MATCH OF THE ROUND
THORNTON FC 1-5 COOKS HILL UNITED
David Tanchevski was full of praise for his young players as Cooks Hill United made a statement to the rest of the competition, thrashing third-placed Thornton 5-1 on Saturday.
It was a fast and physical match from the kick-off at Thornton Park as second-placed Cooks Hill attempted to keep the pressure on leaders New Lambton at the top.
It was an even contest in the first half with the game remaining goalless at half-time.
The first goal of the game came seven minutes into the second half as Cooks Hill took the lead. What began as a free kick outside the penalty area was half cleared and knocked back in by Nick Russell with his effort deflected into the goal.
The Redbacks drew level two minutes later when Jye Mackellar headed in a cross from the right.
Another two minutes later and Cooks Hill had regained the lead. Jamie Byrnes made a run from halfway before cutting the ball back for Jack Wetney to put away.
Thornton’s appeals for offside fell on deaf ears, with Redbacks co-coach Scott Winslade sent off for his protests.
The goal changed the contest as Cooks Hill ran away with the game from there, scoring another three goals. Daniel Yaxley added a third with a header before youngster Luke Muller scored Cooks Hill’s fourth in his first start in the top grade. Russell then added a fifth.
Cooks Hill coach Tanchevski said his side played well, especially given they were without three of their four first choice defenders in Tom Smart, the suspended Dan Clements and Alex Gillespie who was unavailable with a hamstring injury.
Cooks Hill were also without captain Ash Balcomb who will be missing for another six weeks which Tanchevski said was a big loss.
“We brought some young boys in and they played well,” Tanchevski said.
“As the game went longer we dominated and we could have scored more.”
The result saw Cooks Hill edge closer to the top of the table, sitting only two points behind leaders New Lambton. Cooks Hill have the bye next weekend, followed by South Cardiff in round 15.
Thornton co-coach Gary Wand said the game was tight until the last 25 minutes when his side “lost the plot.”
“We were very poor in the last 20 minutes,” Wand said.
“They have players that can hurt us and they did.
“We had a decision that went against us and we were poor after that.”
Thornton lost Zane Estatheo during the match due to a head injury with the 18-year-old taken to hospital to receive stitches. The Redbacks also lost Patrick Wand in the second half to a back injury.
Thornton will host Belmont Swansea United next weekend, with BelSwans two points below the Redbacks on the table.
WEST WALLSEND SFC 1-3 TORONTO AWABA FC
Toronto Awaba caretaker coach Shaun Paterson made it two wins from two starts as the Stags scored two second half goals to upset West Wallsend 3-1 on Sunday.
West Wallsend had a goal disallowed for offside after 12 minutes at Johnston Park, with Toronto Awaba making the most of their reprieve to open the scoring on 23 minutes through a Nick Roberts header.
The Bluebells levelled just before the break as the Stags failed to clear a corner, with Josh West eventually finding the back of the net.
Roberts regained the lead for Toronto Awaba seven minutes into the second half with his second header of the afternoon.
The visitors then sealed victory with 15 minutes to play when Jake Dundas tucked home a rebound following a save.
It was a horror day for West Wallsend on the injury front with goalkeeper Joel Magnee suffering a lower back problem, Bailey Jensen injuring his hamstring and Ethan Coulter suffering a potentially serious knee injury.
“It was a battle. We knew it was going to be going out to Westy,” Paterson said.
“We outplayed them and got the win.
“The boys are getting mentally tougher now. There is nothing wrong with the way they play. It was all about their mental strength and resilience. But we’ve still got plenty of improvement to go.”
West Wallsend coach Darren Sills gave full credit to Toronto Awaba, who he said had turned their season around.
“The boys are pretty down as they should be,” Sills said.
“We didn’t set up properly at corners and we suffered the consequences.”
West Wallsend will travel to Kahibah Oval to face the struggling Rams next weekend.
Toronto Awaba moved up to ninth with the victory and travel to Singleton next weekend to take on the fifth-placed Strikers.
KAHIBAH FC v CESSNOCK CITY
Match abandoned due to lighting issue. Kahibah led 1-0 when the match was called off after about an hour. Match to be rescheduled.
WALLSEND FC v BELMONT SWANSEA UNITED
Match to be rescheduled due to Belmont Swansea United’s participation in the FFA Cup sixth preliminary round. BelSwans were eliminated from the FFA Cup on Saturday as they fell 1-0 to NPL club Weston.
SINGLETON STRIKERS v NEW LAMBTON FC
Match washed out and to be rescheduled.
South Cardiff had the bye