NPL: Knocking off the league leaders at Lambton


The boys were far from favourites on Saturday afternoon for a clash with the side currently atop the NPL Northern NSW.

Lambton Jaffas had won four and drawn one of their five matches so far this season – compare that with the two defeats on the bounce which Labi Haliti’s young side had suffered.

However, the inclusion of Jack Simmons and Pat Langlois (both fresh from Hyundai A-League debuts) and some individual brilliance from Maki Petratos blew those predictions out of the water.

A jump back into the top four – perhaps temporarily with games still to be played this weekend – was courtesy of a resounding 3-1 win at Arthur Edden Oval.

The first piece of individual brilliance from Maki Petratos came in just the 10th minute, following some slick interplay between he, Simmons, and Matt Barkho.

When Petratos came out with the ball, level with the corner of the 18-yard box but closer to 30 out, he jinked to beat his man before firing off a shot across the face of goal.

It looked ambitious – but it was some hit, finding the bottom corner despite the outstretched arm of Jaffas keeper’, Brad Swancott to give the youngsters the early lead.

With 26 minutes gone, they doubled that early lead.

Again, it was Maki Petratos who was in the middle of everything. He started his run inside his own half, making it to the 18-yard box before threading the needle out wide to Jack Simmons.

The Australia U/17s representative squared it back for Petratos, who made no mistake in slamming the ball into the back of the net to make it 2-0.

With that, the Jets settled in their groove and began to play some slick football. There was a shout for a Lambton penalty in the 29th minute when Finn Parris was brought down at the back post, but it was waved away.

Matt Barkho

It took until the 85th minute for the boys to add to their lead, with Matt Barkho the goalscorer.

After receiving the ball on the top of the area, Barkho turned to face goal and played in a bounding Ryan Goodhew.

His shot was saved by Swancott in the Jaffas goal, but deflected right into the path of Barkho who tapped into an open net to make the score 3-0.

Lambton did manage to haul a goal back – a brilliant finish at the top of the D from Josh Sutton – but it ultimately proved just a consolation as the young Jets secured a crucial 3-1 win.