THE Maitland Magpies secured all three points in an unconvincing 3-2 win against Lake Macquarie at Cooks Square Park on Friday night.
There was a collective sense of relief when the referee’s whistle ended a disappointing second half and Maitland can now concentrate fully on their historic round of 32 FFA Cup tie against Central Coast Mariners on Wednesday night.
There are less than 100 grandstand seats left at the Maitland Sportsground but plenty of general admission available.
Maitland were fully in control at half-time with a clever goal to Alex Read in the 25th and Joel Wood finding the right corner of the net from the penalty box shortly before half-time after Read was brought down in the box at the end of bullocking run through Lakes defence.
The Magpies had several other close chances and continued in the first 10 minutes to threaten to increase their lead with the best chance a stunning volley by Nick Cowburn off a deflected shot by Jimmy Thompson, smashing off the left post.
But an errant pass going forward left Magpies keeper Matt Trott exposed and it was game on as Nick Charlesworth pounced to score for the Roosters in the 59th minute.
The Magpies continued to pepper the goal and as he has done so often this season Wood scored when needed to give Maitland a 3-1 lead in the 85th minute.
But once again Lakes took advantage of a defensive mishap and their captain Samuel Walker scored in the first minute of overtime.
Magpies coach Mick Bolch said going forward the Magpies needed to take their leads from an excellent first half.
“We probably were a bit unlucky not to get another goal to lead 3-0 but we controlled the game and everyone was on song.
“However, the second half was really disappointing and we made it really hard work for ourselves. We dropped our intensity and paid twice for defensive mishaps.
“I think going forward it was really positive to see Thommo (Matt Thompson) starting and playing for 65 minutes and Grant Brown had his first game back after five weeks with a foot injury.”
MAITLAND MERCURY – Michael Hartshorn (Monday July 29, 2019)