PHOTO: VALENTINE SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHY
Match of the Round
West Wallsend SFC 2 (Jones 61’, Van Kemenade 88’) drew New Lambton FC 2 (Taylor 49’, Casey 56’)
Saturday 27th May, 2:30pm at Johnston Park
A late fight back seen West Wallsend share the points with visitors New Lambton at Johnston Park for the second time this season on Saturday afternoon.
The home side created their share of chances early on – a Ryan van Kemenade shot forced a save from Eagles’ keeper Josh Cox, while Ryan Cole narrowly missed the target in the 18th minute.
New Lambton edged their way into the match – Alex Ihlow had a good chance midway through the first half, and Luke Jocevski fired a chance over from a tight angle after a delightful ball from Justin Maddalena, however, the two sides went into the sheds level at 0-0.
Josh Casey would be the man to break the deadlock almost immediately after halftime, going on a mazy run and placing his shot past Jesse Cook in the West Wallsend goal to make it 1-0 to the away side.
Maddalena was doing his best to play provider on the day for New Lambton, and would do so in the 56th minute – he picked up the afters of a Josh Cox’s goal kick, and played in a well-timed Riley Taylor run who finished well to make it 2-0.
The Bluebells would claw one back just five minutes later after a captain-on-captain foul in the box earned the home side a penalty. Dan Luther was the villain for New Lambton, while his opposite armband Tye Jones stepped up and converted the penalty to give his side a way back into the match.
Each side had their chances throughout the half, but West Wallsend ensured they weren’t the victims of a clean sweep with a goal in the 88th minute – Ryan van Kemenade was the beneficiary of a loose ball from a West Wallsend corner, which ensured the points were shared at Johnston Park.
New Lambton coach Andrew Packer was upset to miss the chance to go within four points of fourth place.
“Very disappointed, I think the players were shattered by it,” Packer said.
“We know we need to have a run of wins and a couple of good results, the guys were shattered after the match but look, if you go to ground inside the box, as soon as you do that it’s likely to be a penalty and it was.
“We weren’t hard done by on the day, both teams had their share of chances and we capitalised on ours early in the second half… We had ours in the second half and I thought this is good, we can go on with it but we didn’t.
“We didn’t have any guys who could grab the game by the scruff of the neck, slow it down and do all those things that come with a bit of experience, which shows at times,” Packer concluded.
Cooks Hill United FC 2 (Ashton 41’, Yaxley 81’) drew Toronto Awaba FC 2 (Roberts 40’, Armstrong 67’)
Saturday 27th May, 2:30pm at Newcastle Athletics Field
Cooks Hill stumbled against a bottom three side for the second week running, to take only a point from a determined Toronto Awaba side.
The Cookers were on the attack early, and in the second minute seen Nick Russell hit the post in what was a golden chance to go ahead early.
The home side continued to dominate much of the possession without creating much, but Toronto were looking dangerous on the counter and had a golden chance in the 10th minute – but Josh Bruce couldn’t hit the back of an open goal.
Hayden Jensen at the back was a standout and a key reason for Toronto’s defensive stability.
Cal Gallagher had a penalty waved away in the 33rd minute, and up the other end Cody Armstrong snatched at his shot soon after and sent it miles over after finding himself in behind the defence.
A deep Josh Davis cross in the 40th minute provided the most unlikely of leads for the Stags as it found Nick Roberts, whose header, wrong-footed keeper Jake Hamilton, that nestled in the back of the net to give his side a 1-0 lead.
Within a minute, however, the home side was level. Daniel Yaxley boomed down the right and found Gallagher inside him, who in turn sought out Lee Ashton in the box. The wide man steered his shot past Blake Redman and levelled the scores at 1-1.
Cooks Hill were given a half-time roasting from coach Graham Law and were on the attack again straight away – a little too eager, however, as they found themselves caught offside three times within the first four minutes. Nick Russell had the first chance of the half in the 59th minute after a poor Blake Redman goal kick but steered his chip wide.
Toronto took the lead once again in the 67th minute and it was Cody Armstrong who found the back of the net – turning in a cross from the right to make it 2-1.
Cooks Hill were carving out chance after chance without finding the final ball but burrowed their way through to level it up once again in the 81st minute. Ashton again charged down the right-hand side and squared the ball to Yaxley – who made no mistake from in close and made the scores 2-2.
Both sides had the chance to steal the three points – a Josh Bruce effort in the 86th minute was turned away superbly by Hamilton in the Cooks Hill goal, while a Ashton header in the 88th minute rebounded off the post into a sea of players but couldn’t find its way into the back of the net. In the end, neither side could make it three and it ended 2-all.
Cooks Hill coach Graham Law was frustrated following his side’s second draw in as many weeks.
“It was a repeat of the Singleton game, we dominated the game and come away with a draw,” Law said.
“When you’re not converting your chances it puts pressure on the backline, but we have to be able to defend better than that… we’ve conceded eight goals in the past three games, and we don’t have long consistent periods where we’re defending so my defenders have got to be better.
“I thought Toronto played well and credit to them, two good keeper performances two weeks on the bounce… I knew this was going to happen though, teams are starting to get more consistent as the weeks go on and results will be harder to come by.
“It’s up to us to come up with solutions to break teams down, but we’re not finishing our chances… although it’s hard to be critical on a team who have scored nine goals in our last three matches,” Law concluded.
Singleton Strikers FC 1 (Civello 34’) def. by Belmont Swansea United FC 3 (Marcus 16’, 80’, Lodge 83’)
Saturday 27th May, 2:30pm at Howe Park
Belmont Swansea bounced back into the winner’s circle after a strong win over Singleton up the valley on Saturday afternoon.
Nathan Hall was an early casualty of what would be a well-contested match – taken away in an ambulance with a suspected broken rib after thirteen minutes. Belswans took advantage of the break in play – they built well down the right, and a headed Tega Marcus goal put the Belswans in front in the 16th minute.
Joe Civello would level the scores in the 34th minute – his darting run to the left of the two centre-halves was found by Bowen Bagnall, and the diminutive striker hit his shot back across the keeper and into the back of the net to leave the two sides level at the break.
Both sides were struggling to find a way through one another throughout much of this match, and yellow cards were being handed out for fun – five to Singleton, and three to Belswans.
The most influential of the cards was a second to Singleton’s Robert Hill in the 79th minute, which brought his side down to ten men. Belswans wasted little time making the most of the man advantage as Marcus bagged his second from the penalty spot just a minute later as a result of a handball inside the box.
Just three minutes later, Belswans broke down a Singleton attack and played a couple of balls over the top, which meant Cam Lodge found himself 1 on 1 and made sure of it in the 83rd and secured Belswans fifth win of the season.
Singleton coach David Willoughby wasn’t too dismayed by his side’s eighth loss of the season.
“Disappointed not to take a point, but to be brutally honest they dominated field possession and the stats,” Willoughby said.
“We gave away a silly penalty, they had 14 corners to our 2, we had a dozen goal kicks to their five and we weren’t good enough to keep them at bay… we just didn’t get our execution inside the box right, and we couldn’t find our last pass but defensively we were much better.”
“We’re still waiting for confirmation on Nathan Hall, but we believe he’s cracked a rib… he left the hospital on Saturday night and was quite uncomfortable, we’ll know today.”
Belmont Swansea coach Josh Rufo was pleased to pick up only their second away win of the season.
“Really happy with the result, but happier still with the performance,” Rufo said.
“The football was very good quality, the work rate was very high and it was a good team effort… next weekend against Cooks Hill will be tricky, they’re top of the league for a reason but our aim is to be competitive, we go with the mentality of winning the game and we’re confident we can more than match them.”
South Cardiff FC 4 (Runge 7’, 73’, Treweek 25’, McCabe 61’) def. Wallsend FC 0
Sunday 28th May, 2:30pm at Ulinga Oval
Wallsend were thoroughly dismantled as they whimpered to a 4-0 loss at the hands of South Cardiff at Ulinga Oval on Sunday afternoon.
The Gunners opened the scoring early through Troy Runge, which handed South Cardiff a 1-0 lead that allowed the side to settle into the match and play their brand of football.
Almost twenty minutes later, right back, Cam Treweek, arrived at the edge of the area late and curled a delightful shot with his left foot around the keeper and into push South Cardiff’s advantage to two.
Ben McCabe scored South Cardiff’s third in the 61st minute; the midfielder was played in on a breakaway and took his shot early, which slammed in off the inside of the post to extend his side’s lead to three.
A shanked Denis Fajkovic free kick in the 73rd minute lead to South Cardiff’s fourth and final goal – Fortunately for the Gunners, the set piece found Troy Runge who finished well for his second goal of the afternoon.
South Cardiff coach Denis Fajkovic was happy with the win in the season’s second Gallagher Shield.
“A few of the boys were well up for the occasion, and I made it up to be a big game,” Fajkovic said.
“Antonio Ahmataj, our striker had a really good game and set up a couple of goals… Rungey (Troy Runge) was really good, he got two and could have had more, Ben McCabe came into the side instead of young Joey (Grujevski) and did really well, got himself a goal, as did Cam Treweek who came in.
“Personally, very pleased with the result… now we’ve just got to build on that, next week’s game against Cessnock is really important for us, coming up to the bye we really want to take full points and set us up for the run in.”
Thornton Redbacks FC 2 (Atwell 6’, Martin 45’) drew Cessnock Hornets FC 2 (Francis 84’, 88’)
Sunday 28th May, 2:45pm at Thornton Park
Cessnock earned a shock point to pile on the misery for a stuttering Thornton outfit at Thornton Park on Sunday afternoon.
The home side shot to an early lead through a goal after a cross from Jamie Subat found former Cessnock man Wade Atwell at the back post, who turned his header in to make it 1-0.
Atwell had a number of chances throughout the half, and Tallan Martin fired a good opportunity over the bar in the 34th minute – but would find a crushing goal on the stroke of halftime from the afters of a Nathan McAllister corner to make it 2-0 at the break.
Thornton took the foot off the gas in the second half and paid for their complacency late in the half. A long ball from experienced Cessnock man David O’Hearn wasn’t dealt with by the Thornton defence and pounced on by Matt Francis who clawed one back for the Hornets.
Just four minutes later, in the 88th minute, the Hornets scored again. A Brodie Williams corner found Matt Francis in the middle, who netted his second and secured the Hornets’ fourth point of the season.
Cessnock coach Lino Gatti wasn’t getting ahead of himself despite the result.
“We’re doing it tough, we only have 22 players for two sides (first and 23s) and it’s tough.
“We were pretty poor in the first half, similar to the Kahibah match, we couldn’t hang onto the ball and kept turning it over, went to sleep at the back a couple of times… we changed our style of play and made a couple of substitutions, and we were able to pull two goals back to make it 2-2.
“The situation (with Jason Zechel) is he’s carrying an injury, because of the physicality of the first-grade game from what I knew of the first-grade match I thought I’d play him in 23s and see how he pulled up… he didn’t finish the game in 23s, so it’s an injury management issue we have with him.”