PHOTO: VALENTINE SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHY
Match of the Round
Thornton Redbacks FC 2 (Smith 75’, Subat 83’) drew Cooks Hill United FC 2 (Yaxley 54’, Lewis 63’)
Saturday 9th July, 2:45pm at Thornton Park
A flurry of second-half goals left Cooks Hill rueing after they let a lead slip once again surrendering two points to a Jamie Subat inspired Thornton outfit on a chilly Saturday afternoon at Thornton Park.
It was a frantic to and fro opening – Nick Russell and Liam Penglaze firing over the bar early on for their respective sides. Lee Ashton had a golden chance for the visitors with nine minutes gone, but the ball caught him by surprise and he got way too far under it and sent it skyward.
Russell fired well wide two minutes later in the best chance of the match so far – he worked well to create some space down the left, but couldn’t find the target. Tallan Martin had two good chances before halftime – a header he steered wide from a corner in the 21st minute and a shot at keeper Jake Hamilton under some immense pressure in the 29th minute, but neither side could find a breakthrough before halftime.
Cooks Hill didn’t spend much time in the sheds and had to pass it amongst themselves waiting for Thornton to return to the pitch. The visitors were the better for it, striking early in the half after a good Daniel Johnson corner was nodded home by Daniel Yaxley who rose above a sea of players and made it 1-0 Cooks Hill.
Nick Russell shook the side-netting with a shot in the 60th minute, before choosing to square the ball rather than shoot just three minutes later. Cal Lewis was the lucky recipient, and he had the simplest of finishes to take Cooks’ advantage out to two goals. Injured in the lead up to the goal, Thornton youngster Jack Halverson was brought off and replaced by Subat – a move which changed the game.
The striker played a big part in Thornton’s first goal – a touch on to captain Nathan McAllister, which he took a big swing and a miss at. It wasn’t attacked by the Cooks Hill defence and fell nicely to Jesse Smith at the back post. The Thornton substitute lashed his shot back across the keeper and buried it to pull the game back to 2-1.
Jock Thompson came close to scoring from a corner in the 83rd minute, and Cooks Hill drove up the field in an attempt to exploit the space left in behind by Thornton. They couldn’t do so, and Thornton sent a long ball upfield in an attempt to counter themselves. It found Subat, whose touch on hit the deck and appeared to bounce up and strike his hand. He played the whistle though and went on to get in behind the Cooks Hill defence and score – the goal allowed due to an apparent ‘ball to hand’ situation, despite howls of protest from the visitors.
Both sides had chances to win it in the final minutes –Subat had a 1-on-1 with keeper Hamilton which was saved well by the youngster, while Cooks Hill captain Cal Gallagher missed a header from point-blank range with just seconds left on the clock.
Thornton coach Darrel McAllister was pleased to get a point but disappointed with the way it happened.
“When you’re two-nil down you’re happy, both teams had chances to win it and it’s probably a fair result in the end but we’re probably disappointed we didn’t take three points,” McAllister said.
“We changed things up because things weren’t working for us, there’s areas we felt we could have done better but when Suey [Jamie Subat] came on, played him and Tallan together and they’re both better nines… we were down so we needed a goal when you’re running out of time you try and rescue something so you give Suey a role, and that’s what we did.
“(Jamie Subat) does add a bit of experience but it’s probably just his presence, we probably missed him a bit in the first half where we played a style that suited him but we’ve got to be a little bit better at playing to suit the players we put out there.”
Cooks Hill coach Graham Law was disappointed with the way his side lost their lead.
“It’s not so much complacency if you look at Thornton’s first goal, Macca misses it, it’s runs on and takes a deflection and goes in, goals change momentum in a game,” Law said.
“We lose a goal and we sit right back… that’s what happens when you concede five [goals] midweek, you lose a goal and it’s human instinct to sit right back… but I was really pleased with the way we played.”
South Cardiff FC 0 drew Kahibah FC 0
Saturday 9th July, 2:30pm at Ulinga Oval
Two of the league’s best defences cancelled one another out yesterday, as a ten-man South Cardiff couldn’t break through an equally depleted Kahibah outfit at Ulinga Oval on Saturday afternoon.
Kahibah had the first real chance of the match, Jasper Sambrook going close before Dave Hodgson rattled the post with a shot from the resulting corner. Brett Cowling went close for the Gunners in the 31st minute, before some agile keeping from Mikel Breckenridge denied Kahibah’s Heath Kepreotes from opening the scoring.
The second half began to fire up a little – the two captain/coaches in the middle of a bit of push and shove at their respective ends of the field, Fajkovic gave away a free kick in the 69th minute which Jasper Sambrook nearly turned in. The match appeared to have turned in the 71st minute when Kahibah striker Dave Hodgson was sent from the field for a second bookable offence.
Matt Parker had a golden opportunity to win it for his depleted Kahibah side but sent his shot wide in the 87th minute. Southy’s Zac Parkes was sent off for a second bookable offence himself not long after, the substitute’s sending off levelling the ledger back to 10 men a piece but neither were able to break the deadlock.
With both sides failing to capitalise on Cooks Hill’s stumble at Thornton Park, it’s made for a very congested top four. Cooks Hill (34 points) are now just two clear at the top, with Kahibah (32), Belswans and Southy (both 31) snapping at their heels. Given Cooks Hill have the bye next week, it’s a good opportunity for all three sides to stake a claim on the top spot.
Belmont Swansea FC 3 (Harper 26’, Hall 63’, Marcus 83’) def. Toronto Awaba FC 1 (McKye 26’)
Saturday 9th July, 2:30pm at Blacksmiths Oval
Belmont Swansea emerged as the big (and only) winners of Saturday’s triple header of Northern League One football, putting three past Toronto and moving to within three points of top place on Saturday.
The visitors opened the scoring through Nick McKye, the youngster grabbing his third goal of the season in the 26th minute of play. Belswans had a leveller not long before halftime though – Mitch Harper sinking one to make it 1-all at the break.
The return of Josh Hall to the starting lineup paid dividends after the break – he scored in the 63rd minute to give Belswans the lead for the first time in the match. With seven minutes left on the clock, Tega Marcus did what he does best and scored his 17th goal of the season to give Belswans a resounding 3-1 win.
As stated above, the big winners of Saturday’s action were Belswans. The win moves them five points clear of Thornton in fifth and has them sitting third with only three points separating them and Cooks Hill at the top of the ladder. Their task doesn’t get any easier this weekend – they’re away to a difficult West Wallsend side who haven’t lost at home since round 5.
For Toronto, it virtually assures their place just above the foot of the ladder. They won’t be caught by Cessnock, and would have to pick up at least seven points from their next three matches to have any chance of finishing higher – and then hope the teams around them finish the season poorly.
Singleton Strikers FC 1 (Hartwell 39’) def. West Wallsend SFC 0
Sunday 9th July, 2:30pm at Howe Park
A Ryan Hartwell cross-cum-shot put the Strikers ahead which put West Wallsend’s finals hopes look all but over after they couldn’t find a way through a resolute Singleton defence on Sunday afternoon.
It was the Bluebells who had the first chance of the match, Ryan Cole rattled the underside of the crossbar in the fourth minute, but the ball didn’t find its way over the line. Bryson Cox went close with a dipping shot in the 34th minute, but it’d be the Strikers who opened the scoring five minutes later through midfielder Ryan Hartwell.
The number 6 attempted to return the ball back into the box after a corner broke down, but his lofted cross was a poor one – it chipped Jesse Cook and found its way in at the far post to give Singleton the lead.
There was to be controversy in the 42nd minute as Westy were lucky to keep all eleven men on the pitch. A tussle for the ball down the left-hand side between the defending Ryan van Kemenade and Singleton’s Joe Civello ended in a free kick to the striker before ‘RVK’ chopped him after the whistle. He was shown a yellow card for the tackle and was lucky not to get another after what appeared to be an elbow to the head of Civello as the pair walked away.
Bowen Bagnall missed a golden chance to put the Strikers in front by two just after the break, as he put a chance over the bar from just three yards out. It was tight all over, with Ryan Cole having the best chance for the visitors of the half – his shot was saved superbly down low by Singleton keeper Stuart Plant. The Strikers had a chance of their own to double their lead again in the 92nd minute, but neither Civello or Bagnall could find the back of the net with only Cook to beat.
It’s a telling blow for West Wallsend’s finals hopes – they now trail the pack by six points, with a match against Belswans and the bye to come in the final four rounds. It’s good news for Singleton though – they jump into eighth, with only three points separating them and seventh placed Wallsend. They now only need four points from their last four games to match their 2016 tally, five points would better it and achieve coach David Willoughby’s goal for the season.
Wallsend FC 5 (Coker 4’, Williams 14’, Hecimovic 28’, Oku 37’, Milton 67’) def. New Lambton FC 3 (Hand 2’, McLure 63’, Ihlow 72’)
Sunday 9th July, 2:30pm at The Gardens
Someone forgot to remind these two sides they were playing out a dead rubber – they put on quite a show for those gathered at The Gardens and a ten man Wallsend did their best to cement seventh on the ladder with a big win over a weary New Lambton outfit.
This is a match you certainly wouldn’t have wanted to be late to – New Lambton opened the scoring through Zane Hand in just the second minute. Ethan Coker replied with a tap-in just two minutes later, before a stunning strike from Matt Williams put Wallsend in front with just fourteen minutes gone.
Alex Ihlow missed a big chance in the 18th minute, and it’d come back to bite the Eagles ten minutes later. A Wallsend counter attack sent the ball in the direction of David Hecimovic, who bamboozled Keegan Pulik at the near post and scored his first goal of the season, stretching Wallsend’s lead to two.
Some determined strength from Winstone Oku earned Wallsend their fourth goal of the afternoon in just the 37th minute. The big man muscled Ammon Currie off the ball after a free kick and finished with power to hand his side a three goal buffer at halftime.
New Lambton were looking to claw their way back into it and had a chance to do so sent over the bar by their leading goal scorer Alex Ihlow in the 58th minute before they were presented with a golden opportunity to seize the initiative in the 62nd minute. Mal Hinchliffe was sent off for a handball inside the box, which gave Matt McLure the chance to pull one back from the penalty spot – he did and made the score 4-2.
As soon as heads had gone up for New Lambton, they were sent back down as Jono Whiting gave away a penalty in the 67th minute. Trent Milton dispatched the penalty, and despite a Pulik glove to the ball it found its way in to take Wallsend’s lead out to 5-2.
The Eagles kept pushing and would cut the deficit down to just two thanks to an Alex Ihlow header in the 72nd minute. It’d be the last they’d score though – Keegan Pulik pulled off a good save to deny Milton a brace in the dying seconds, and the Red Devils would claim their second win on the bounce.
With Singleton’s win over Westy, the result means the Eagles drop to ninth on the ladder. Wallsend are now on 22 points in seventh, with five points separating them with next best side West Wallsend. If they can keep their good run going over the next fortnight against Toronto and then Westy, the sixth spot on the ladder is more than possible.