HIT 106.9 Northern League One Rescheduled Round One Review: Eagles one step closer to premiership after downing Wallsend

July 25th, 2022

 Jacob Briers

Mathew Packer

New Lambton FC 5-1 Wallsend FC

New Lambton quashed a shaky start and thrash Wallsend 5-1 in their first against last clash on Saturday.

A heavily understaffed Wallsend had three big chances in the first 10 minutes to take an unexpected early lead at Alder Park but they could not pass reliable New Lambton goalkeeper Alex Bozinovski who pulled off a couple of crucial saves to keep the Red Devils at bay.

The Red Devils were arguably playing the better football for most of the first half an hour until Riley Taylor scored one of the quickest hat-tricks in the competition’s history. The rapid succession of goals came due to a mixture of well performed counter attacks and defensive fumbles, giving New Lambton a substantial lead for the remaining 45 minutes.

But Wallsend would not go out without a fight. Only three minutes into the second half midfielder Brad York was on the end of a loose ball from a corner and half-volleyed into the top right corner. The attempt left Bozinovski flat-footed and everybody in attendance in awe as the net rattled to the tune of a potential Wallsend recovery.

Unfortunately Wallsend could not muster the dream into fruition as a Dylan Bozinovski free kick and a fourth Taylor goal wiped away any chance of points for the Red Devils.

Saturday’s game was the third in seven days for the Eagles, giving the players an excuse for coach Tom Davies considering the lack of focus during the first 30 minutes.

“It is really positive to get the result considering we played Sunday, Tuesday and then back up again on Saturday,” Davies said.

“Wallsend for the first 20, 25 minutes put a lot of pressure on us, so we had to manage our way through that. But once we got a couple of goals, we controlled the game. We could have had a few more at the end but we take three points and move on to the last three games of the season.

“The biggest thing is that we were able to get nine points in a week. Most of the principles of how we’re trying to play were still there [against Wallsend]. There were a few moments where we could have played some better football but it was hard with the conditions and a bit of fatigue both physically and mentally.”

Taylor has only come back stronger after his short-term injury, scoring six goals in the three games since his return.

“With intensity and [Wallsend] brought it as well but we knew that we would get on top eventually after playing at that intensity,” Davies said.

“We work on catching teams out on the counter attack with the pace we have up front and it’s really positive to see [Riley Taylor] back after a few weeks off. And now that he’s had a couple of games in a row leaning into the back end of the year it’ll be good for him to get a handful of goals as well.”

Wallsend had 16 players unavailable within their senior squad. This led to many forced unorthodox personnel and tactical changes, including goalkeeper Jakeb Keating starting at left wing, who did not look out of place.

“We gave everything they had and it was a good club effort,” Wallsend coach Mick Gatt said.

“We tested them early and put the pressure on them for the first 35 minutes and frustrated New Lambton, so it was a good game by our boys. They all stood up and they didn’t deserve that score line, that’s for sure.

“The first three goals [New Lambton] scored were from our stupid errors. But they’re a class side, they’re on top of the table and will probably take out the premiership for a reason. They took their chances and deserved it.”

York’s cracker shot was arguably the highlight of the season so far for Wallsend. It is these moments the club will savour as they start next season’s preparations prematurely after being mathematically ruled out of finals contention.

“Brad is good for one or two of them every season and he was due for one,” Gatt said.

“I’ve coached Brad for the last three or four years and he’s always good for something magical like that. But it was something to be seen and even Alex [Bozinovski] after the game, said by the time I saw, it was already shaking the net. So, it was an absolute pearler of a hit.”

Thornton Redbacks 3-3 Singleton Strikers

A profoundly unwelcome result for Thornton and Singleton saw their finals aspirations shrink immensely, one more than the other.

Singleton now have secured only one point in their last two fixtures, further diminishing their top five hopes once all the postponed games are completed.

An unavailable Joel Barner, Joe Civello, and Jack Clare left a gaping hole in the side, with Callan Hungerford making his first grade starting debut.

But it was not the attack that needed revision heading into the pointy end of the season but rather the defence as Singleton returned to old habits at Thornton Park.

On the flip side Thornton have all but accepted their fate this season as the team starts to plan holidays. Thornton co-coach Gary Wand stated they are now there to cause a nuisance and proved that on Sunday, playing some beautiful football and finishing a couple of highly technical goals.

The first goal of the match and only goal of the first half was scored by Jake Millsteed, flicking the ball on from a Pat Wand free kick.

Singleton were quick to reply in the second half through captain Hayden Nicol. Thornton wing back Kyle Williams and Singleton star man Jackson Cox also penned their names on the score sheet around the 50-minute mark as the game saw three rapid goals in five minutes.

A dinked header from Zane Estatheo gave the Redbacks false hope for victory as the Strikers found an equaliser with 10 minutes to go.

A couple of the Redbacks squad returned from injury including centre back Zac Skippen. He started out of position as a striker for the first time this season.

“We know [Singleton] are not really big in the back, so we put [Skippen] up front,” Wand said.

“Plus he’d just come back from five weeks off and we didn’t want to put him at the back and have him working too hard. We wanted to give him some rest at different times in the game. I thought he had a good match. He caused problems. He has played up front before and he did what we wanted him to do.

“But a draw is probably a fair result after how we defended. It was good to score some goals because we have struggled this season. Set pieces were great for us this game and we knew that [Singleton] do struggle with [set pieces] as they are only a small side. But again, we can’t defend like that, so we’ll have to take it on the chin and cop the 3-3. It’s nice to get a point because we haven’t had a point in a while.”

Thornton play South Cardiff next week. The Gunners played out a thrilling game at Lake Macquarie Regional Football Facility on Friday night, downing Kahibah 6-4 in what can only be described as a heartstopper in their rescheduled round 12 match.

Cessnock City Hornets 1-2 Toronto Awaba FC

Toronto Awaba took home a scrappy but decisive 2-1 victory over Cessnock City on Sunday to aid their finals run.

Stags stalwart Nick Roberts opened the score midway through the first half at Turner Park. Two veterans of the game linked up as Scott Smith played a pinpoint cross to Roberts, who darted through the defence and headed the ball home for a 1-0 lead.

But Cessnock’s persistence paid off as a high press on Noah Fittler forced the defender to make a quick decision, which ended with him smacking the ball into his own net and equalising for the Hornets at half-time.

A lack of concentration by Cessnock during a passage of play in the second half led to them conceding a dubious goal. But when Toronto goalkeeper Drew Olsen was sent off with 25 minutes to go, the Hornets had a prime opportunity to capitalise as the Stags placed striker Roberts in between the sticks.

Unfortunately the home side could not create any goalscoring threats during that period and the game ended with a crucial win for Toronto.

“I thought we started really well,” Toronto coach Jarrad Hiles said.

“In the first 20 minutes we played some really nice football on a trying pitch. We combined well, looked good going forward and got a good goal.

“We had another great chance soon after. Zane Winslade got free down the right and put a nice ball across the face of the goal for Scotty [Smith] but couldn’t turn it in.

“When Drew Olsen was sent off with about 25 minutes to go, I had to put Nick Roberts in goals. But we showed grit, character and determination to hang in there and get the three points, which is what it’s all about at the moment. I’m happy to get the three points and get out of there.”

As Cessnock’s season comes to a harrowing conclusion, coach Brad Miles wants his side to be able to cause a stir within the teams above, but they can only do so if they learn to finish their opportunities.

“It was end-to-end and quite a tough played game actually,” Miles said.

“I think we had more chances than they did. We just failed to take them. It’s been our story over the last couple of weeks.

“[Toronto] scored early off a header. [Nick Roberts] ducked in between defenders and headed one home. Good finish, we just failed to pick him up on the run through.

“It’s the end of the season now. We should know what we’re trying to do. We have to execute correctly. We play Wednesday night against West Wallsend, so that will be another tough game and we’ve got Belswans Saturday, so it doesn’t get any easier.

“Just want a special mention to Lewis Howells, our centre back. He was outstanding today.”

The match between Kahibah FC and West Wallsend SFC was postponed due to weather.

Related Topics:
Northern League One Rescheduled Round One Review

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