Broadmeadow coach Ruben Zadkovich praised the mentality and attitude of his side to overcome two “soft” penalties and a send-off to hold out Maitland 3-2 on aggregate on Sunday and progress to the Northern NSW NPL grand final.
Up 3-1 from the first leg, Broadmeadow were in the box seat at Magic Park to join Edgeworth in next Saturday night’s decider at McDonald Jones Stadium and they prevailed with a 1-0 loss.
Magic did it the hard way, giving away two penalties and losing stalwart defender Jon Griffiths to a straight red card in the 51st minute. Griffiths was deemed to have fouled Alex Read in a last-man challenge just outside the box and he will miss the grand final with an automatic one-match ban.
However, Maitland failed to capitalise on the advantage and the second penalty.
Matt Thompson put the Magpies up in the second leg when he headed in his blocked penalty in the 28th minute. Carl Thornton won the chance when he and Magic’s John Majurovski collided just inside the box running away from goal.
Thompson was awarded the second penalty in the 47th minute when Justin Broadley fouled him, but keeper Paul Bitz dived to grab the low shot.
Maitland created the better chances up until the send off but Magic lifted. Magic captain Josh Piddington was wide with two close-range shots. Bitz saved a header and shot from Read and Tom Duggan was on target for the Magpies but his strike was deflected wide.
Zadkovich said Maitland were the better side for 65 minutes but he was proud of his team’s resilience and focus on Sunday.
“The soft penalty helped them, the second soft penalty helped them, it’s just nice Bitzy made a great save,” Zadkovich said. “But the positive for me is the mentality of the group. They are just focused on next week. There’s no big song or dance here today. It’s a lot different to last night, where it was like a Hollywood movie,” he said in reference to Edgeworth’s 3-2 extra-time win over Lambton Jaffas.
“We did the job and we did it well. You are not expecting two penalties and a red card against you. I don’t think the boys in blue had the best game, but that’s football. What’s nice is that at the end of it, we still win and that’s because our boys’ mentality and attitude is so good.”
He said Griffiths should not have been sent off.
“I would have liked to see him take his time, listen to his assistants, because the assistant on our side was saying it was a yellow,” he said. “You’d like him to give that decision the time and consideration it deserves and then maybe Jonny Grif doesn’t miss a grand final.”
Maitland coach Michael Bolch rued his side’s missed chances on Sunday but said a poor opening half last week, where Magic scored three goals, proved the difference.
** Clayton Poole scored a hat-trick as Belmont Swansea beat West Wallsend 4-2 in the Northern League One grand final at Jack McLaughlan Park on Sunday.
Poole and Wet Wallsend’s Tye Jones scored in the opening 10 minutes before Corey Wilson made it 2-1 to Belswans.
Poole extended the lead to 4-1 by the 69th minute and Joe Holt scored in the 83rd to give the Bluebells hope.