NPL Semi Final: Hamilton Olympic – Lambton Jaffas

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The Semi Final sees second placed Lambton Jaffas travel to Darling Street on Sunday to challenge third placed Hamilton Olympic, in the first of their two-leg tie.

Hamilton blew the chance to finish second, last week going down to Maitland 2-0 at home. It was just their second loss of the season, a competition best. Combined with ten wins and six draws they recorded a tally of 36 points to finish third.

The Jaffas finished one point in front of Olympic, on 37 points, having won eleven, drawn four, and lost three games this season.

Both of these sides finished on a points total that would have seen them finish as Premiers in 2014, however Edgeworth were simply near-perfect this season.

Despite the Eagles finishing first both the Jaffas (three) and Hamilton (two) recorded less losses then Edgeworth (four). As Hamilton coach Mick Bolch suggested mid-season it was the draws that were letting his side down, which ended as the case for both Olympic and the Jaffas.

Lambton go into the first leg of their Semi Final at full strength, which is a positive for Coach David Tanchevski.

The injured Grant Brown was rested last weekend in the 2-1 win over South Cardiff, and midfielders Riley McNaughton and Jobe Wheelhouse only played 45 minutes each, so both will be refreshed.

Tanchevski joked that he and Olympic coach Mick Bolch are sick of playing each other in Semi Finals matches after meeting twice in 2013, both of which Lambton won in shootouts, but is looking forward to the match.

‘Hamilton are a very good team. We always have tight games with them and there’s usually only a goal in it at full time’.

‘Since coming up from the NEWFM comp we have had a good record against them. Like us they have only lost one at the back end of the season though so they will be tough’ Tancheski said.

Tanchevski went on to label their second place finish as ‘exciting’ suggesting that their goal is to make the top four, however since promotion they have finished as a top three side three times in three seasons.

Lambton and Hamilton have met twice this season, producing two low scoring draws. In Round 4 Jobe Wheelhouse opened the scoring before Kane Goodchild leveled, and the match finished 1-1. In Round 13 they then played out a scoreless stalemate.

The Jaffas go into the match with superior recent form, winning four of their last five compared to Olympic’s three. In fact they have won nine of their last eleven matches in which they have kept four clean sheets and scored 30 goals. Hamilton have won six of their last eleven, scoring 31 goals.

Although the sides produced two low scoring affairs in their two matches this season, expect goals this Sunday. With both sides averaging three goals a game in the last three months, and desperate to go into the second leg of the Semi Final with a clear advantage, this match should be an intriguing affair.

In the first semi final played today at Broadmeadow, Broadmeadow Magic – Edgeworth Eagles 3-3.

SEMI FINAL 2

FIRST GRADE

HAMILTON v LAMBTON @ Darling Street, 2:30pm

UNDER 22’s

HAMILTON v EMERGING JETS @ Darling Street, 12:45pm

UNDER 19’s

HAMILTON v BROADMEADOW @ Darling Street, 11:00am

source: sportshunter.com.au

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