Match of the Round
Singleton Strikers v Kahibah FC
Howe Park, Sunday 2.30pm
Singleton enter the match of the round against Kahibah with plenty of confidence having ended New Lambton’s unbeaten start to the campaign.
The Strikers downed the Eagles 2-1 at Howe Park in their rescheduled round 13 clash on Wednesday night, with Singleton now eyeing off third place should they defeat struggling Kahibah on Sunday.
Singleton coach Brendan Slade said the 3-1 win over Toronto Awaba last weekend had instilled confidence in his side but they would still be wary of a youthful Kahibah squad.
Singleton will have a full squad available but, with three games in seven days, Slade will look to rotate his troops where possible.
Singleton won 2-1 when the sides met earlier in the season, with the Strikers wary of Kahibah’s strength at set pieces and speed up front.
Kahibah also enter the match after playing midweek, playing out a 2-2 draw with Cessnock at Lake Macquarie Regional Football Facility on a cold and foggy Tuesday night.
It was an important point for Kahibah to edge themselves up the ladder, with Travis Reynolds scoring the first goal from Riley Ferguson’s set up. Jensen Hunt finished the second off a well worked corner.
Kahibah coach Mat Moncrieff said he was extremely disappointed not to get three points.
“We made two very poor mistakes at the back that gifted them their two goals and we had four or five very good chances that should have seen us get three points,” Moncrieff said.
“A send off and more injuries last night will see us travel to Singleton with a different looking first grade team.
“We will see who is fit at training on Friday and come up with a team to play Singleton on Sunday.”
New Lambton FC v Thornton FC
Alder Park, Saturday 3pm
It will be a battle between first and third as New Lambton host Thornton at Alder Park on Saturday.
The Eagles suffered their first defeat of the season on Wednesday night as they travelled to Singleton where they fell 2-1 to the Strikers.
It is a busy time for New Lambton as they face three games in a week.
Thornton had a positive result last week as they drew 0-0 with Belmont Swansea United to remain third.
It was a great turnaround after their 5-1 defeat to Cooks Hill United the week before.
New Lambton walked away 3-1 winners when the teams faced off in round three.
The race for the top spots remains a tight battle with only eight rounds to go, with any points picked up in this match potentially critical.
Cooks Hill United v South Cardiff FC
Fearnley Dawes Athletics Field, Saturday 3pm
Cooks Hill United enter the match off the bye, with coach David Tanchevski believing the week off came at a good time for his side.
“It allowed us some time to get some players back who were out for the Thornton game. We could have Tom Smart and Daniel Clements back for South Cardiff,” Tanchevski said.
Cooks Hill dominated South Cardiff when they met earlier in the season, with United winning 6-1.
“The last time we were up 4-1 at half-time and didn’t finish the game off,” Tanchevski said.
“[But] South Cardiff are a stronger team than in round three.
“They are a different team now. The Johnson bothers are over there now and they have a new coach.”
South Cardiff have not played in two weeks due to the round 13 bye and their round 14 match against Cessnock being washed out.
Gunners coach Mick Hugo said the time off had allowed players to rest and get over any niggling injuries.
“It will be nice to get on and play some football and see where we are at,” Hugo said.
Southy are aware it is going to be a tough game, with Cooks Hill pushing for the top spot in the competition, trailing New Lambton by five points.
“We can’t be complacent. We have got to play our game. We have got to do the little things right and hopefully see what happens from there,” Hugo said.
The side is still without Jock Thompson but will hopefully have everyone else on board.
“We are starting to get numbers back across the top two grades which helps,” Hugo said.
West Wallsend SFC v Cessnock City
Johnston Park, Sunday 2.30pm
West Wallsend will look to build on their dominant performance last weekend when they host Cessnock City on Sunday.
The Bluebells downed Kahibah 4-1 last time out with coach Darren Sills believing his side has gained confidence following the win.
West Wallsend could also see captain Jarrod Olivieri return against the Hornets, while Bailey Jensen is at least another two weeks away from a return.
The Bluebells won 1-0 when the sides met earlier in the season.
“We were definitely below our best that day, “Sills said.
“When you travel up to Cessnock it’s a hard place to go and to get the three points we were happy with that.
“Now we know how they play and their style and we are better prepared.
“In this second round of matches we need to learn a lot quicker and things will go our way.”
Cessnock enter the match after playing midweek against Kahibah in foggy conditions at Lake Macquarie Regional Football Facility where it was difficult to see the other side of the pitch.
The game ended in a 2-2 draw which Cessnock coach Michael Gatt said was a much better performance than the previous week.
Cessnock were up 1-0 after 15 minutes but Kahibah punished a Hornets error at the back moments later to level the score.
Cessnock were back in the lead just before the break but Kahibah hit back again just after half-time before going down to 10 men.
“We had a million and one chances for us to put the game to bed but we will take a point out of it,” Gatt said.
Cessnock’s goal scorers on Tuesday night were Thomas Stewart and Bradley York.
Now Cessnock turn their focus to West Wallsend
“Westy are always quality and provide a hard-fought match,” Gatt said.
“We need to stick to the game plan and we will come out on the other end.”
Wallsend FC v Toronto Awaba FC
Wallsend coach Craig Tselembis said his side were a little deflated and disappointed in themselves after their 6-2 loss to New Lambton last weekend.
But the Red Devils turned it around in their midweek game against Belmont Swansea United on Wednesday, downing BelSwans 3-2.
“A quick turnaround is always good after you get beat,” Tselembis said.
The Red Devils will look to line up with a full squad against Toronto Awaba, providing some tough choices for the head coach who has plenty of confidence in his side to pick up points throughout the week.
Wallsend won the round three clash between the sides 4-2, with the Red Devils looking to play with the intensity of last time and take their chances when they get them.
“Even against New Lambton we created chances and didn’t take them,” Tselembis said.
It will be an important game for Wallsend as the middle of the table remains a tight race for the top five.
Toronto Awaba caretaker Shaun Paterson said the Stags were disappointed after their 3-1 loss to Singleton last weekend.
“They were a bit flat and hopefully this week they’re on song,” Paterson said.
“Wallsend were fairly decent last time [but] this time it is up to how we perform and the boys’ mindset on the day.”
It has been a tough year for Toronto Awaba but Paterson said his side remained in good spirits, continuing to train hard and remaining mentally ready with a full strength team this weekend.