By Caleb Mitchell
Canberra FC’s 2018 FFA Cup run came to a solid end on Wednesday night as they were beaten 4-1 by a strong Broadmeadow Magic outfit at Deakin Stadium.
The hosts scored first through Thomas James but two goals in either half from the visiting Northern NSW club ensured they would progress to the Round of 16 for the first time in their history.
The match got off to an even start as both teams made attacking forays, but it was Paul Macor’s men who would draw first blood. James was set off down the left wing by a great outlet pass and looked to have all the time in the world as he strode into the penalty area, before calmly placing his shot past Paul Bitz to hand his side the lead.
The Magic responded strongly though and looked to bounce back and a defensive lapse from Canberra FC proved to be their way back into the match as Kale Bradbery pounced to sneak a finish past Jordan Thurtell and bring his side level with 21 minutes played.
Ruben Zadkovich was forced into making an early change for the visiting team as James Virgili was unable to continue after 35 minutes and he was replaced by Cody Carroll.
That didn’t slow the Magic down though and a blistering effort from Bradbery shortly after was denied only by the underside of the crossbar, but it was just four minutes until the Magic took a lead of their own.
The ball was headed down to the top of the area from a Broadmeadow corner and after winning possession Bradbery struck an effort at goal. The shot was deflected into the lap of John Majurovski and he found the poise to direct the effort past Thurtell and in to give the Magic a 2-1 lead as the teams headed into half-time.
The outlook didn’t improve for the hosts in the second half either, the Magic pushing their lead out to two goals just two minutes into the half.
A sweeping move down the left saw Thurtell forced into an excellent first-up save, but it was to no avail as Majurovski scored his second from the rebound, tucking home on his second bite at the cherry.
Daniel Subasic picked up his first yellow card five minutes in to the half as he was pinged for a reckless tackle on former Brisbane Roar player Mitchell Oxborrow as some tough challenges began to fly in.
Thurtell produced another great save shortly after to deny what looked like a definite goal for the Magic’s Justin Broadley as Canberra FC looked to hang in the game.
Macor brought on Michael Mensah as the hosts chased the game and with 20 minutes to go he had the ball in the back of the net only for the goal to be ruled out for offside to deflate the home crowd.
The remaining hopes of the hosts was soon extinguished with a one-two blow with 13 minutes to go. Subasic was shown his second yellow card and given his marching orders and just a minute later substitute Dino Fajkovic streamed into the gap in the backline and coolly slotted into the back of the net to seal the lead and the result.
Canberra FC were awarded a penalty with three minutes remaining that Ian Graham stepped up to take, but his effort was well saved by Paul Bitz before the follow-up came out of the crossbar and Kofi Danning’s effort off the rebound struck Graham and went out for a goal kick in a passage of play that summed up the evening.
The game opened up further in the final few minutes but the scoreline would remain the same as the Magic progressed at the expense of the hosts. Canberra FC now turn to the local scene as they host Belconnen United in the NPL on Sunday afternoon.