FFA Cup: Maitland make history as Knights, Hume and Edgeworth return to national stage

The FFA Cup preliminary round action has been coming thick and fast with another five clubs booking their spot in the Round of 32 over the last three nights.

From a newcomer in Northern NSW to a couple of big-name outfits from Victoria making a return to the national stage, this year's FFA Cup competition is really starting to take shape.

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There's now 25 clubs that have now secured their spot in the draw later this month, with the final seven spots to be determined over the next 12 days.

Here's a full wrap of the action we've seen in the FFA Cup this week.

Wednesday: Watson hits hat-trick as Knights prevail over South Melbourne

Melbourne Knights are back onto the national stage after a thrilling win over rivals South Melbourne at Knights Stadium.

The Knights booked their spot in the FFA Cup Round of 32 with a dramatic 4-2 victory, with former Wellington Phoenix striker Hamish Watson the hero.

Watson, who scored six goals in 31 appearances for Phoenix between 2016 and 2018, netted a classy hat-trick to put the Knights into the Round of 32 for the first time in three years.

The 26-year-old striker struck in the ninth and 30th minutes – either side of Kristian Konstantinidis’ header for South – as the home side took a 2-1 lead to the break.

An end-to-end second-half saw Watson complete his treble with 20 minutes left before Billy Konstantinidis hit-back for South Melbourne soon after.

But a towering header from Ivan Grgic 13 minutes from the end ensured the Knights would hold on for the win and claim one of the four spots up for grabs in Victoria.

Wednesday: Eagles soar over Phoenix to book their spot

Edgeworth Eagles simply love the FFA Cup and the club from Northern NSW are back in the Round of 32 after a huge win over Valentine Phoenix.

The Eagles cruised to a 5-0 win over their NPL rivals, with Oliver Smith scoring twice.

An even first 40 minutes swung in Edgeworth’s favour just before the break as Smith capitalised on some great work from Keanu Moore to blast his side into the lead.

Moore went from provider to scorer early in the second-half, before Smith made it a personal double when he raced in behind Phoenix’s defence and finished off a one-on-one chance.

Tyson Jackson and Will Bower put an exclamation mark on the result with goals of their own late on as Edgeworth made it a fourth Round of 32 berth in six years.

Tuesday: Weier heroics send Hume City into Round of 32

Hume City had goalkeeper Michael Weier to thank as they overcame Oakleigh Cannons to book their spot in this year’s FFA Cup Round of 32.

After scores were locked at 0-0 after 120 absorbing minutes. Weier came up big in the shootout as Hume advanced 3-2 on penalties.

The gloveman was flawless throughout the match and then saved Oakleigh’s first two penalty attempts to give his side the ascendancy.

When Weier made a third save with the Cannons’ last attempt, Hume – an FFA Cup semi-finalist in 2015 – were through to the last 32 for the fourth time in their history.

“Michael stood up with three massive saves. The pressure is on everyone, but the two early saves helped, Hume boss Nick Hegarty said.

We then took our chances and we were able to come away with it. It’s something we’re really proud of.”

It’s the fourth time that Hume has made it through to the national stage.

Tuesday: Maitland to make first Round of 32 appearance

Joel Wood was the hero as Maitland earned their spot in the FFA Cup Round of 32 for the first time.

The closest the Magpies had come to that accomplishment was a Round 7 defeat by Edgeworth in 2017, but the Northern NSW Premier side ensured they would not face the same fate in a 2-1 win against Hamilton Olympic on Tuesday night.

But the home side did it the hard way, going a goal behind after only five minutes when Reece Pettit put Olympic in front.

The Magpies forced themselves back into the game and finally levelled the scores from Liam Thornton’s corner in the 48th minute.

The game was on a knife-edge until captain Carl Thornton was brought down in the 72nd-minute, and Wood held his nerve to fire Maitland into the ascendancy.

It was backs against the wall for five minutes of stoppage time but the Magpies held on to write club history.

Monday: Late drama sees South Hobart advance

South Hobart punched their ticket to the bright lights of the FFA Cup Round of 32 with a dramatic late rally against Devonport City.

The visitors lifted NPL Tasmania’s Lakoseljac Cup for the first time in four years following a 2-0 victory against Devonport in a hotly-contested affair on Monday night.

Strikers had made their own impact in the FFA Cup 2018, progressing to the Round of 16, but we denied the chance to shine on a national stage again.

Tobias Herweynan pounced with the clock ticking past 90 mintues as he volleyed home Isky Van Doorne’s delivery to crush the Strikers’ spirits.

The hosts piled forward and were denied a penalty two minutes into added time when Miles Barnard went down under keeper Graham Wright’s challenge and their appeals were waved away.

Devonport goalkeeper Nathan Pitchford ventured forward to attack a last-gasp corner, which resulted in Van Doorne countering and scoring in an empty net as South Hobart secured Tasmania’s solitary spot in the Round of 32.

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