The Maitland Magpies’ first home match of the 2017 NPL season has ended in a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Hamilton Olympic at Cooks Square Park on Wednesday night, to end their unbeaten run in this year’s competition.
Olympic frontman Kane Goodchild opened the scoring in the 18th minute, before substitute Tommy Spencer sealed the points with a close range finish in the 88th minute.
The Magpies were dealt a blow prior to the match, with key midfielder Andrew Pawiak being withdrawn from the matchday squad due to illness.
Nevertheless, Maitland made a strong start in the opening exchanges, however it was Olympic who went closest early on.
A stinging long range strike from Peter McPherson whistled just wide of the post in the 7th minute.
Olympic did hit the front shortly after, as Goodchild raced onto a through ball in behind the defence and kept his composure to roll the ball past the onrushing Matt Trott in the Maitland goal.
Olympic pushed hard to double their lead before the break, but were twice denied by Trott – first, a diving save from a 27th minute McPherson free kick, before producing a fingertip save a minute later to deny Daniel Bird.
Maitland’s first real opportunity came in the 53rd minute, as Ben Martin connected with a cross from Josh Dutton-Black, but Olympic keeper Danny Ireland produced a stunning save to push away the header bound for the bottom corner.
Ireland came to Olympic’s rescue again, as the Magpies pushed hard for an equaliser, this time pulling off a double save to deny Carl Thornton in the 77th minute.
Olympic lived dangerously, as a glancing header from the resulting corner almost found the target.
However, it would be Olympic who would score the next goal, and seal all three points.
As Maitland pushed bodies forward to cancel out the deficit, Goodchild won a corner from a counterattack.
From the resulting set piece, Goodchild’s header was stabbed home by Spencer with only minutes remaining to extinguish any chance of the Magpies taking something from the match.
The Magpies’ next outing is another home game, against fifth placed Valentine FC at Cooks Square Park this Saturday at 7.30pm.
FFA CUP ROUND 4
Maitland were given a match against interdistrict team Warners Bay and Hamilton drew Northern League One club Cessnock City in round four of the Northern NSW Southern Pool FFA Cup on Wednesday. Both NPL clubs were drawn away. Games will be played first week of May.
Adamstown host Thornton Redbacks and Weston take on Swansea or Cooks Hills, who clash next Wednesday night.