Match of the Round
Cooks Hill United 3 (Lee Ashton, Daniel Johnson, Ash Balcomb) def. New Lambton 1 (Luke Jovcevski)
Saturday 16th March, Fearnley Dawes Athletic Field
Cooks Hill United hosted cross-town rivals, New Lambton, at the Fearnley Dawes Athletic Field in the opening game of a rain-affected Round 2.
Both teams were out to make it two from two to start season 2019 after attaining opening round wins.
The Eagles got off to a flying start against the reigning premiers, with Luke Jovcevski finding the back of the net to give New Lambton the lead.
The home side soon found their form and got the equaliser through captain Daniel Johnson before Lee Ashton and Ash Balcomb both grabbed their second goals of the campaign.
Cooks Hill would hold onto their two-goal advantage to claim all three points and move to the top of the table with seven goals from their first two games.
New Lambton certainly had their chances in the game and coach Jim Foley said he believes his players should be proud of their performance.
“Extremely pleased with how we stuck to the task, we went into half-time a goal in front and we certainly gave Cooks Hill a tough game,” Foley said.
“It was a close battle, their keeper pulled off a couple of great saves but we couldn’t deny them their win, they were a bit too good in the end.”
Cessnock City Hornets 1 (Greg Anderson) drew with Singleton Strikers 1 (Jake Barner)
Sunday 17th March, Turner Park
Cessnock came up against Singleton in the only match to take place on Sunday, with the reliable Turner Park allowing the Valley derby to go ahead.
The Strikers were missing key player Hayden Nicol due to illness while the Hornets were without Jake Peters due to suspension and attacking duo in Lachlan Hodgetts and Klaudon Ahmataj.
Both sides had their chances in the opening half with both keepers forced into saves but ultimately the scores remained level at half-time.
Singleton would open the scoring soon after the break with the away side awarded a spot kick, which new signing Jake Barner dispatched into the goal to open his account for the year and put the Strikers into the lead.
However, the Hornets wouldn’t lie down in front of their home crowd as defender, Greg Anderson struck a quality shot from outside the area to level the scores.
Neither side could find the winning goal with the scores remaining 1-1.
Cessnock picked up their first point of the season in the draw with coach Arthur Hodgetts saying he was pleased with the performance.
“Happy with the effort the boys showed, we’re still missing a few players but they dug in deep,” Hodgetts said.
“Any team can beat anyone on their day so we just want to keep working hard but we can see our structure is improving.”
Singleton lacked the finishing touch in this game after putting four past Toronto last week with coach David Willoughby saying his side weren’t at their captivating best.
“Cessnock dominated field position and were really good but we were playing catch up most of the game and we didn’t execute what we wanted to do,” Willoughby said.
“But I was happy with the effort, we had three great goalscoring chances but we didn’t take them.”
“Jordan Phelan could have a slight problem and we also had a couple of injuries also in the game.”