HAMILTON coach Peter McGuinness praised his team’s character and hoped a comeback 4-1 win over a 10-man Adamstown on Sunday was the starting point of their run at the top four in the Northern NSW NPL.
Olympic climbed to 16 points and seventh spot, four points outside the four, with the round 13 victory at Darling Street Oval.
Backing up from a midweek 2-1 loss to Broadmeadow in the FFA Cup, Hamilton were behind in the 57th minute when Luke Vallone chipped goalkeeper Tyler Warren.
Jed Hornery equalised in the 66th after Benn Kelly spilled Scott Pettit’s shot. Hornery put Olympic ahead three minutes later when he slotted home Rhys Cooper’s through ball. Pettit scored from the spot in the 84th after Luke Rutledge was penalised and yellow carded for a close-range handball off Kane Treble’s shot. Rutledge was given a second yellow, this time for dissent, after the penalty. Cooper finished a run from halfway with a goal in the 93rd minute for 4-1.
McGuinness said his tired team “looked a yard off it for most of the game” but substitutes Pettit and Treble helped turn the tide. He said Hornery, Pettit and Reece Papas played through injury and he welcomed the show of character from his squad.
“If I could have got that in bucketloads earlier in the year when we were up against it, we wouldn’t be out of the four, but we are and we’re looking to get in it,” McGuinness said.
“That’s a starting point.”
Adamstown coach Shane Cansdell-Sherriff rued referring calls and missed chances from his side, who dropped to eighth on 14 points. He said inconsistent calls from officials were “wrecking and changing games”.
“Talking back to the ref, he’s got to accept what he got for that,” he said of Rutledge’s send-off. “But I don’t accept the yellow card for the handball. The decision-making from some of the officials this season has been absolutely horrendous.
“They want us to respect them and treat them the right way, then they’ve got to start performing at the level, because it’s affecting games, it’s affecting players.
“I’m not happy with the way it was dealt with by the players, but I can share their frustration to a degree.”
At Cooks Square Park, a hat-trick from Matt Comerford helped Maitland (20 points) jump from fifth to third with a 5-1 win over a 10-man Charlestown, who dropped to fifth on 19.
Both sides had a penalty each saved and Blues defender Kev Davison was sent off in the 74th minute for match official abuse.
At CB Complex, last-placed Valentine (seven points) came from 2-0 down after 12 minutes to draw 2-2 with the Jets Youth. Cai Tipaldo scored in the second minute and Yerasimakis Petratos converted a penalty in the 12th after keeper Scott Carter fouled Tipaldo. Joel Wood (30th) scored before Jesse Feighan (86th) equalised off Zac Sneddon’s through ball.
On Saturday, leaders Broadmeadow (24 points) and Lambton Jaffas (20) drew 1-1 at Edden Oval and second-last Lake Macquarie (nine) defeated Weston (12) 2-1 at Macquarie Field.
James Virgili pounced on a mix-up at the back to score in the 29th minute for Magic, who went to outright first ahead of Edgeworth (23). Jaffas equalised in the 72nd through Pat Brown, whose scored from a close-range rebound after his header was blocked. Lambton slipped from third to fourth on goal difference behind Maitland.
Mitch Hunter scored Lake Macquarie’s winner with a header in the 73rd minute. Morgan Okeno put the Roosters ahead in the 16th minute off a Paul Sichalwe cross and Tega Adjeke equalised with a header in the 66th.
At Maitland, Comerford scored in the sixth minute after Ryan Clarke and Matt Thompson opened up the Blues defence. Comerford made it 2-0 off a Clarke cross in the 17th and added a third in the 29th with a corner kick that beat everyone. Scott Smith headed in a Matt Tull corner in the 45th minute to give the visitors hope but a Ljubo Milicevic own goal off a Comerford cross in the 58th and Clarke’s finish in the 90th completed the rout.