A lucky goal helped Broadmeadow go atop the Northern NSW NPL ladder on Sunday, but coach Ruben Zadkovich believed it was fortune well deserved, especially with the efforts of two former A-League players.
Broadmeadow beat Lambton Jaffas 1-0 at Magic Park in the round nine top-of-the-table clash thanks to a 21st minute Matt Hoole strike that took a massive deflection over keeper Brad Swancott. It was the difference in a tight affair where both sides were missing key players because of injury.
Magic, without topscorer James Virgili, skipper Josh Piddington and Justin Broadley, almost lost Mitch Oxborrow as well.
Oxborrow played through illness to help Broadmeadow get the win and go to 17 points, one ahead of Edgeworth, who defeated Valentine 3-1 on Sunday.
Zadkovich said the effort typified his side's attitude and mentality, which he believed proved the difference.
"He's defended for 90 minutes and was still quality on the ball," Zadkovich said of Oxborrow. "It was a huge effort considering how sick he was. It's a good reference point to the boys' mentality."
He was also proud of former Jets striker Kristian Brymora, who played 55 minutes in an unfamiliar position.
"He was absolutely super," he said. "I'm asking him to do a really difficult role there, almost a right winger role there for James Virgili, and his minutes haven't been huge so far this year, so what a great performance from the kid.
"I think the biggest positive is just the attitude and mentality of the boys, they just stuck to a game plan and executed really well."
Jaffas coach James Pascoe was missing Michael Kantarovski, Nathan Verity, Josh Sutton and Pat Brown, and his problems deepened when Kiwi James Pendrigh was replaced at half-time because of a foot problem.
Pascoe said his team "were pretty good value for the majority" of the game without finding the killer blow.
"You try and look for the positives but the reality is, what I said at the start of the year I think will be about right," Pascoe said.
"I think we'll be in the fight for third and fourth. You've got to be able to find a way to win games when you do pretty well, but we just couldn't quite do it today."
The Jaffas dropped to fourth on 14 points after the Jets Youth (16 points) downed Adamstown 1-0 with a 70-minute penalty from Jack Simmons following a foul on Angus Thurgate.
Edgeworth also rose to 16 points after Josh Evans (12th minute), Adam Cawley (42nd) and Oliver Smith (75th) scored at Jack McLaughlan Oval.