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Match Reports Page No. 1 - More reports from the early season

Last game - Rnd 30 of the 98/99 EC Season - Sunday 26th April
BRISBANE SPRIKERS 1 (Harper 40) d. by NEWCASTLE BREAKERS 2 (Pryce 76 pen, Ritchie 78)
- Yes!! 40 pts & 7th spot!!

Last home game - Round 29 of the 98/99 EC Season - 7.30pm Friday 16th April, 1999
NEWCASTLE BREAKERS 1 (Haythornthwaite 67 min) drew with NORTHERN SPIRIT 1 (Bilokapic 59 min pen.) at Breakers Stadium

Referee: Matthew Breeze 8/10 ; Crowd: 5,015. Game rating 6/10 Best: NB: Buonavoglia, Shannon, Catlin NS: Bilokapic, Arnold, Henderson. Cards: Rudan. Opinion: A gutsy effort on a very heavy track saw the Spirit get the point they wanted and Breakers unlucky not to give them a footballing lesson. "There's only 1 Lee Sterrey!" Now to round off a good season with a win away in Brissie and 7th spot?!

This was a game I had long looked forward too, with mixed emotions however as I support both teams (Breakers 1st, Spirit 2nd) - so in a sense I couldn't win! With my 3 kids we circled the field getting the feel from both sets of fans. The weather for the past 2 weeks had been very wet and the location of the Breakers Stadium 'in a swamp' meant that on arrival the field was very very heavy with the YL game literally ploughing it up - not as much water as 2 years ago v. Sth Melb. but wet deeper down. The crowd was swelling and by kick-off over 5000 were ready for a hard fought game, including perhaps 4-500 Spirit fans with about 300 coloufull and noisy 'Bob Standers' standing in mud on the western embankment close by the special 'beer' cart. Rowdies Hill was as full as I have seen it too. The Breakers out of the top 6 race but definitely not in the mood for any favours to Spirit, and Spirit sweating on at least a point to secure a spot before facing aspirant Marconi next Sunday.

From the kick off it was apparent that the Breakers have started to learn something about playing on a heavy track and Spirit, used to their lightning fast paddock at NSO, were having to adjust quickly. Both sides had to forget much about 'on the deck' and flank play and moved upfield with kicks in the air. Breakers dropped back in numbers and asked Spirit the question, 'do you want to win this?' The answer was to start lobbing balls from the back, especially by Arnold onto Zane and Slaters feet. For the next 15 mins Spirit had Newcastle scrambling, with Catlin doing a Torvill and Dean. Breakers held their shape well with Shane Pryce marshalling his troops and Andy Roberts giving Slater a hard time, so that by the 40th minute they had weathered the storm and started to push up using Tom Haythornthawaite, Shannon, and Buonovaglia to 'wall pass' through the 'stuck in the mud' Spirit defence. They had two great chances to take the lead, especially when Buonovaglia slipped the defence and the strike hitting the inside of one goalpost spinning and slipping in the mud across the goal line and flipped of the far post and was cleared, all while Hendo was left struggling to respond. The teams went in at half-time wondering who could master the conditions for the final play.

In the second half Spirit again came forward and pressured the sturdy Breakers defence who had Shannon tripping around as if he had played all his life in the Scottish mud for Hibernian! ;-) Haythornthwaite and little Johnny made foray's but to no result. Slater was now struggling due to an old injury and in a swap young strong Daniel Watkins came on for him and immediately gave more penetration. Sterrey decided that Roberts could now come off and Glen Sprod came on. Alas from the next move a corner by Spirit from Langdon, who was having a fine game despite Shannon's attention, Sprod was struck on the arm by the ball and whistler Matthew Breeze pointed to the spot. Bilo capped another good game by making no mistake as he sent Catlin to the left and shaving the other upright with his strike. 0 - 1. Arnold had been General-ing from a deep laying sweeper's spot and continued to urge his 'troops' on but Sterrey made another change to give more offensive bite and the Breakers started to push up and soon Haythornthwaite had one of his overhead kicks picked out of the air by Hendo. More pressure and on a lovely curling cross ball by Shannon from the right flank Hathornthwaite slammed in onto goal where Hendo parried it across goal but right into the path of Arnie who carried it over the line. 1 - 1. It looked like the Breakers might snatch this one but Strerrey put on his third sub. Chris Tancheski, just back from injury, but the lad must be jinxed as during a challenge to Paul Bilopkapic he fell heavily onto his left arm and after being stretchered off he took no further part in the game. Left with 10 men Newcastle eased up the attack but interestingly enough so did Spirit, with Arnie directing traffic they sat in their half playing with the ball, whilst Newcastle stayed in there's. Quite weird really but both sets of noisy fans were having such a good time they hardly noticed - but the 'cardboards' in the Stands started to get a bit picky. I think both teams were happy to go for a shower once Breeze blew his whistle - Breakers fans celebrating their last home game and giving the players and Lee Sterrey a rowsing reception - and the Spirit fans already looking forward to the 'beach party' at Marconi next Sunday and then the top 6 game back at NSO. Chris Dunkerley

Round 28 of the 98/99 EC Season - 8pm Sunday 11th April, 1999
ADELAIDE CITY ZEBRAS 1 (Mori 31min) defeated NEWCASTLE BREAKERS 0 at Hindmarsh Stadium

Referee: Con Diomis ; Crowd: 3,846 Game rating ? Best: NB: ?? Cards: Nil Opinion: Top 6 glimmer just died! Still 7th or 8th is likely, and we look forward to fun next Friday v. Spirit and then Kossies Strikers away!

Last game - Round 27 of the 98/99 EC Season - 7.30pm Wednesday 7th April, 1999 (postponed from 4/4/99)
NEWCASTLE BREAKERS 3 (Haythornthwaite 28, Wilson 69, Buonovaglia 85) defeated WOLLONGONG WOLVES 1 (Surjan 61) (1-0) at Breakers Stadium

Referee: Brett Hugo 4/10 ; Crowd: 3,500 est. Game rating 6/10. Best: NB: Pryce, Buonovaglia, Catlin WW: Chipperfield, Beltrame, Horsley. Red card: Huxley WW. Opinion: Lousy first half but led into the break, with the 2nd half a much gutsier effort assisted by the red card to WW. Hugo had a shocker! Top 6 still a glimmer of hope!

Teams: NB: B Catlin, S Pryce, A Roberts, A Sanderson, T McManus, M Wilson, J Buonavoglia, B Wieczorek, G Owens, R Shannon, T Haythornthwaite, S Yoon Bench: J Maguire, P Ritchie, F Umlil
WW Squad: D Beltrame, G Souris, R Stanton, M Horsley, M Brooks, A Surjan, S Chipperfield, R Younis, D Huxley, E Masi, P Reid, D Langan, G Quennet, B Michelena.

After the Easter Sunday game was washed out it was re-scheduled to Wednesday night and I thought can I drive up and still stay awake at work the next day? With my 11yo proto-Rowdie daughter Kerensa we motored up in fine sunshine after checking with the club. Having got some housekeeping out of the way with the Cub re next week's Spirit visit we settled down on the hill and eventually the usual suspects arrived.

The first half was I must say a crap one for the Breakers, with them on the back foot and giving away possession. How we led at half-time I don't know - well perhaps it had something to do with Tom Haythornwaite's strike into the top left corner from 20m off a set up by Mark Wilson. 1-0 Chipperfield and Masi were however causing untold damage and deserved a goal. Adding to Newcastle's woes were some shocking decisions by Brett Hugo. How a miscued clearance can be a back pass is beyond me, and the Wolves vigorous tackling was getting a bit monotonous without penalty.

After half-time however the Breakers began to play. Even though the Wolves got the goal back it was increasingly looking like Breakers had their act together with good service to little Johnny up front. A free kick from skipper Shane Pryce was parried by Beltrame in the Wolves goal but the corner which resulted finished with a beautiful Mark Wilon header. 2-1 The red card, deserved, to John Huxley gave Breakers an advantage which they exploited. John Buonovaglia made it 3-1 late in the game after several strikes either hit the bar or were stopped by a big display from Beltrame. An average game but a big win for the Breakers, which leaves us with a mathematical chance of the top 6.

Talking of a big display from Beltrame, the Rowdies noticed his rather expansive girth and the funniest thing of the night was when Beltrame left his goal for a wander and then backed back - to hear 'beep, beep, beep' and also 'ticker, ticker, ticker" when he moved sideways!

Best for NB: Pryce, Buonovaglia, Catlin. WW: Chipperfield, Beltrame, Horsley.

Round 25 of the 98/99 EC Season - 8pm Friday 19th March, 1999
NEWCASTLE BREAKERS 1 (Pryce 72 pen.) defeated CARLTON 0 at Breakers Stadium

Referee: Brett Hugo; Crowd: 4,192 Game rating ?. Best: ? Red card: McManus for hand ball. Opinion: (Awaiting reports) Just hanging in there for the top 6 chance.

Round 24 of the 98/99 EC Season - 7.30pm Saturday 13th March
MARCONI 0 lost to NEWCASTLE BREAKERS 1 (Haythornthwaite 20) at Marconi Stadium

Referee: Mark Shield 6/10, Crowd: est 4,200, Game rating 7/10, Weather: raining but warm. Cards: (not avail)

Squads: NB: B Catlin, S Pryce, A Roberts, A Sanderson, T McManus, M Wilson, J Buonavoglia, B Wieczorek, G Owens, R Shannon, T Haythornthwaite. Bench: J Maguire, F Umlil, P Ritchie?
MF: A Covic, C Gibson, M Phillips, P Kim, D McDonald, Z Babic, B Maloney, M Smith, R Hooker, B Renaud, K Trajanovski, V Zoric.

Although at Uni all day I 'raced' home, put the Breakers shirt and cap on, and with Owen & Lowenna headed out via the Freeway and Cowpastures Rd arriving just as the game was to kick off. A quick mobile call and the Breakers fans were located in the new eastern stand just near the commentary box. The skies were by now black, with lightning in the distance. Threatening too was wether Marconi were hungry for that top 6 spot and could Newcastle pull off their first win at Bossley Park.

Kick off and Marconi on the attack so we started up a chant to lift the lads (with 3 ex Marconi players on the park), and down came the rain. So did 3 well known Spirit fans who joined in and were soon mixing in some songs of their own. The Breakers only had Buonavoglia up front but were pushing up from midfield and some nice moves indicated the possibilities. The defence had a few wobblies but held and with Andy Roberts settling into marking Maloney a move started with Greg Owens having to back track in the midfield and spying Rab Shannon's signal squared it into space and Rab ghosted up the right wing and hit an early curling early ball across the edge of the penalty area - to be met by a 'world-class' overhead scissor kick from Tom Haythornthwaite which wacked into the corner of the goal. 0-1 Delerium from the 70 or so Newcastle fans. As the rain poured down Marconi slowly but surely got on top in the midfield despite Owen's good effort and by half-time the talk was can we hang on?

The second half saw Marconi throw more forward but the wall stood firm although Catlin was forced to take a few balls which had danger writen on them Marconi was forced to strike from way out and waywardly too. The Breakers didn't only sit behind the ball, they made several attacks with Buonovaglia spearheading but no real pressure was placed on the keeper. Pouring rain did not deter the small Rowdie contingent who continued supporting right up the the final whistle, earning a joyous recognition from the players. Marconi certainly had more of the game, but the Breakers (with ex Marconi coach Lee Sterrey at the helm) had their match and the result was therefore a fair one, especially as Mark Shield had a fairly one-eyed view of the tackles.

Best for NB: Catlin, Pryce, Shannon - but they all deserve praise (despite those wobbles early on).

Round 23 - BYE

Off Optus / C7 Sports: Round 22 of the 98/99 EC Season - 7.40pm Friday 26th February.
NEWCASTLE BREAKERS 2 (Buonavoglia 42, Haythornthwaite 86) drew with ADELAIDE SHARKS 2 (Artone 65, Castro 73) at Breakers Stadium

Referee: E Brazzale 8/10 ; Crowd: 3,204. Game rating 6/10. Yellow cards: Yellow cards: Pryce, Haythornwaite NB, Artone AS; NB Team: Catlin, Pryce, Sanderson (Bauer), McManus, Ritchie, Roberts, Wilson (Owens), Haythornthwaite, Weiczorek (Maquire), Umlil, Buonovaglia. Bench: Owens, Bauer, Maguire. AS: No details sorry.

After a hard week at work sitting down in front of the TV on a Friday night to watch the Breakers play is a pleasant diversion (but not a jot on being there - except the drive!). Last night it was also in hope that we could continue the momentum that had seen us hang by the fingernails to a chance of a top 6 spot. With Rab Shannon and Glenn Sprod out I worried about our wide penetration. The Sports Aus commentators yacked on about the poor condition of the pitch due to rain (true) and I was more worried for we are not a wet track team. Yoon also out - strangely that's a problem due to Tancheski and Borghetto being still out - but Owens and the elevated Tony Bauer are quality talents. What! - neither in the starting line? Hmm....

The first half started with the Breakers pushing the front men forward but keeping their 'powder dry' at the back. Umlil at the 5min mark is denied by quick thinking and within a minute Catlin denies Duric at the other end. Buonovaglia slips through the flat Sharks defence like a hot knife through butter but his angled weak shot rolls past the far (r) post. Generally Breakers are presurring and Adelaide can't get into the area. Ritchie volleys over but then Newcastle drops its head, and the Sharks start to pressure. Alagich blasts one at Catlin, while Witchy shoots at Wildy from a left side corner. For the next 15 mins their is a dour midfield battle but the Sharks are getting more possession. Pryce makes a rare mistake on Poimer and a cross is luckily cleared. At about 42 mins (I think) Witchy slips a delightfull through ball to Johnny B and Buonovaglia dummies Wildy and slots it home. 1-0 Buonovaglia continues to torment the back 4.

The second half sees the Sharks with much more commitment and there is 15 mins of end to end battling but the Breakers are too complacent leading to a free kick at the edge of the area which Artone slots over the wall and past Catlin into the top right corner (our view) 1-1. Breakers make a perfunctory attempt to equalise with first Hathornthwaite, then Johnny B, and then substitute Owens (free kick). The Sharks shrug of this and at the 73 min Castro scores off an attempted clearance by Catlin 1-2. The cross was got in due to a mistake by McManus on Poimer. Then Duric shoots wide, Owens stretches Wildy, but when Artone shoots wide it looks like Adelaide may run away with the game. The intrusion of youth league talents Maquire and Bauer lift Newcastle's work rate and options. Owens makes room, passes to Buonovaglia, whose ball is slotted away by Haythornthwaite 2-2. The time runs out whilst Bauer and Maquire try to salvage the extra 2 points - to no avail.

Not a great game, not the hoped for Breakers play, the Sharks showed commitment and some up front talent. I wonder why Sterrey didn't use Owens for the poor Umlil early on, and inject Bauer and Maguire earlier. With the return after the Bye of Shannon, Sprod, Borghetto, Tancheski, and even Chad Mansley (YL) - he has some good choices; but I now believe TOO LATE for the top 6. Now is the time to get the young players into the action at the top level. NB Best: Buonovaglia, Wieczorek, Roberts

Chris Dunkerley
PS. No news about the Buy-out, but if the rumours about a Soc Aus EXTORTION demand for $500,000 is true they have a lot to answer for!! Remember the Bradley Report!?

Round 21 of the 98/99 EC Season - 7.00pm Sunday 21st February, 1999
GIPPSLAND FALCONS 0 lost to NEWCASTLE BREAKERS 1 (M Wilson 85) at Mobil Park, Morwell

Referee: C Diomis ?/10 ; Crowd: 2,000 est. Game rating ?/10. Best: ? Opinion: ? Yellow cards: A Sanderson 42'; T Haythornthwaite 68'; R Shannon 70'; J Buonavoglia 89'

Round 20 of the 98/99 EC Season - 8pm Friday 12th February, 1999
NEWCASTLE BREAKERS 0 drew with SOUTH MELBOURNE 0 at Breakers Stadium

Crowd: 3,789 Referee: J Tippett 6/10, Game: 6.5/10 (1st half 5/10, 2nd 8/10); Yellow card: Buonovaglia NB. Weather: Occasional showers, mild, and no wind.

Breakers: B Catlin, A Roberts, A Sanderson (Ferguson), T McManus, P Ritchie (Umlil), M Wilson, J Buonavoglia, B Wieczorek, G Owens, R Shannon, S Yoon (Haythornthwaite).
Bench: J Ferguson, T Haythornthwaite, F Umlil

Sth Melbourne:
M Petkovic, S Iosifidis, F De Amicis, N Orlic, C Blatsis, S Panopoulos, V Coveny, P Trimboli, M Curcija, J Anastasiadis, A Cuzzupe, J Polak, J Tsekinis, R Liparoti.

Joined by Nick Guoth from Canberra and my two daughters (Lowenna & Kerensa) I drove up that Freeway for the 7th time this season in patchy rain hoping for at least a draw against the champions and league leaders. That is what I got, and in fact Souths were very lucky to fly home with that single point after a 2nd half barrage from Newcastle.

The Youth League game finished 4-1 in Newcastle's favour over the Sydney Olympic Academy team. A good sign, but the crowd was obviously being affected by the threat and actuality of rain. The first half was awefully boring really, just two teams trying to find their way, without the sparring of last week. There was little of interest except that it was obvious by the whistle that Souths were not posing any sort of threat. Greg Owens (midfield) and Adam Sanderson (in for Pryce at sweeper) were having fine games.

In the second half the game came alive with Melbourne lifting its tempo but the Breakers on fire. They were threatening to slip through the cordon with Buonovaglia again causing havok with his speed, commitment, and ducking abd weaving. There was some great one-twos by Breakers along thr right flank. Then Sterrey took off the ordinary Yoon and Ritchie and put on Umlil and Haythornthwaite. This lifted Newcastle to dominance and three times they hit the woodwork, and two great chances wide. The best was when Freddy Umlil was played through and instead of passing it he headed for goal, turned inside the defence and then hit his shot onto the base of the post with an open goal available. Little Johnny had some great scything runs which came to nought. It could have been 3-0 really!

Best for Breakers: Buonovaglia, Sanderson, Owens.
Sterrey you're a genius - I hope the new owners think that too!

Round 19 of the 98/99 EC Season - 7.30pm Friday 5th February, 1999
NEWCASTLE BREAKERS 1 (Owens 60) drew with SYDNEY OLYMPIC 1 (Juric 86) 0-0 at Breakers Stadium

Referee: J Blaney 7/10, Crowd: 4,055 Game rating: 7/10 Weather: Fine and overcast / cool. Field very heavy after rain this week..

Breakers: B Catlin, S Pryce, A Roberts, T McManus, R Shannon, P Ritchie, M Wilson (Yoon 94), J Buonavoglia, B Wieczorek, G Owens (Umlil 73), T Haythornthwaite (Sanderson 62) Bench: S Yoon, F Umlil, A Sanderson (62).
Olympic: G Bouhoutsos, S Thomas, J Culina, P Cardozo, B Emerton, M Brennan (Augerinos), A Juric, A Cervinski (Tome), S Baillie, M Durakovic, M Blagojevic (Kalantzis). Bench: N Tome, C Kalantzis, E Augerinos.

For the first 5 mins it was a scrappy affair with obvious deep defence by the Breakers. The very heavy pitch had been kept long and according to the Optus team the sidelines brought in. This was mostly to slow Olympic down and crowd their width. It was working. There were two attacks in the first 10 mins from Olympic which breached the defence and these were innefective, and still Newcastle handn't mounted one attack. Then they slowly pushed up and in a breakaway they earned a free kick outside the area. Pryce took it quickly before the wall was back and the referee yellow carded him as he had not indicated play to start. With the YC for Catlin for interfering with Juric after the goal (Which one was trying to re-start play hmmm..?) the only real blemish in rookie Blaney's steady but tentative night. The free kick didn't have the desired effect (except that the Rowdies started to be heard). By 15 mins the Breakers counter attacks started to look dangerous - with a flick from Ritchie to Owens leading to a clearance by SO and then Owens with his trademark mid-range strike which was a scorcher on target and well saved by Bouhoutsos.

The mid period saw pressing attacks by Olympic which were broken down or diverted by the very disciplined Breakers formation - Baillie, Culina, and Cervinski getting shots. In breakaways Buonovaglia was causing problems (including one free kick call overlooked) and 'Witchy' was almost in. Owens has two more strikes. Toward the end Olympic are still on top dropping their heads a bit with all their strikers and midfielders being picked up well, and Cervinski and Durakovic limping. This is not pretty football but boy it is absorbing as the two coaches spar with each other, using the players like chess pieces. The half close with Thomas in the box but stopped by McManus and Emerton and Cardozo missing.

At the half time break it looked like Olympic would have to change something and Newcastle had to decide whether they were going to go for the points. It would seem that Branko Culina changed his team's shape with Thomas and Juric going up, and Sterrey kept things as they were but asked his players to push up a little.

Distracted from play by a phone call I lost some of this half ... sorry! After a good chance to Emerton Newcastle attacked up the left with Witchy putting a great cross to Buonovaglia which was cleared by SO but fell to Owens just inside the area, who hit another of those volleys into the right hand side of the goal. 1-0 !! Could Breakers hold out? Olympic seem to be getting better penetration, esp. by Juric and Cardozo and Emerton both hit wide. Little Johnny B scythes through the Olympic defence like butter again and Sanderson forces a save from Bouhoutsos. Thus sparks SO and in the 86th min Juric takes a sweat strike which clears Catlin and it's 1-1. Olympic foray a few times but its them who settle for the points and its Newcastle who push forward (seeking an outside chance of a top 6 spot) but its all neutralised and the score remains 1-1.

Sydney Olympic did not like the slow pitch and they lacked the fire of recent games, and Newcastle were well drilled and disciplned. Not great football but we Newcastle fans can applaud our coach for his hard work and scheming.

Best: NB - Buonovaglia, Owens, and Weiczorek. SO - Juric, Bouhoutsos, Thomas. Cards: YC Pryce, Catlin, Juric Chris Dunkerley

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