PHOTO: COOKS HILL UNITED FC
Cooks Hill secure Premiership and Semi Finalists decided in final round
Match of the Round
Thornton Redbacks FC 0 def. by Belmont Swansea United FC 1 (Thorne 47’)
Sunday 6th August, 2:45pm at Thornton Park
Thornton dropped the three most crucial points of the season on Sunday afternoon, going down 1-0 and securing a semi-finals berth against premiers Cooks Hill.
It was blowing a gale at Thornton Park, and the first half suffered as a result. The chances were falling Belswans’ way, and Cameron Lodge had a good effort on goal in the 22nd minute. Joel Shearer had a chance four minutes later, before Thornton ‘keeper Drew Olsen had to be substituted following a collision with a player from each side left him struggling to stand thanks to an ankle injury.
The two sides went to the sheds level, but Hayden Thorne was on hand to help Belswans take the ascendancy just a minute into the second half. They nearly had a second in the 65th minute after a clever Tega Marcus flick found Joel Shearer in the middle, but sub ‘keeper Chris Burg was on hand to make a solid save.
Tallan Martin had a pair of good chances around the halfway mark of the half, directing a header just onto the roof of the net and forcing a wonderful save from Ben Parmenter after a sweetly hit half-volley.
Thornton thought they had one back after substitute Luke Johnson put the ball in the back of the net, but he was ruled to be offside. Tega Marcus would hit the side netting late on, but neither side could add another goal and it finished 1-0.
This was a big match in the context of the top four, and it’s a result which has had big consequences. Belswans will now take on Kahibah in the semi-finals as a result of their third place finish, while Thornton face a stern test in Cooks Hill thanks to their fourth place finish.
Cooks Hill United 5 (Currie OG 23’, Ashton 43’, Lewis 49’, Russell 60’, Ramspott 83’) def. New Lambton FC 3 (Taylor 36’, 86’, Hand 90+1’)
Saturday 5th August, 2:30pm at Newcastle Athletics Field
It wasn’t easy, but a vintage display from a magical Cooks Hill attack secured them the three points and the Premiership on a blustery day at the Newcastle Athletics Field.
Cooks Hill had a good chance at the back post early on, before the game levelled out as both felt their way in on a windy day. New Lambton were running into the wind first half, but threatened from a couple of set pieces early.
Alex Ihlow and Justin Maddalena went close for New Lambton on the 21st minute, before New Lambton would open the scoring, albeit at the other end. A strong run into the box and cross from Ash Balcombe wasn’t dealt with properly by the New Lambton defence, and was turned in for an own goal and a 1-0 Cooks Hill lead.
Lee Ashton had a golden chance to double the scores 10 minutes later but was dealt with superbly by Matt McLure. He’d be made to regret it in the 35th minute, when Riley Taylor made the most of a ball in from the left to level the scores at 1-1.
Looking for an instant reply, Cooks went back up the field and Cal Lewis went close. He’d lay on the goal to push Cooks into the lead in the 45th minute – his shot was saved well by Josh Cox, but the rebound was turned in at a tight angle by Lee Ashton and the home side would take a 2-1 lead into the sheds.
It only took Cookers’ four minutes into the second half to double their lead. Daniel Yaxley cut a ball back into the path of Cal Lewis after a tidy cross from Nick Russell, and Lewis made no mistake to make it 3-1.
Jake Hamilton pulled off a ripper save in the 56th from an Alex Ihlow shot, before Nick Russell scored one of his own in the 60th minute to make it 4-1 Cooks Hill. Then, with a three-goal lead much of the play started going New Lambton’s way – enter Jake Hamilton.
The young ‘keeper was sublime, making four saves from four corners, including a pair of saves in the 68th minute, to ensure Cooks Hill hung on to their advantage. His superb efforts in defence opened the door further up the pitch – and substitute Jonas Ramspott took full advantage, slamming home a shot from a delightful Daniel Yaxley cross to make it 5-1 in the 83th minute.
With a four-goal lead, Cooks Hill went into party mode and forgot to defend. Tom Liolio gave away a penalty in the 86th minute, which Riley Taylor converted to bring the scores back to 5-2. Zane Hand made a bounding run in the first minute of injury time to score a header at the back post, but it coincided with the final whistle and it’d finish 5-3.
After the match, Cooks Hill coach Graham Law was ecstatic with his side’s win.
“The whole time, I’ve put pressure on them (to) win the comp, win the comp,” he said.
“It might be my UK mentality, but the best team is the team that wins the competition… the pressure was always put on them to win the comp, and now I think we’ll be even better.”
Law was also full of praise for the performance of young ‘keeper Jake Hamilton.
“It’s plain to see (how good he was), we knew in the second half against the wind we’d struggle with Zaney’s (Zane Hand) long kicks and throws.
“As long as we kept our shape and played out from the back we’d be alright, and we done it… we went 5-1 up and our boys went into party mode, but I can forgive them those two goals.”
That win means Cooks Hill will now face Thornton in the semi-finals, while New Lambton finished the season in eighth.
West Wallsend SFC 5 (Jones 41’, van Kemenade 50’, Olivieri 53’, 61’, Baillie 78’) def. Cessnock City FC 0
Saturday 5th August, 2:30pm at Johnston Park
It was a mixed bag throughout the year, but a five-star West Wallsend were able to finish their season on a high with a big win over Cessnock on Saturday afternoon.
The match got off to a bad start for the visitors, with Jordan Willard sent off for denying a goal scoring opportunity in just the ninth minute. Despite the man advantage, Cessnock weren’t proving easy to break down and it took them until the 41st minute to find the back of the net, through Tye Jones.
They’d take the one goal advantage into half time, and then come out firing in the second. A goal to defender Ryan van Kemenade made it 2-0 just four minutes into the second half, before a Jarrad Olivieri double in the following ten minutes extended their lead to 4-0.
Michael Baillie scored in the 78th minute to take the scoreline out to 5-0, which is how it finished.
The result means West Wallsend fell just short of Gary Rowe’s target of 30 points for the season, instead they managed 29 points in sixth place. As was confirmed weeks ago, Cessnock have finished in last place by a margin of 14 points.
Kahibah FC 6 (Leyland 24’, 68’, 76’, Trummel 28’, Penfold 65’, Hadden 83’) def. Wallsend FC 0
Sunday 6th August, 2:30pm at Kahibah Oval
Second spot was on the line, and Kahibah did not disappoint as they ran out 6-0 victors and secured themselves a semifinal match up with Belswans next weekend.
Murray Leyland opened the scoring for Kahibah in the 24th minute from a free kick, before a corner bore fruit for Brendan Trummel who scored Kahibah’s second four minutes later.
With the game still anyone’s, Winstone Oku would show studs and earn his second yellow of the afternoon in the 62nd minute. Jarrod Penfold capitalised in the 65th minute, firing in a low shot to make it 3-0.
Murray Leyland scored his second in the 68th minute to take the score out to 4-0, before completing his hat-trick in the 76th minute after Leyland seized on an opportunity from another set piece.
Joseph Hadden completed the rout in the 83rd minute, the under 17s captain scored his first goal in the top grade to take the score line out to 6-0, which is how it finished.
The big win means Kahibah finish in second place, and have secured themselves a semifinal showdown with Belswans. Wallsend finished in seventh spot on the ladder, and won’t have a chance to defend their two consecutive championships.
South Cardiff FC 3 (Cowling 17’, 88’, Fajkovic 22’) def. Singleton Strikers 0|
Sunday 6th August, 2:30pm at Ulinga Oval
South Cardiff went oh-so-close to making the finals but bowed out at the final hurdle. They made sure to finish their season on a high, doing it easy against Singleton.
It was always going to be a tough one for Singleton, and they were behind early when Brett Cowling scored the opener for the Gunners in the 17th minute. Player/coach Denis Fajkovic doubled their advantage just five minutes later, and the two goal buffer is the one they took to the sheds.
The game evened out in the second half, with each side giving some first grade game time to some youngsters. Brett Cowling scored his second goal in the 88th minute to secure the win for the Gunners.
The result means South Cardiff finish in fifth, just an agonising four points outside the top four. For Singleton, they managed to avoid tenth spot – but only just. They ended the season in ninth place, with 19 points.