The Maitland Magpies have returned from Weston with an important 2-1 victory in the first leg of the 2022 El Clasicoal derby.
In a hard-fought and tight contest, two moments of class through Braedyn Crowley and Sean Pratt gave the Magpies a 2-0 lead before Weston's new maestro Moustafa Mohammad took advantage of a rare mistake by Maitland keeper Paul Bitz to make it 2-1 with 30 minutes to go.
"The derby is always a tough game and it was good to walk away with three points," Maitland assistant coach Gavin Wolfe said.
"It was a pretty tight affair, the derbies between Maitland and Weston are always a pretty dour affair and yesterday was the same.
"I guess we had the better of the earlier opportunities and Braedyn was able to slot one away after a quick transition after 30 minutes.
"Sean Pratt got the second (53rd minute). Again a bit of loose ball in the middle of the park and Braedyn played the through ball to Sean.
"The Weston goalkeeper came out with a little bit of confusion with the defender and Sean pretty much got in between them and knocked the ball over the top of the goalkeeper."
In probably his first mistake since joining the Magpies at the start of the season, keeper Paul Bitz miskicked a goal kick and it was intercepted by Aaron Niyonkuru who played star Dutch striker Moustafa Mohammad onto the ball.
Mohammad showed his class and he bamboozled two defenders on the edge of the box before sending the ball past Bitz.
"Paul was pretty filthy in the sheds, he said 'one mistake and I conceded our first goal of the year'. He owned it but was pretty dirty with it," Wolfe said.
"Paul has been massive for us in the first couple of games and it was the first goal we have conceded all year with the back four and Paul really working well together."
Wolfe said it was hard to gauge form for either side from the game.
"Between the fact it was a local derby and the pitch was a little bit heavy, we won't take too much from that apart from happily the three point.
"It was a good hit out and as a club we actually walked away with nine points yesterday as we had wins in reserves and under-18s as well which is massive for us out at Weston."
The Magpies face Valentine at Cooks Square Park on Wednesday night in their rescheduled game from round five. They then have Easter off.
The game marks the return of a host of former Magpies including ex-skipper Carl Thornton, Ryan Clarke, Matt Thompson, Liam Thornton and Nic Cowburn.
Kick off in the main game is at 7pm.
The Bears' next game is on Tuesday night away to Swansea at Chapman Oval in the Australia Cup followed by a rescheduled round two game at home against Lambton Jaffas on Good Friday from 2pm.
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