Match of the Round
South Cardiff FC 1 (Troy Runge) drew with Belmont-Swansea United (Corey Wilson) 1
Sunday 6th May, 2:30 pm, Ulinga Oval
Belmont-Swansea has squandered a chance to get their season back on track after giving up their lead right at the death against South Cardiff away from home.
Having only achieved one win so far this season, Belswans started the game strong and, after a few chances to both teams, grabbed the first goal after a scrambling effort following a Clayton Poole free-kick that was touched in by Corey Wilson.
Neither side could gain complete control, and although South Cardiff held the majority of possession, they weren’t able to create many clear-cut chances due to a rock-solid Belswans defence.
Playing against his recently-departed club, Klaudon Ahmataj played as the target man for the away side, however, it seemed his former teammates were aware of his style and were always quick to shut his offensive efforts down.
As the second half waged on, South Cardiff began to push harder and further up the field in an attempt to equalise and midway through the second half, it seemed Belswans were content with their one goal and looked to try and retain their lead and a hopeful win.
However, in the dying minutes of the game, a Nathan McCallister flicked header sat up perfectly for a running Troy Runge and with the final kick of the game, Runge slotted it to the left past Belswans goalkeeper Ben Parmenter to steal a point from their opposition.
South Cardiff coach Denis Fajkovic admitted his frustration and stated his team needs to acclimatise to the style of the game better in the future.
“We have to be able to adapt in games like that, especially when we go down early,” Fajkovic said.
“The fact that we got at least a draw out of it is probably the only positive to take.
“We’ll definitely move on and look at our game at Singleton, but we need to learn from this game and fix what we did wrong.”
West Wallsend Bluebells SFC 2 (Joseph Holt, Josh Knight) def. Wallsend FC 0
Saturday 5th May, 1:00 pm, Johnston Park
The Wallsend Derby is always a great clash that presents an entertaining day of football and once again that was the case at Johnston Park, as the home team surprised the Red Devils to win and deal their bitter rivals, Wallsend, their first defeat of the year.
Wallsend’s new striker Ty Goldsmith looked like he may have scored a spectacular goal from halfway, chipping West Wallsend goalkeeper Jesse Cook, but the ball heartbreakingly landed on the top of the net.
The Bluebells would capitalise on Wallsend’s near miss, and after a scramble inside the penalty box, Joseph Holt managed to put the ball in the goal to give his side the lead after 20 minutes.
Goldsmith and Wez Pryce had chances saved by Cook, and it looked like Jarrod Olivieri would make Wallsend pay and double the lead from the penalty spot, but Joel Magnee, Wallsend’s goalkeeper, made a great diving save to deny him.
In the second half, Pryce seemed destined to equalise the game from a Goldsmith cross, however, the ball hit the upright, and as the frustrated Red Devils attempted to attack to steal a point.
The Bluebells dealt the killer-blow when substitute and youngster Josh Knight scored his first goal for the season and sealed the club’s fourth consecutive victory – the first time they have in 11 years.
West Wallsend now astonishingly sit in third place, just two points behind league-leaders Cooks Hill, while Wallsend drops down into fifth.
New Lambton FC 2 def. by Singleton Strikers 8 (Hayden Nicol x4, Tom Hume x3, Nathan Hall)
Saturday 5th May, 2:30 pm, Alder Park
In a wild, high-scoring fixture, Singleton travelled to Alder Park to dish out their biggest victory in 15 years and in the process, giving New Lambton their biggest loss this side of the millennium.
The game marked the first time that new head coach Jim Foley was in charge and standing on the sidelines for New Lambton, but unfortunately for the Eagles, the occasion marks one of the worst losses in club history instead.
The game kicked off with a tough contest and both sides trading blows early in the first half with Hayden Nicol grabbing a double for the away side, and Alex Ihlow scoring for New Lambton.
However, a red card to Eagles’ Harry Benbow saw the first half’s score-line blow out in the last few minutes as Tom Hume scored two, along with a Nathan Hall goal, giving the Strikers a commanding 5-1 lead as they headed into the break.
The first half opened in the home team’s favour as Kieran Quadrelli pulled one back for his team. But as the game dragged on, Singleton’s domination grew and it led to another goal to Hume to complete his hat-trick, as well as two more to Nicols to award the Strikers with a resounding lead.
Amazingly, for one of the first times in club history, Singleton now sit in second and only two points away from the league-leaders Cooks Hill, pitting themselves in great stead for qualifying for the top four for the first time since they joined the competition in 1996.
Cessnock City Hornets 6 (Kane Rodgers x2, Kyle Williams x2, Jake Thompson, Isaac Peek) def. Toronto Awaba Stags FC 2 (Cody Armstrong, Nick Mackay)
Sunday 6th May, 2:30 pm, Turner Park
Cessnock has recorded their biggest victory since 2014, as well as scoring the most goals the club have scored in a game in six years, against a woeful Stags side.
After losing their second consecutive match last week, the Hornets looked to bounce back and started with a spring in their step and it only took 13 seconds for Jake Thompson to open the scoring in tremendous, and surprising fashion.
Cessnock would keep the pressure on the visitors and goals to Kane Rodgers and Isaac Peek would give them a 3-0 lead to end the first half.
The second began similarly to the first and Rodgers scored a second, however, the Hornets seemed to take their foot off the accelerator and it allowed Toronto to nab two quick ones through Nick Mackay and Cody Armstrong to bring the game back into contention.
Cessnock City coach Brendan Slade made some key substitutions, none more so than youngster Kyle Williams who was able to clutch two late goals off the bench to put the game’s result beyond any doubt which blasts Cessnock back near the top four.
Slade confessed that although he was pleased with the win, the fact that they conceded two goals whilst they were dominating is something that they’ll need to fix.
“We need to work out ways so that we don’t drop off and concede soft goals like we did,” Slade said.
“We need to keep up our intensity for the full 90 minutes. We’ve got to stop switching off because good teams are going to punish you if you do that.
“We’re playing the teams now that are below us on the table so we need to make sure we get results against these sides so we can get back into the top four.”
Slade did make a special mention about his forwards’ efforts though, stating that their composure and execution was pleasing to see as goal-scoring was an area that had let them down in recent weeks.
“I’m very happy with our goals today. Our wingers had been making some great runs, but it was that final pass that lacked. It was much better today.”
“It’s nice to see things you work on at training coming out on gameday.”
Thornton Redbacks 1 (Jake Millstead) def. by Kahibah FC 2 (Jayden Demir, Riley Ferguson)
Sunday 6th May, 2:30 pm, Thornton Park
The Redbacks have conceded their first loss of the season as they were stunned by a strong Kahibah outfit who showed much more of the qualities that league pundits have grown to expect from the Green and Blacks.
The first half didn’t feature many goal-scoring opportunities with a missed, headed chance for Josh Colman the only real prospect right on the stroke of halftime.
However, the second half showcased much more free-flowing football and the game opened up for both sides.
Kahibah were denied by the woodwork twice in the space of seconds following shots from Jayden Demir and Matt Parker, but Demir didn’t let that deter his spirits and moments later he found the back of the net to give the away team the lead.
Thornton hit back through Jake Millstead though and had an opportunity to take the lead when in-form striker Jye McKellar wasted a great chance.
With the game locked up and twenty minutes remaining, midfielder Riley Ferguson popped up to score for Kahibah and from there, his side was able to hold onto the lead to achieve just their second victory of the season and move up from the bottom of the table.
Kahibah now moves into eighth place on the table while Thornton sits just inside the precipice of the top four.
Cooks Hill United had the bye.