VALENTINE SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHY
Match of the Round
Wallsend FC 1 (Matt Williams) def. by West Wallsend Bluebells SFC 4 (Tye Jones x2, Brendan Frost, Joseph Holt)
Sunday 22nd July, 2:30pm, The Gardens
It was the biggest Wallsend derby in recent history as both a position inside the top four and the chance to knock down their fierce rivals, was up for grabs and, for the second time this season, the derby was comprehensively won by the Bluebells.
The game started off in favour of the visitors when Tye Jones latched onto Joe Holt’s cross with a spectacular volley that gave his side the early lead.
Just minutes later, Joe Holt missed a golden opportunity to double the lead, but his teammate Brendan Frost more than made up for it with a long-range screamer that forced its way into the back of the net leaving Wallsend goalkeeper Joel Magnee helpless.
West Wallsend continued their pressure and the Red Devils proved to be powerless to stop it as Joe Holt rose above to head away a third for the Bluebells with still much of the first half remaining.
Wallsend attempted to retain possession and it seemed one of the league’s Golden Boot contenders Ty Goldsmith would pinch one back for the home team but shockingly smashed it over the top of the crossbar and matters only worsened for his side when Ash Watts was deemed to have fouled Bluebells’ Jarrod Oliveiri inside the box.
Jones stepped up and knocked it home for his second goal, giving his side an unassailable lead.
Late in the second half, Matt Williams scored from a great free kick to grab a consolation goal for Wallsend, but the result had already been decided in what is the first time since 2007 that the Bluebells have won both derby matches in a single season.
The Bluebells now sit in fourth place and three points clear of South Cardiff in fifth, while Wallsend now lie four points away from the top four and will most likely need to find successful results from all of their last three matches if they want to feature in this year’s finals.
Belmont-Swansea United 2 (Mitch Cook, Mark Finlayson) def. South Cardiff FC 1 (Nathan McCallister)
Saturday 21st July, 2:30pm, Blacksmiths Oval
Belswans have extended their fantastic unbeaten streak to 12 games after defeating fellow top four team South Cardiff in a thrilling game that was capped off with a late winning goal.
Belswans were without their new attacking star Josh Sutton, as well as solid defender Reece Newton, and their absence may have been felt as South Cardiff were the first ones to pounce.
A handball in the box resulted in a penalty kick being taken by the Gunners’ prolific forward Nathan McCallister who made no mistakes from the spot, grabbing his 16th goal of the year.
Both sides had half-chances but weren’t able to take them, and South Cardiff would have had the lead at half time had it not been for a scrambling effort by Belswans defender Mitch Cook who jumped onto a corner that was unable to be cleared by the defence.
Neither side seemed to be able to create any clear-cut chances in the second half and the battle for supremacy continued to sway, however, with just minutes remaining in the match, the boys from Blacksmiths struck.
After receiving a free-kick just outside the box, a Clayton Poole shot was scrambled in by Mark Finlayson, sending the home crowd and team officials into a frenzy.
Belswans held on for the victory that now keeps them safe in second place for another week, while South Cardiff now bow out of the top four.
Belswans’ coach Josh Rufo admitted it was a tough back-and-forth match, but felt his side earnt the victory in the end.
“It was a very physical game, but I thought we created more clear-cut, goalscoring opportunities and deserved the win,” said Rufo.
“The attitude and work rate of the squad was very good, and I thought we got our game plan spot on.
“We’re now 12 games undefeated and we also didn’t lose a game at home all year, so that’s obviously very pleasing.”
Despite going down late, South Cardiff’s coach Denis Fajkovic was happy with the way his team performed but also praised Belswans’ squad.
“I thought we executed the game plan well,” said Fajkovic.
“There’s loads of experience in that team. I think they can go all the way.”
Singleton Strikers 1 (Hayden Nicol) def. by New Lambton FC 2 (Own Goal, Alex Ihlow)
Saturday 21st July, 2:30pm, Howe Park
With just two games left to play this season, Singleton’s hopes of qualifying for finals for the first time in 14 years look all but over following a disappointing home loss against New Lambton.
Despite being the only side in this fixture that could still qualify for the top four, Singleton conceded early on as a New Lambton corner kick was turned in from a Singleton player giving the visitors a 1-0 advantage.
The Strikers pushed hard to find an equaliser, and midway through the second half, found it through Hayden Nicol.
With the game in the balance and seeming to look in the favour of Singleton, the Eagles’ Alex Ihlow seized an opportunity with a well-taken finish to give his side an eventual, and surprising, 2-1 victory.
Winning coach Jim Foley said the victory was great to achieve, especially after they were smashed in the reverse fixture earlier in the year.
“Having been on the wrong end of a trashing in the first round, we went to Singleton determined to restore pride,” Foley said.
“We needed to secure some well, needed points and I’m happy to say it was mission accomplished on both accounts.”
Singleton coach David Willoughby described the match as “one of their worst collective performances” but that although their finals hopes may now be dashed, that they were still focused on finishing their season on a successful, positive note.
“We made two poor defensive errors to gift both New Lambton goals and we worked so hard for ours,” said Willoughby.
“We were not good enough on the day.
“I don’t think New Lambton were better, however they did enough to win.
“We will continue to finish as high as we can and continue working on our building blocks for next year and beyond though.”
Kahibah FC 2 (Tom Butzmann x2) drew with Thornton Redbacks FC 2 (Own Goal, Wade Attewell)
Sunday 22nd July, 2:30pm, Kahibah Oval
After looking like their spot was cemented in the finals, Thornton are now at risk of missing out after giving up a 2-0 lead to draw with Kahibah that signals their third straight match without a victory.
The Redbacks stunningly grabbed the first goal of the match when goalkeeper Riley Hill air-swinged the ball that then rolled into the back of the net in agonising fashion for the home side.
The second half saw Thornton double their lead through a Jye McKellar penalty, and when a second yellow card was shown to Jye Hodson for descent, the game looked all but over for the Green and Blacks.
Shockingly though, their German-man Tom Butzmann stepped up as he has done so often for Kahibah this season, scoring two goals, one from a header and another from his foot, to equalise and scramble a point from the match.
Kahibah’s coach Andre Gumprecht was proud of the way his team rallied with just ten men to comeback.
“I think the draw was more than deserved,” Gumprecht admitted.
“The two goals that Thornton scored were gifts
“With a little luck, we probably could have won the game.”
Toronto Awaba Stags FC 1 (Nick Roberts) def. by Cessnock City Hornets 5 (Jason Zechel x2, Jake Thompson x2, Brad York)
Sunday 22nd July, 2:30pm, Lyall Peacock Field
Toronto’s season from hell continues after being dominated again at home, this time, by Cessnock who remain hanging onto their season and finals’ chances by a thread.
The first half saw some attacking, free-flowing football by both teams and it resulted in goals coming in for both teams as Jason Zechel, Jake Thompson and Brad York scored for the visitors, and Nick Roberts for the Stags.
The second half saw the Hornets keep control of the momentum and their defence kept Toronto out for the rest of the game, whilst also scoring two more of their own.
Zechel grabbed another and so too did Thompson, who played a fantastic match in the centre forward position.
Cessnock’s coach Brendan Slade said that although their first half was rather disappointing, that he was happy with their end performance and that their hopes of finals still remain.
“Our first half wasn’t the best of starts,” Slade said.
“We were giving away too much ball to the opposition and we just kept forcing the silly pass instead of keeping possession and trying to wear the team down.
“Jake Thompson up front was probably our best. He made some great runs on the ball and pressed when he had to to force the turn over.
“Despite being the team winning at half-time, I gave the team a spray in the sheds about looking too laid back and taking it easy and in the second half we showed a lot more fight and it paid off with two more goals.
“We missed a lot of chances but we still walked away with the three points which is what we needed.”
Cooks Hill United had the bye.