HIT 106.9 Northern League One Round One Review: Spirited South Cardiff fall short to COVID-riddled Belswans

April 4th, 2022

 Jacob Briers


The only round one game not postponed due to wet weather did not disappoint as Belmont Swansea United outlasted South Cardiff 3-2 on Saturday night.

It was a competitive and riveting contest at Blacksmiths Oval, with Belswans without 10 senior players from their squad due to COVID-19.

South Cardiff broke the deadlock midway through the first half. A miscommunication between Cameron Sullini and debutant goalkeeper Joel Perrin resulted in Sullini heading the ball over his number one, leaving South Cardiff striker Jack Diebold with an empty net.

But South Cardiff’s clutch defending could only persist for so long. A combination of passes down Belswans’ left flank was enough to draw South Cardiff’s defence out of position, leaving Kane Woolston in an abundance of space in the penalty area. Josh Maguire spotted Woolston’s run and played a precise ball across the face of the goal allowing for an easy equaliser.

South Cardiff managed to take the lead again just before half-time with winger Jack Harrison scoring a tap-in. But the goal did not come without controversy as Perrin was disrupted mid-air, causing him to misjudge the ball, leaving Harrison wide open.

An Izaac Terry masterclass in the South Cardiff goal was further demonstrated when he saved Cameron Lodge’s penalty, diving right and retaining the Gunners’ hope for a shock win.

Unfortunately for the visitors Maguire and Woolston linked up again. 41-year-old Maguire used his exceptional experience, pinging a pinpoint lob to the poacher Woolston. Woolston calmly controlled the propitious pass with his chest and finished with authority past Terry.

A red card to Nathan Bevan around the 75 minute mark did not phase Belswans. In the subsequent seconds, clinical substitute Tyson Masters put Belswans in the lead for the first time in the contest and sealed the opening three points of the season.

Belmont Swansea coach Mick Stafford was pleasantly surprised with South Cardiff, praising their performance but also recognising his own team’s resilience and how they managed to re-group during the second half.

“[South Cardiff] were a very spirited team. I thought they did quite well. They surprised me,” Stafford said.

“The aspect where we won it was our fitness and the quality on the ball. The three goals we scored were good football goals  and we bounced back from anything that went against us. We showed a lot of resilience.

“We had 10 players out with COVID. So, I think that [also] shows a bit of resilience within the club.”

Maguire was identified as a critical difference Saturday night, with Stafford recognising that his experience and quality propelled Belswans to the win.

“It was a group effort [that won the game] but [Josh Maguire’s] quality and detail in key areas of the pitch is what he’s here to do,” Stafford said.

“He’s a great footballer [having] played professionally for years. So key moments where you need a quality player, he steps up and delivers.”

Maguire, who assisted both of Woolston’s goals, doubled down on the resilience theme, stating how a recovery in the second half set Belswans’ winner in motion.

“Southy got off to a good start and we had a bit of a regroup at half-time just to slow things down and do what we’re good at,” Maguire said.

“We tucked in and played to our positions and our football rather than just going long and panicking. You’ll see [that with] the goals, they all came from structured passing.

“I thought we showed a lot of fight to come back from 2-1 down to get the win.”

South Cardiff coach Scott Taylor took mostly positive away from the defeat and felt proud of the fight his team showed.

“[Harrison and Diebold] put in a great shift to get a goal each. [I’m] pleased for them. Izaac [Terry] made some great saves for us and the defenders made some last-ditch tackles. Everybody has put in a shift and [considering] the disruptive preparation, this [game] was a litmus test and I think we passed it,” Taylor said.

“[It was] a game of chances. Both teams had chances and [Belswans] put one more than us in the back of the net. So I’m really proud of what we have done tonight.”

South Cardiff’s promising performance has Taylor hopeful they can push higher up the table.

“I think if we show that commitment and create more chances, [we can challenge this year].”

The matches between Thornton Redbacks and Singleton Strikers, New Lambton FC and Wallsend FC, Cessnock City Hornets and Toronto Awaba FC and the match of the round between Kahibah FC and West Wallsend SFC were all postponed due to wet weather.

Related Topics:
Northern League One Round One Review

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