow handed Edgeworth a third consecutive premiership with the final-round result and themselves a nine-game winning streak into the semi-finals.
Magic were sure to finish fourth after Lambton Jaffas beat the Newcastle Jets Youth 4-2 earlier on Saturday at Edden Oval. Hamilton, though, would have forced the Eagles to get a result against Lake Macquarie on Sunday at Jack McLaughlan Oval with a win over Broadmeadow.
However, Magic appeared the hungrier and led in the fifth minute with Scott Pettit’s header off a Takumi Sunada free kick which was nodded on by a Hamilton defender.
Hamilton equalised in the 67th minute with a Kane Goodchild penalty after Jeremy Wilson fouled Musa Kamara.
James Virgili then scored the winner from the spot in the 76th minute after Hamilton goalkeeper Tyler Warren fouled a runaway Kale Bradbery.
For Zadkovich, it was a great performance, especially considering Shane Paul and Jon Griffiths missed the game because of card trouble, Luke Virgili was out with a hamstring problem and defender Scott Robertson (broken foot) is gone for the season.
“I wanted the momentum,” Zadkovich said.
“Winning is a habit, but there are certain cases where you want that wake-up call before you go into a finals series, but we had it up in Moreton Bay in the FFA Cup.
“We were so disappointed because we knew we should have won. That was our setback to remind us that if you don’t get the detail right, you don’t win games.
“It was nice to have that now and we’ve got to use that as our wake-up call and make sure we keep that momentum in the league going.
“I’m not delirious, Edgeworth are the best team in the comp and they have been for a while. They are best organised, have some of the best players in the league and are very well coached, so we know we go in as massive underdogs.
“But at least we’ve got that confidence and that winning habit at the moment, which is good.”
Zadkovich was most pleased with the performance of 17-year-old defender Jeremy Wilson, who came in for Virgili and was up against the likes of league leading goalscorer Goodchild, Scott Smith and Rhys Cooper.
“It was nice for me to see Jezza do so well because I’ve put so much time into him,” he said.
“I’ve been preaching that these young ones are the future and we've got to educate them, so it was nice he could put in some a good performance and show everyone he’s going to get better and he’s getting closer. That was the best part for me, I was stoked.”
Hamilton, who rested Andrew Swan and Tom Davies because of card trouble, will now face the Jaffas in the semi-finals. Lambton secured third spot, on goal difference, after coming back from two goals down to defeat the Jets Youth.
Captain Jobe Wheelhouse made his return from two months out with an ankle fracture in the 58th minute and soon made the difference.
Wheelhouse found an unmarked Ryan Griffiths with a quickly taken free kick in the 65th minute and he used the time and space to strike for 3-2.
With the Jets Youth pushing forward for an equaliser, Dain Greentree scored on a breakaway in the 94th minute for 4-2 after Joel Griffiths forced a turnover on halfway.
However, It was far from a comfortable win for the Jaffas.
The Jets Youth led when Angus Thurgate scored in the 11th minute with a lunging foot at the far post off a cross from Joey O’Connor on the left.
Cameron Joice extended the lead in the 16th minute when he nodded the ball in on the run at the near post off a Kent Harrison cross on the right.
The Jaffas were on level terms just five minutes later. Michael Kantarovski got his boot high to a Joel Griffiths free kick from wide on the right in the 20th minute. Griffiths went from provider to scorer a minute later with his header from Ben Hay’s ball in.
On Sunday, Maitland host Adamstown and Weston welcome Valentine in matches that have no bearing on the top four.