NPL: Early Maitland goals prove insurmountable


Two early goals proved a bridge too far for the young Jets on Sunday afternoon, who missed the chance to solidify a spot inside the NPL Northern NSW top four.

Up against Maitland at a typically windy Cooks Square Park with the sun beating down, it was always going to be a tough assignment.

Despite the Magpies missing their midfield maestro, former Jets captain Matt Thompson, they saw out their early lead to claim all three points.

Newcastle started brightly and created the first chance of the afternoon, with an Angus Thurgate shot blocked inside the six-yard box with just over a minute played.

However, it was the home side who drew first blood and drew it early – Ryan Clarke headed home under little opposition from a corner in just the third minute of play.

Two minutes later, Maitland doubled their advantage. Carl Thornton floated a ball in from the right-hand side, which the Jets defence failed to clear.

It fell nicely for Joel Wood at the back post, who fired in a pinpoint first-time finish to make it 2-0 with five minutes gone.

With conditions typically windy in Maitland and the sun beating down at Cooks Square Park, the Jets were up against it.

Jack Simmons had a chance from the right-hand side shortly after the Magpies’ second goal following some nice inter-play between he, Kieran Hayes, and Maki Petratos, but his effort in the 10th minute was straight at Matt Trott.

The Magpies almost had a third goal just minutes into the second half when Grant Brown rattled the crossbar from 20 yards out, but the power of his shot meant the deflection took the ball well out of the Newcastle danger zone.

The young Jets had a golden opportunity to pull one back with 55 minutes gone when a Matt Trott error gifted the ball to Riley Smith who had just the keeper to beat from 25 yards out.

Rather than taking the shot on, he squared the ball up to Maki Petratos who couldn’t find the back of the net in the face of some desperate Maitland defending.

Jack Simmons

A good Noah James stop denied ex-Jets Youth man, James Thompson with 65 minutes played as the game began to stretch with Newcastle searching for a goal and Maitland hitting on the counter with some regularity.

It took until the 72nd minute, but the young Jets did manage to find a goal to halve the deficit. Maki Petratos hit a cross-field ball from which the bounce proved deceptive to Maitland defender, Tom Davies.

On his outside shoulder, Jack Simmons swooped – he took a touch and motored in the box before finishing nicely across Matt Trott to make the score 2-1.

Despite the best efforts of both sides, that’s how the score would finish. The result sees Maitland move into the top four, while the Jets have slipped to sixth spot – but still just a win out from a spot in the finals.