The Maitland Magpies conceded three first-half goals to suffer a 3-1 loss to Broadmeadow Magic in Sunday's first leg of their Northern NSW NPL semi-final.
Maitland produced it’s worst half of the season, with two goals the direct result of poor marking and the third a cracking volley from Kale Bradbery to bring up his brace.
The Magpies face an uphill battle to now make the grand final, effectively needing a 3-0 win at Magic next week.
John Majurovski opened the scoring and Bradbery followed soon after both pouncing on poor marking by the Maitalnd defence.
Bradbery’s second was a top-shelf volley from the edge of the 18-yard box, but Maitland football manager Simon Rutherford said poor Maitland play contributed as the ball should have been cleared earlier.
Rutherford said the Magpies rallied in the second half and had the better of the chances.
Maitland’s goal was judged to be an own-goal by Magic with the ball deflecting past the keeper.
The Magpies were back in the ground but unfortunately couldn’t convert their chances.
A Ryan Clarke effort hit the side post and a great header by Alex Reid hit the cross bar.
Rutherford said the players responded to coach Mick Bolch’s call at half-time to lift, but the damage had been done.
“We created the better of the chances in the second half but unlike Magic we couldn’t take them,” he said.
The Magpies under-20s beat Newcastle Jets Youth 3-0 in the first leg of their semi-final on Saturday.