After last week’s incredible 7-0 rout of Broadmeadow Magic, the Maitland Magpies have crashed back to Earth with a 2-1 home defeat to a 10-man Lambton Jaffas in a top-of-the-table showdown on Sunday afternoon.
After having left-back Dain Greentree sent off in the second half for two bookable offences, James Pascoe’s well-drilled Jaffas side hung on in the closing stages to stay top of the pile and extended their lead over the Magpies to four points, as the season nears the halfway point.
Although missing regulars Shane Cansdell-Sherriff and Matt Comerford, the Magpies made a strong start in the opening minutes.
But Jaffas took control of the game with a dominant first half display. Maitland goalkeeper Matt Trott was called into action early to palm away Pat Brown’s eighth minute strike, but was beaten by a close range header from Greentree, who opened the scoring in the 15th minute.
Despite their dominance, Jaffas were unable to find another goal in the first half and Maitland made them pay right on the cusp of half time. With Lambton committing bodies forward to find a second, Dutton-Black pounced on a loose ball to send Clarke into space, who went on a stunning solo run to breeze past the defence and finish coolly past Jaffas keeper Brad Swancott to level it up at 1-1.
Lambton picked up where they left off in the first half, dominating the opening exchanges of the second period, with Trott beating away another stinging long-range strike and a shot from inside the box come off the post in the 54th minute. However, Jaffas were not to be denied, with substitute Rhys Tippett scrambling a loose ball home from close range on the hour mark.
Greentree then went from hero to villain just a minute later as he collected a yellow card for a heavy challenge, in addition to his 47th minute booking, and was dismissed, to give the Magpies a glimmer of hope with their numerical advantage.
From that point, it was all Maitland as they searched for an equaliser, however the undermanned Jaffas defence remained strong.
Maitland takes on Weston Workers Bears at Cooks Square Park on Wednesday night in round five of the FFA Cup.