With the draw completed and the details set, the FFA Cup’s Round of 32 is almost upon us.
At present, the FFA Cup presents the only opportunity for clubs from outside of the Australian top tier to mix it with A-League sides; presenting an intoxicating clash of styles, culture, and histories as the Australian footballing community experiences the magic of the Cup.
In this preview, dailyfootballshow.com looks at the sides from Northern New South Wales Football that will be competing in this year’s Cup.
One of two Northern New South Wales in this year’s Round of 32, the Magic were founded as Newcastle Macedonia FC in 1966 and have also gone by the name of Broadmeadow United and Hamilton Red Star in their history before adopting their current title in 1995.
Playing out of Wanderer’s Oval – nicknamed Magic Park by the Broadmeadow faithful – in the central Newcastle suburb of Broadmeadow, the Magic currently compete in NPL NNSW: sitting in third place after defeating Valentine FC 5-0 in Round 18.
Managed by three-time Socceroo and former Sydney FC, Newcastle Jets and Perth Glory player Ruben Zadkovich, the Magic are making their fourth appearance in the Round of 32, having previously reached the national stages in 2014, 2015 and 2017.
Despite this impressive history of reaching the Round of 32, the Magic are still seeking their first win on the national stage: previously losing to the Brisbane Strikers (2014), Heidelberg United (2015) and Moreton Bay United (2017) in their Cup assaults.
The Magic began their journey to this year’s Round of 32 in the fourth round of NNSW preliminary qualification, defeating State League side Wallsend FC 4-1 at the Gardens.
Defeats of State League side Thornton Redbacks and NPL NNSW side Adamstown Rosebud would follow, setting up a meeting with fellow NPL NNSW side Hamilton Olympic with a spot in the Round of 32 on the line.
Meeting at the neutral venue of Adamstown Oval due to the unavailability of Magic Park, two goals in the five minutes of the first half saw the game head into halftime deadlocked at 1-1.
With the score reading 1-1 as the game entered its final ten minutes, it appeared the contest was destined for extra time; until Magic substitute John Majurovski rose up to meet a cross in the 83rd minute and fired in the winner for his side.
Round of 32 Fixture: @ Canberra FC, Deakin Stadium, 25 July, 7:30
Charlestown City Blues:
With a history that stretches back to 1900, the Azzurri of Charlestown was born in their modern incarnation thanks to 2009 merger between Charlestown United and Highfields Azzurri; with the club set to run out on the national stage of the FFA Cup for the first time in 2018.
A part of the NPL NNSW since 2014, the Blues play out of Lisle Carr Oval in the Newcastle suburb of Whitebridge and currently sit in the seventh position on the NNSW NPL table, having suffered a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Edgeworth FC in the most recent round of play.
The Blues got their 2018 FFA Campaign underway in thumping fashion, defeating local Z F League Three First Grade side Hamilton Azzurri 10-0 in the fourth round of preliminary qualifying.
A 3-1 defeat of fellow NPL NNSW side Lake Macquarie City FC followed in the fifth round before the Blues would again record a heavy victory over non-NPL opposition as they demolished Boambee Bombers FC 6-0 in round six.
The Azzurri would be made to work for it in the final round of preliminary qualifying though, taken to penalties by the aforementioned Jaffas; lifted by the heroics of goalkeeper Danny Ireland as he saved two penalties as Charlestown triumphed in the shootout.
Managed by David Tanchevski, who when he isn’t coaching the Azzurri works as a real estate agent in the Newcastle area, the Blues will be bringing the vibes 💗🔥 to the FFA Cup’s Round of 32: former Socceroo and Australian football cult-hero Ljubo Milicevic making the trip up from Bondi each weekend to patrol the pitch for the Azzurri.
On top of Milicevic, Charlestown will also be bringing some significant firepower to the national stages, with attacker Scott Smith the scoring six goals in preliminary qualifying and Callen Lewis adding four more.
Round of 32 Fixture: @ Heidelberg United, Olympic Village, 1 August, 7:30