PHOTO: VALENTINE SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHY
Match of the Round
South Cardiff FC 0 defeated by Thornton Redbacks 6 (Halverson 22’, 42’, Whitelaw 25’, 35’, Atwell, McAllister)
Sunday 30th April, 2:30 pm at Ulinga Oval
It was a result no one could have predicted on Old Boys Day at Ulinga Oval as Thornton stormed to a shock 6-0 win over South Cardiff on Sunday afternoon.
Thornton’s Will Whitelaw had the opening chance of the match, a half chance at the top of the box which he blazed over. Thornton controlled much of the opening stages of this one and made the most of it in the 22nd minute.
Jack Halverson closed down South Cardiff’s Cameron Herring and won the ball on the corner of the defender’s 18-yard box and played a nice one-two with Jamie Subat. The youngster made himself some space and finished emphatically into the far corner to make it 1-0.
The Redbacks doubled their lead three minutes later after Liam Penglaze cut the ball back to William Whitelaw who was standing at the top of the box. He finished hard and low into the bottom left-hand corner to make it 2-0.
Thornton pushed the game virtually out of reach in the 35th minute, after a tough Liam Coppeti challenge on an off balance Halverson won a free kick for the Redbacks. Nathan McAllister’s ball across the face found the diving head of Whitelaw, who finished for his second and Thornton’s third.
With only three minutes before halftime, Thornton would nail the coffin shut, thanks again to a good delivery for Penglaze out wide. His ball into a collection of players fell favourably for Halverson, who made no mistake from 8 yards out to grab his second and make it 4-0 Thornton at halftime.
The Gunners started the second half more positively, the introduction of Antonio Atmataj from the bench adding some much-needed flare up front for the home side.
South Cardiff had a glorious chance when captain Corey Nicholas whipped a ball across the face of goal, but a vital touch from Thornton ‘keeper Drew Olsen sent the ball just out of danger.
The match was turned on its head in the 57th minute after a collision between Thornton’s Jesse Smith and Gunners’ goalkeeper Mikel Breckenridge was adjudged violent conduct on the keeper’s behalf by the referee and seen him given his marching orders. Joey Grujevski made way for reserve goalkeeper Zac Hamilton, and the Gunners were down to 10 men.
Despite their man advantage, Thornton didn’t change the way they were playing and slowly took control of the match once again.
Hamilton was challenged in goal, making good saves in the 75th and 79th minutes to keep the score at four. However in the 81st minute, Thornton would well and truly put the match to bed – a Will Whitelaw nutmeg on half way found Wade Atwell, and the substitute made no mistake in finishing his chance and making it 5-0 Thornton.
Nathan McAllister would add the cherry on top for the Redbacks in the 86th minute – touching up a floated ball in and hitting a volley sweetly over the head of Hamilton in goal and making it 6-0 at full time.
Thornton coach Daryl McAllister was ecstatic about the result following the match.
“We didn’t expect that result, I think in the first half we put four goals past them and doubled their season tally by halftime,” McAllister said.
“The boys did well, doing what they’ve been doing and scoring plenty of goals and we were just a bit better defensively as well.
“Keeping a clean sheet was tremendous for us today.”
South Cardiff coach Denis Fajkovic was choosing to look forward following the big defeat.
“It was disappointing, we’re learning and it’s a tough learning curve,” Fajkovic said.
“We’re lucky it’s just one game, I’d rather lose one game 6-nil than six games 1-nil… it was Old Boys Day for us so it hurts a little bit for us not to be able to show up for those boys.
“Conceding those early goals in the first half rattled us and the inexperience in games like that sort of showed, it’s very easy to have a bad thirty-minute spell and then be out of the game.”
Cessnock City FC 1 (Taylor 29’) drew New Lambton FC (Taylor 62’) 1
Saturday 29th April, 2:30 pm at Turner Park
It was a tale of what could have been for New Lambton as they squandered a plethora of chances on the way to a 1-1 draw with Cessnock at Turner Park on Saturday afternoon.
Nic Pepper had the ball in the back of the net within 35 seconds for the Eagles but was adjudged to be offside.
Riley Taylor fired a chance at the keeper just a minute later, and Luke Maloney fired wide in the 11th minute. Taylor fired another chance at the goalkeeper just three minutes later, and Cessnock had their first chance of the half in the 17th minute – Travis McCabe found Jason Zechel, but the winger could only fire over.
Another shaky moment for the Hornets only a couple of minutes later, when some poor distribution from Matt Zechel in the Cessnock goal handed Riley Taylor another golden opportunity but he could only find the hands of the keeper once again.
It was a wonder goal in the 29th minute almost against the run of play that handed Cessnock an unlikely lead – a Beau Taylor in-swinging corner hit so sweetly it nestled into the inside of the net to hand his side a 1-0 lead.
New Lambton had a number of chances to go level before halftime – Josh Casey fired a shot at the keeper in the 36th, Cessnock captain David O’Hearn cleared off the line on the 38th and Justin Maddalena hit the crossbar on the 41st, but it was the Hornets that’d take a rare lead into the sheds at halftime.
The Eagles started the second half similar to how the first played out – missing chances. Riley Taylor found himself in behind but failed to finish early into the half, Luke Jocevski had a shot saved in the 59th minute and Josh Casey fired over a minute later.
New Lambton would finally make the breakthrough in the 61st minute, and it was the man who’d put his fair share at the keeper – Riley Taylor. The winger wiggled his way out of some close attention from a couple of opposition defenders and got a curling shot off, which found its way in at the far post to make it 1-1.
Cessnock had a number of chances to reclaim the lead in the latter stages of the match – Brodie Williams didn’t get enough power into his shot in the 84th minute, Matthew Frances fired wide in the 94th minute and ultimately, it’d end 1-1.
Cessnock coach Lino Gatti was pleased to pick up his side’s second point of the season.
“Always happy when we get a positive result against one of the competition’s top teams,” Gatti said.
“They had plenty of wonderful chances and they should’ve had several, but we should have also had several and towards the end, it could’ve gone either way.
“I think the match was good preparation [for Tuesday night’s Westfield FFA Cup clash with Hamilton Olympic], especially defensively… our shape was a bit better and our determination to defend the ball was definitely the best we’ve had this season.”
New Lambton’s Andrew Packer was frustrated by his side’s inability to finish their dozens of chances.
“Obviously disappointed but it was such a good performance from us, we created so many and should have come in at four or five nil at halftime,” Packer said.
“It was really poor, I was upset by the finishing in the first half and I said to the boys it’s no point getting to there if you can’t finish those chances.
“Even in the second half we had chances to score two or three, our finishing was a problem but it hasn’t been for most of the season, so it’s hard to criticise.”
Singleton Strikers 0 defeated by Kahibah FC 3 (Abshilava 28’, Illfield 40’, Penfold 89’) at Howe Park
Kahibah piled on the misery for Singleton at Howe Park as they shot up into second place with a confident victory on Saturday afternoon.
Jake Kepreotes and Jarrod Penfold had early chances for Kahibah saved and go wide respectively, and it was Gocha Abshilava who’d open the scoring for the Green and Black in the 28th minute with a confident header at the back post past Stuart Plant in the Singleton goal to give the away side a 1-0 lead.
Kahibah would double their advantage before half-time through midfielder Ash Illfield – a shot from a way out which cannoned off the underside of the crossbar and was adjudged to have crossed the line to hand his side a 2-0 lead at the break.
The Strikers came out of the sheds firing in the second half – James Bates had a chance saved in the 47th minute, and Michael Bruzesse went close not long afterwards.
Despite some enterprising football from Singleton throughout the second half, Kahibah again took the ascendancy and would finish off the match thanks to Jarrod Penfold, whose shot took a touch from Jackson Skinner on the way in but was awarded to Penfold, which gave Kahibah a 3-0 lead at full-time.
Singleton coach Dave Willoughby wasn’t disheartened by the defeat.
“They were very well organised, I was happy with our effort, it was fantastic, we got in a couple of times and generated some scoring opportunities,” Willoughby said.
“We stuck to our game plan and took it to them on the day… A fair reflection of the game would have been 3-1, I think.
“Kahibah were just too good.”
Kahibah boss Andre Gumprecht was pleased with his side’s comprehensive win.
“Very happy with the result, but happier about keeping a clean sheet for the second game in a row.
“We struggled a little bit in areas… in converting and being more composed could have helped us notch a few more goals.
“Singleton tried to play football, which I really liked and they were unlucky on occasions… but 3-0 shows we were quite solid.”
Belmont Swansea United 4 (Nakhoul 6’, Marcus 45+1’, 62’, 74’) defeated West Wallsend SFC 3 (Cole 41’, 85’, Price 88’)
Sunday 30th April, 2:30 pm at Blacksmiths Oval
It was a nervy finish for Belmont-Swansea as they secured victory over a determined West Wallsend outfit at Blacksmiths Oval on Sunday afternoon.
Belswans got the ball rolling early on when Jayden Nakhoul turned in a header in the sixth minute to give the home side an early lead. The Bluebells squared the ledger in the 41st minute through Ryan Cole after some good work from Jarrod Olivieri in a rare piece of clinical finishing for West Wallsend.
Jayden Nakhoul would turn provider a minute into injury time to give Belswans a valuable lead going into half time as he found Tega Marcus over the top, who finished past Zac Park in goal to give his side a 2-1 lead at halftime.
Marcus would grab his second in the 62nd minute and push his side’s lead to two after he turned in a Josh Hall cross, and then grab a third to snag his hat-trick in the 79th minute and give his side a comfortable 4-1 lead with ten to go.
The Bluebells stood up and made a game of it where they would’ve folded earlier on in the season, however. Ryan Cole scored his second in the 85th minute of the match thanks to a good Bryson Cox ball in, and Fletcher Price scored West Wallsend’s third in the 88th minute to make it a tight finish, but it finished 4-3 Belswans.
Belmont-Swansea coach Josh Rufo was pleased with the win but will focus on the improvements ‘later on’.
“We dominated the match until the 85th minute, and the last couple of minutes took a bit of polish off the performance,” Rufo said.
“Better to still win, and we can talk about and work on those little things later on.”
Rufo was also pleased with his hat-trick hero Tega Marcus.
“I’ve known Marcus for a couple of years and he keeps getting better and better, spending time working on the little things to become a more complete player.”
West Wallsend coach Gary Rowe was disappointed his side didn’t push on and snag a point.
“They decided to have a go at the point in the game which was nice, but it was too little too late,” Rowe said.
“The issue for us is that we’re playing decent football but we give goals away for fun, we don’t do it every second or third week but we do it every week.
“While ever we keep gifting things to our opposition we’re going to continue to struggle.”
Wallsend FC 2 (Pett 83’, Williams 89’) defeated Toronto Awaba 0
Sunday 30th April, 2:30 pm at The Gardens
Wallsend left it late to collect all three points at home to an up-and-down Toronto on Sunday afternoon at the Gardens.
With one eye on Tuesday night’s mammoth challenge at Magic Park in the Westfield FFA Cup, Wallsend set up to play similar to how they envision tomorrow night’s clash will play out. As such, much of the match was spent sitting deep and soaking up pressure from a strong Toronto side.
A couple of substitutions midway through the second half livened up the game and opened the door for some fresh legs to do the damage for the Red Devils.
Wallsend broke from the defence in the 83rd minute and Matt Williams beat his defender one on one and played in substitute Jackson Pett who finished past Blake Redman in the Toronto goal to give his side a 1-0 lead.
The Red Devils would finish Toronto off just a couple of minutes from time after a delightful ball from 16-year-old Ty Cousins found Luke Alexander, who beat his man and squared to Williams in the middle who finished and made it 2-0 at full-time to Wallsend.
Wallsend coach Chris Gallagher was frank about how his side lined up yesterday.
“We used yesterday as preparation for Tuesday night, trying to get our defensive shape set a lot better and working as a unit,” Gallagher said.
“I don’t think people give Toronto the credit they’re due… they came out reasonably well, our boys had their shape.
“It was ugly because we did a lot of defending, but the boys did exactly what was asked of them, and we knew we’d fade away towards the end because we’ve had so many boys coming back from injury, so a few changes we made late on made a real difference.
“There’s a couple of chances we probably should have taken, but the main thing for us was to stop conceding silly goals and we did that,” Gallagher concluded.