Match of the Round
West Wallsend 0 def by. Belmont Swansea United 1 (Chris Gazzard)
Sunday 10th March, 2:30 pm, Johnston Park
Round 1 of the NEWFM Northern League One kicked off in the best possible fashion, with last year’s grand finalists going toe-to-toe at Johnston Park.
Belmont-Swansea would again run out victors with a 1-0 victory over their rivals and grab a vital three points.
The match was played in sweltering conditions at Johnston Park with drinks breaks needed throughout the game.
West Wallsend look destined to take the lead when Brendan Frost was brought down in the box, instead was denied by Ben Parmenter from the ensuing spot-kick.
Chances were hard to come by as both defences looked strong, however, it was experienced midfielder Chris Gazzard who poked home the opening goal of a Harry Rapp cross to give Belswans the all-important lead.
Tensions soon boiled over between the two outfits, with several yellow cards given out along with three reds.
Steele Harvey saw red for a challenge on West Wallsend’s Bailey Jensen while Bluebells Captain, Jarrod Olivieri, also was given his marching orders for a challenge on Mark Finlayson later in the match.
The high-stakes game also saw West Wallsend assistant Jason Taylor sent to the stands.
Belswans were missing a couple of key players including recruit Joel Nicholson and Cameron Lodge, however, youngster Harry Rapp and Quinn McNeill both impressed on debut while West Wallsend keeper, Blake Redman was also making his first appearance for his new side.
Coach Mick Stafford was featuring in his first competitive match as head coach and said he’s proud of his player’s efforts.
“It’s a massive win and the boys really dug in. Tough game in the heat but they showed a lot of character,” Stafford said.
“All the young boys have been here for four or five years and I know what they can do and I really appreciate their effort.”
“We’ll have a rest on Tuesday but play a trial on Thursday and look to get a few boys back as well.”
West Wallsend pushed hard to find the equaliser but were kept at bay by the quality Belswans defence, however, coach Brendan Slade said his side can play better.
“Very tough game but we had enough possession, in the end, we just struggled in high areas to keep the ball, we were probably missing Tye Jones up top as he gives us an outlet,” Slade said.
“If we defend like we did and attack a bit better then I think we’ll be alright.”
Cooks Hill United 4 (Ash Balcomb, Lee Ashton, Daniel Yaxley and Jonah Kinnavong) def. Thornton Redbacks 0
Saturday 9th March, 2:30 pm, Fearnley Dawes Athletic Field
Round 1 set-up another highly anticipated affair with a 1st vs 2nd of last year’s regular season between Cooks Hill United and Thornton Redbacks to kick off the season at Fearnley Dawes Athletic Field.
Cooks Hill were without new signing Marty Raines for their opening fixture due to a broken hand while the Redbacks were missing key defender, Sam Rossi.
The Redbacks got off to a lively start and almost bagged a couple of goals, with Wade Attewell, however, he was denied at close range by a stunning save from Jake Hamilton.
It didn’t take long for the premiers to click into gear, as Ash Balcomb notched the first goal before the break with a header off a Daniel Johnson set-piece.
With Graham Law serving a suspension, assistant coaches Jarrod Gorsuch and Graham Hamilton took charge of the side and switched things up at the break.
Cooks Hill were again looking dangerous and they soon found their second goal through striker Lee Ashton who opened his account for the year.
Two goals from Daniel Yaxley and Jonah Kinnavong sealed the result and the three points for the Cookers 2019 campaign.
Thornton certainly tested out Cooks Hill and assistant coach Graham Hamilton said some slight changes paid off.
“Thornton came out strong, which we thought they would. They like to press us but we made some slight adjustments and it worked well,” Hamilton said.
“We were a bit nervous to start the game and credit to them they really took it to us but the great thing was to get the clean sheet and gives us a good basis to go off.”
Thornton were certainly no easy-beats in this match however coach Gary Wand was disappointed in the result and lamented missed opportunities.
“Tough start and we need to do better, but we take our chances it’s a different game,” Wand said.
“They were too good in the end and were doing the basic things well and we just kept giving the ball away too often.”
“We’ve got a fair way to go, a lot of improving and we go again next week.”
Cessnock City Hornets 0 def. by New Lambton 1 (Riley Taylor)
Saturday 9th March, 2:30 pm, Turner Park
Round One continued with Cessnock City hosting New Lambton, with both sides eager to begin their campaigns with a victory.
The Hornets came into this game depleted due to injuries to Lachlan Hodgetts, Brodie Williams and Klaudon Ahmataj, while the Eagles looked to showcase their new-look squad.
An error from the Hornets set up the opening goal, as Riley Taylor pounced on a loose ball to put New Lambton ahead.
The Eagles were also given a penalty while Jake Peters received a red card for the foul however Hornets goalkeeper Jed Horder pulled off a great save to keep the score at 1-0.
New Lambton would, however, hold onto their one-goal lead to take home the victory.
Coach Jim Foley said he’s glad his players could hold onto claim the three points.
“We got through it, it was a bit difficult for us but very grateful to the get the three points for the first game,” Foley said.
“There were some pleasing performances but we were good as a collective but we certainly need more matches together.”
Cessnock City were missing a few key players in attack and coach Arthur Hodgetts believed it showed but was proud of his player’s performances.
“Very happy, believed we dominated but we didn’t take our chances and these things happen in football,” Hodgetts said
“We just want to play good football and once we get back to full strength we will be much stronger and can hopefully deliver results.”
Toronto Awaba Stags 2 (Nick Roberts, Nathan McAllister) def. by Singleton Strikers 4 (Joe Civello 3, Lachlan Nicol)
Sunday 10th March, 2:45 pm, Lyall Peacock Field
Singleton has started the 2019 season, with an entertaining 4-2 win over the new look Toronto Awaba in a high-quality game at Lyall Peacock Field.
The Stags came into this match with a lot of new faces including experienced coach Darrell McAllister and a host of new names looking to impress on debut.
The Strikers lacked enough goals to make the finals last year and have quickly found some goalscoring form with Joe Civello grabbing a superb hat trick while Lachlan Nicol also hit the back of the net.
New signing, Nathan McAllister bagged a goal on debut to open his account for the season while Nick Roberts scored the other goal for the Stags.
Singleton ran over the top of the home side in the end with late goals and coach David Willoughby was impressed with his side’s showing.
“We played quite well, the 35-degree heat didn’t help but we were exceptional at times,” Willoughby said.
“Our back 7, including our two holding midfielders, were great and it was good to see Jake Berner link up well with Joe Civello.”
South Cardiff Gunners 4 (Sam Ford 2, Hakan Canli, Ethan Spiers) def. Wallsend 2 (Ty Goldsmith 2)
Sunday 10th March, 5:30 pm, Ulinga Oval
The first leg of the Gallagher Shield kicked off with South Cardiff playing home to Wallsend in another thrilling encounter to start the regular season.
The Red Devils got off to a fine start, with striker Ty Goldsmith scoring in the opening minute.
South Cardiff soon settled into the game and began to create chances and were ruthless in front of goal, notching four first-half goals to storm into the lead.
New recruit, Sam Ford, began his campaign with two goals, while fellow signing Hakan Canli and Ethan Spiers also got on the scoresheet.
A late Ty Goldsmith goal gave the Red Devils a slight chance of a comeback but it wasn’t to be as South Cardiff wrapped up the win and the advantage in the Gallagher Shield.
Captain-Coach, Denis Fajkovic, served his one-game suspension from the sideline and said he’s pleased with his side’s resilience to overcome a tough start to the game.
“Bit of a shaky start, but we talked about being patient as we’ve got the quality,” Fajkovic said.
“First half we played really well and the experience showed, disappointing second half but a lot of positives and it was really important to get that win and get the ball rolling for us.”
New signing, Dino Fajkovic was also making his debut and showed his quality in the impressive victory.
“The boys have only played one or two games together so the best is yet to come but we definitely want to push ourselves this year,” Fajkovic continued.
Wallsend were missing new defender Michael Wright due to suspension and coach Jesse Pryce says the first half wasn’t what they wanted.
“The formation wasn’t working too well in the first half, we had to make some changes and come out with a better attitude in the second half which I thought we did,” Pryce said.
“We gifted them a few goals and we had some injuries in the warm-up but we don’t want to make excuses and we’ll be raring to go for Round Two now.”