Lake Macquarie Roosters see red

HEADS UP: Mitchell Cook, right, challenges Hamilton’s Dave Hodgson yesterday at Darling St Oval.  Picture: Jonathan Carroll
HEADS UP: Mitchell Cook, right, challenges Hamilton’s Dave Hodgson yesterday at Darling St Oval. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

LAKE Macquarie will fight for leniency in the case against Sean Matthews but concede Matt Comerford faces a long suspension after both were sent off for their involvement in a fight yesterday.

The second-last Roosters showed character in a 2-0 loss to Broadmeadow Magic at Wanderers Oval, but their effort was marred by an ugly incident with 10minutes remaining.

Lake Macquarie striker Alex Read and Magic defender Josh Piddington became entangled, sparking the altercation which involved most players on the field.

Lake Macquarie coach Chris Turner said Matthews ran in to shoulder barge a Magic player who he believed was punching a teammate.

Turner said Comerford threw a punch at a Broadmeadow player and deserved to be sent off. However, he believed Matthews’s actions should be treated differently.

‘‘He put a shoulder in from range but in his words, he said, ‘I did that because I didn’t want to get sent off but I think you’ve got to look after your mate,’’’ Turner said.

‘‘When you get to this point in the season, we’ve got seven players out and I’m asking them to run on enthusiasm and effort. We’re fighting to survive and sometimes things can boil over.

‘‘We had a calm discussion with the referee after the game and I’m asking the federation to review Sean Matthews.

‘‘There was no malice in it. He was never going to throw a punch, he just wanted to separate the guys and he thought that was the best way to do it.’’

Magic were up 2-0 when the scuffle broke out after Jon Griffiths scored in the first half and Shane Paul finished off a one-two with Peter Haynes in the 60th minute.

Magic coach Damien Smith said he did not have a good view of the fight.

Smith said the win, which kept Magic third, behind the Newcastle Jets Youth on goal difference, was a solid effort.

The Jets defeated Edgeworth 4-1 at Jack McLaughlan Oval yesterday to damage the Eagles’ play-off chances.

Competition leading scorer Kale Bradbery landed a brace for the Jets, who led 2-0 at half-time.

South Cardiff’s woes in front of goals continued but they edged ahead of Edgeworth into fifth place with a scoreless draw against a 10-man Valentine at Cahill Oval.

Teenage striker Guy Wahlstedt was red-carded for a challenge on the goalkeeper early in the second half.

At Johnston Park, Michael Ryan scored a hat-trick as Weston thumped last-placed West Wallsend 7-2.

Meanwhile, talk of a maiden minor premiership became louder at Darling Street Oval yesterday as Hamilton Olympic cleared another major obstacle with a workmanlike 3-0 win over Charlestown.

Olympic maintained top spot in the Northern NSW State League thanks to first-half goals from Clayton Poole and Daniel Casciaroli and a goal at the death from Ben Koina.

Hamilton, who are without a minor title in their 36-year history, need wins away against Weston and at home against South Cardiff to ensure the drought ends.

Skipper Dave Hodgson said the squad were determined to hang on to top spot now the prize was in sight.

‘‘We haven’t been talking about it all year, but now we’re into the final few weeks, we’re starting to talk about it,’’ Hodgson said.

‘‘We’ve just got to look after ourselves at this stage, and if we keep winning, it doesn’t matter what anyone else does.’’

Olympic were the better side in the first half but neither impressed in a scrappy second half as midweek games in heavy conditions took their toll.

Hamilton drew 1-1 with Edgeworth on Wednesday, and Charlestown played with 10men for 85minutes in a 1-all draw with South Cardiff on Thursday night.

Charlestown have been plagued by first-half send-offs this year, and coach Mark Wilson said the side were paying for their sins.

The loss yesterday all but ended their minor premiership hopes. They look likely to finish in fourth spot.

‘‘I think the injuries and send-offs finally caught up with us,’’ Wilson said. ‘‘We were a bit flat today and we had injuries across the park. They are a physical side, they play direct and they had an extra day to recover than us.’’ Poole’s opener came in the 15th minute when the scuffed shot he made while falling rolled into goal amid calls for handball.

Casciaroli provided the highlight in the 45th minute, curling a free kick from directly in front, just outside the box, into the top right corner.

Koina scored when a corner from Matt Harper fell to his feet at close range.