Match of the Round
Wallsend FC 1 (Sam Bradshaw) def. by Thornton Redbacks FC 6 (Jake Millstead x2, Jye MacKellar, Tallan Martin, Patrick Wand, Trent Partridge)
Sunday 13th May, 2:30 pm, The Gardens
After both teams lost their first game of the season last weekend, it was the Redbacks who bounced back in style defeating the Red Devils with a dominant, high-scoring performance to evict Wallsend to outside the top four.
Although defensively is where Thornton has excelled this season, it was their attacking powers that were on show early as Jye MacKellar and Tallan Martin scored in prompt fashion for the visitors to give them a first-half lead.
Matters only worsened for the home side too as key men Ty Goldsmith, Matt Williams and Travas McCabe all needed to be substituted due to injuries, leaving Wallsend without any replacements for the remainder of the match.
Just minutes before halftime though, Wallsend created a glimmer of hope after being awarded a penalty that was calmly slotted away by Sam Bradshaw.
Thornton came out firing in the second half though and Patrick Wand doubled Thornton’s lead after scoring an incredible free kick that landed squarely in the top right corner.
Despite being beaten multiple times already in the match, Wallsend’s goalkeeper Joel Magnee showed his class making some great saves to keep Thornton at bay, but the Redbacks would be too hard to stop, and two goals to Jake Millstead and an impressive strike from Trent Partridge would seal a decisive victory and deal Wallsend their first back-to-back loss this season.
Thornton’s coach Gary Wand said the result and performance was the perfect reply to losing their first match last weekend and praised his side for their ability to adapt to changes.
“You can’t for any more than what happened today,” Wand said.
“We changed a few things going forward, but we just had to play like a team that’s one of the best sides in the comp, which we did.”
“When you win 6-1, you haven’t really got a bad player.”
Singleton Strikers 1 (Nathan Hall) def. South Cardiff 0
Saturday 12th May, 2:30 pm, Howe Park
Singleton Strikers have continued their tremendous start to the year and have firmed themselves as championship contenders after displaying a strong performance in beating South Cardiff to retain their spot near the top of the table.
Since South Cardiff re-joined the NEWFM Northern League One competition in 2016, the Strikers had been unable to defeat the Gunners in their four fixtures, and with South Cardiff possessing the best offensive record in the competition, holding them out defensively would prove to be the all-important factor for Singleton if they wished to take all three points.
Trying to accommodate for the high winds and harsh pitch, both teams were unable to play free-flowing football and it resulted in a tough, physical and cagey affair.
Despite that though, it was a piece of individual brilliance from Nathan Hall that opened the scoring after he took the ball from inside his own half, beat multiple defenders and rounded the opposition goalkeeper and scoring one of the best goals of the season thus far.
Leading as the teams ran out for the second half, South Cardiff weren’t able to penetrate the Strikers’ defence and the one goal was enough to separate them.
Singleton Strikers’ coach David Willoughby, admitted getting the three points was crucial for his side in stamping themselves in semi-final contention and gave special praise to Hall for his wonder-goal.
“Maradona’s 86’ World Cup Final goal – he [Nathan Hall] ran further than that…it was a sensational run and a great goal,” Willoughby said.
“It was difficult conditions to get control of the ball and play football.”
“To get a result at home was critical for us.”
“It’s given us some much-needed breathing space between us and South Cardiff and Cessnock, and it’s allowed us to be in the semi-final frame coming into our bye.”
At the beginning of the season, many pundits of the league predicted Singleton to sit around the bottom of the table once again, however, the Strikers have shown they’re a force to be reckoned with.
Willoughby stated though, that his side were never fussed with proving their doubters wrong and they were always confident in what they were capable of.
“I don’t see it that way. People made that assessment with ignorance because they didn’t have the information.”
“They didn’t know the work we put in and they didn’t know how we were going to structure ourselves. From the get-go, we knew we could go toe-to-toe with anyone on our day, and that’s the way it’s turned out.”
Belmont-Swansea United 1 (Reece Newton) def. Cessnock City Hornets 0
Saturday 12th May, 4:00 pm, Blacksmiths Oval
For the first time in four years, Belswans recorded a victory against Cessnock at home, moving up the table and sparking a chance to rescue their 2018 season.
A contributor to Belswans’ horror start to the year had been their lacklustre attack and it seemed as though that trend would continue as they squandered their few first-half opportunities.
In the second half, the Hornets interjected former Jets Youth man Josh Dwyer into the game and he made an instant impact almost scoring the first goal had it not been for a great save from Belswans’ keeper Ben Parmenter.
The breakthrough would finally come with just over twenty minutes remaining in the match, as former Valentine defender Reece Newton stepped up to score a superb free-kick and give his side the lead.
Despite Cessnock’s resilience, they were unable to equalise and find a goal resulting in Belswans running out as the victors for the first time in seven weeks.
Belswans’ coach Josh Rufo suggested his side were aware of the importance of the match and comprehensively earned the three points.
“We dominated possession and dominated the football…I think we thoroughly deserved it” Rufo confessed.
“It was the first time we’ve played the same backline two weeks in a row…the midfield pairing has been the same for last couple of weeks too so we’re starting to see some combinations and getting some consistency.”
“It was an important game for us to win. But it’s only important if we now kick on and go on with it. We’re three games undefeated, now we’ve got to be consistent.”
“When you’re winning everyone is happy and when you’re losing, it’s always a little harder to play so hopefully that win will kick us on.”
Kahibah FC 1 (Asher Beasley) drew with New Lambton 1 (Riley Taylor)
Sunday 13th May, 2:30 pm, Kahibah Oval
Both Kahibah and New Lambton were desperate to collect all three points, however, after a tense even encounter, neither side could be separated.
The game began with both sides creating missed opportunities through youngsters Alex Ihlow for New Lambton and Asher Beasley for Kahibah, however, neither team could gather control and seemed to struggle to create any true attacking movements.
That was until a defensive error from New Lambton, allowed Beasley to easily pounce and find the back of the net to give the home side the lead.
The Green and Blacks seemed as though they had found another when a Tom Butzmann shot cannoned off the post straight to Jayden Demir who was denied twice – once by the woodwork and another by a great Josh Cox save.
Early in the second half, the Eagles would find themselves a goal after a long-range effort from Nic Pepper was saved by Kahibah keeper Brady McRitchie, but a running Riley Taylor tapped it in to grab his eighth of the year.
As the second half wore on, Cox continued to shine for New Lambton making some terrific saves to keep Kahibah out, including both a penalty kick and one-on-one against Butzmann, and proved the difference between a loss and a draw for the visitors as the game ended 1-1, and new coach Jim Foley received his first points as New Lambton coach.
Cooks Hill United 3 (Jack Wilkinson, Jarryd Johnson, Tom Liolio) def. West Wallsend Bluebells SFC 0
Sunday 13th May, 2:30 pm, Newcastle Athletics Field
Cooks Hill welcomed their coach Graham Law back in excellent style as they put on a solid display against a West Wallsend side that had won their past four matches to retain their spot at the top of the table.
An early goal in the first minute of the game to Jack Wilkinson opened the scoring and stamped the Cookers in position to take control of the match.
Although Cooks Hill’s large percent of possession and having multiple chances to double their lead, however both the woodwork and West Wallsend’s goalkeeper Jesse Cook denied the home side, and the score remained 1-0 as the teams headed into the break.
West Wallsend tried to work their way back into the game, however, Jarryd Johnson was able to grab another in the second half with a stunning long-range effort before Tom Liolio finished off the game with a goal from a corner to cement the score-line in Cooks Hill’s favour to continue their perfect record at home of six wins from six games.
Law praised his side for their performance, particularly their discipline, in a match that saw some physical and hotly-contested challenges.
“I’m really, really pleased with the boys today – It’s nice to be back,” Law said.
“We were absolutely controlling the game but were only 1-nil up at half-time and I said to the boys that the only thing that will cost us this game is our discipline and if we react to situations. But credit to my boys, they never did.”
Law continued to state that his side’s defence, that had struggled since he left for Scotland, was a major focal point leading into this game.
“I’m over the moon. I put a lot of pressure on the boys to achieve a clean sheet today and they did that so I’m happy.”
“We worked so hard defensively in pre-season and it’s good to see that it’s still there.”
Toronto Awaba Stags FC had the bye.