HAMILTON coach Michael Bolch warned the best was yet to come from his squad after they outmuscled the in-form Newcastle Jets Youth for a 2-1 win in round six of the Northern NSW National Premier League on Sunday.
A fourth-minute header from Kane Goodchild and an 83rd-minute run and strike from Andrew Swan gave Olympic a deserved win over a slick Jets outfit at Darling Street Oval.
The Jets, who boasted A-League players Radovan Pavicevic, Nick Cowburn and Michael Kantarovski, had won their past three games but were on the back foot when goalkeeper Jesse Cook was caught in no-man’s land off a long-range free kick from Mason Campbell to Goodchild, who lobbed his header over the gloveman.
The Jets could not mount sustained pressure as Olympic worked overtime in midfield to shut down the visitors.
However, they found a way through in the 50th minute when Michael Kantarovski scored with a near-post header from a corner after Reece Papas had a shot parried wide.
The contest, though, was summed up by the winning goal.
Jason Korotkich showed desperation to win the ball for Hamilton in midfield before Reece Cooper quickly played in Swan, who cut inside his man to shoot into the bottom-right corner.
The work of Korotkich was exactly what Bolch was looking for against the Jets.
“We did a lot of work on trying to shut down their passing channels,” Bolch said.
“We had to do a lot of chasing, but you have to do that against them.
“You know you are going to be working hard off the ball to shut them down, because they are good and fit.
“That’s what I’m happy with. No one went missing today. There were no standouts, but everyone did their job.”
Bolch has a fitter and more mobile line-up this season and believes they will continue to improve as they gel.
“We’ve instilled that hard work into them that was missing a bit last year,” he said.
“There’s no slackers there, they were all working hard, but I think we are three or four weeks away from being where we want to be.
“We have three or four new players and everyone is starting to know their roles.”
Jets coach Peter McGuinness said poor decision-making from his side created a high number of turnovers and a game which was “scrappier than what we wanted”.
“We did enough to win the game, but I just thought we could have done better with the ball, which they need to be if they want to be footballers,” McGuinness said.
“They need to control the game with the ball, and that’s what we’re trying to achieve.”
Elsewhere, Kale Bradbery scored four goals as Broadmeadow came from 1-0 down at half-time to rout South Cardiff 4-1 at Magic Park.
At Lisle Carr Oval, a Weston side missing James Monie, Troy Hearfield and Jason Cowburn defeated Charlestown 3-1 thanks to goals from Garry McDermott, Nathan Morris and Jake Millsteed.
Rene Ferguson scored for Charlestown.
Edgeworth beat Lambton Jaffas 2-1 at Jack McLaughlan Oval despite going down to 10 men in the 32nd minute.
Bren Hammel was given a straight red card for a two-footed challenge at 0-0.
A Jobe Wheelhouse strike put Lambton ahead in the 42nd minute before Josh Evans equalised with a header two minutes later. Keanu Moore scored the winner for the Eagles in the 66th.
On Saturday, Guy Bates scored one goal and set up two others as Rosebud won their first game of the season, beating last-placed Maitland 3-1 at Adamstown Oval.
Bates scored with a free kick in the 28th minute, then turned provider, whipping in a cross for Nic Bale to head home in the 39th minute.
Joel Wood produced a header to get the visitors back in the game before Scottish defender Garry Kenneth got a touch to a Bates free kick to seal the win in the 89th minute.