Match of the Round
Cooks Hill United 3-1 Belmont Swansea United
Cooks Hill United remain top of the table after another dominant performance in their 3-1 win over Belmont Swansea United on Saturday.
It was the visitors who took the lead at Fearnley Dawes Athletics Field with BelSwans’ Kane Woolston scoring into the top corner from outside the penalty area.
In the second half, the hosts had the wind advantage and fought back to score three goals. The first came from Jamie Byrnes at a corner before he added a second from a Cody Carroll cut back.
Carroll then sealed the result with a free kick.
Cooks Hill coach David Tanchevki said he was happy with how his side is playing.
“We are playing some good football,” Tanchevski said.
“It was obviously very windy, tough conditions going against us in the first half and we were disappointed with the goal we conceded.
“I thought we controlled most of the game and in the second half were on top and could have put more away.”
The hosts were forced into an early substitution as defender Luke Muller suffered a broken nose after an elbow to the face. Muller had only just returned from an ankle injury and is now in doubt for next weekend’s game against New Lambton.
Next weekend is one of the most important games in Cooks Hill’s campaign as they face the Eagles who are level on points but behind on goal difference.
BelSwans’ assistant coach Mick Stafford said his side had put in one of its best performances of the season so far.
“I thought we were really good for 60 minutes. It was some of the best football we have played all year,” Stafford said.
“But in the end the conditions and Cooks Hill wore us down.
“I’m happy with the football we’re playing at the moment. We’re just hoping that we can get more players back in the squad. We’re continuing to battle with Covid-19 restrictions, suspensions and injuries.
“Hopefully we can combat this and continue to hunt for the semi-finals.”
BelSwans are on the road again next week as they face Cessnock City.
New Lambton FC 1-0 South Cardiff FC
New Lambton maintained the pressure on leaders Cooks Hill United with a hard-fought 1-0 victory over South Cardiff on Friday night.
It was a cold and windy evening at Alder Park with only one goal separating the teams.
The goal came on the stroke of half-time. New Lambton’s Chase Lattimore was taken down in the penalty area and awarded a penalty, with South Cardiff unhappy with the decision.
Riley Taylor stepped up to the spot and powered it away, his 15th goal of the season.
“It was good to be playing after having two weeks off,” New Lambton coach Tom Davies said.
“Execution in the final third could have been better. The boys put in the effort we expect and it was good to get back on the pitch and in winning ways.
“Overall it was positive in terms of the result but the play could have been better. We spoke during the week about just enjoying it as a group.
“Overall we controlled the majority of the game and could have finished it off to make it more comfortable.”
Next week could be the premiership decider as New Lambton host Cooks Hill in the battle for first place. The pair sit on 38 points with only three goals separating them on goal difference.
South Cardiff coach Mick Hugo said his side were in the contest for 90 minutes.
“New Lambton didn’t really expect what we gave them. After some of the results we are having they probably thought it was going to be an easier match than what it was,” Hugo said.
“We have just got to keep working and hopefully things pan out for us.”
South Cardiff travel to Lyall Peacock Field next week to face Toronto Awaba.
Thornton FC 2-1 Kahibah FC
Thornton further strengthened their finals place with a nervy 2-1 win over Kahibah on Saturday.
Thornton co-coach Gary Wand said it was a “bit of a nervy one” as it was Kahibah who took the lead midway through the first half with a Jenson Hunt goal.
With first grade goalkeeper James Wand out for the match due to Covid-19 restrictions, reserve grade goalkeeper Oliver Mather stepped up between the sticks.
Kahibah’s goal saw a collision which resulted in Mather’s early substitution and Thornton’s under-18s goalkeeper Ryan Formosa step into the first grade side for the first time.
Thornton’s goals came in the last 15 minutes of the match and were scored by the team’s leading goal scorer Jye Mackellar who has put away 15 goals this season.
“Kahibah did well to make it difficult for us,” Wand said.
Kahibah coach Mat Moncrieff said he was extremely disappointed not to get the three points.
“Apart from the first 20 minutes of the first half we were quite comfortable,” Moncrieff said.
“In the second half we exposed the Thornton defence on many occasions but just couldn’t put the game away.
“All credit to their young goalkeeper who kept them in the game on many occasions.
“As it happened in the first round Thornton scored two goals very late in the game to take all the points. We just need to be better at putting games away in what is becoming a common occurrence this season.”
In positive news, Kahibah saw the first grade return of former NPL player of the year Rhys Tippett for the first time since round one.
Kahibah have the bye next weekend and hope to get some numbers back for their final four games.
Thornton’s finals hunt will not be an easy one as they face West Wallsend next weekend and reigning champions Singleton the following round.
Wallsend FC 1-5 West Wallsend SFC
With Wallsend the victors in the first derby of the season, West Wallsend had a score to settle in the second leg of the match-up between the sides on Sunday night.
In true derby style, it was a physical game with plenty of action including goals, penalties and send offs.
West Wallsend’s Josh Carrol bagged the first two goals of the game to put his side in the lead 2-0.
Wallsend were then left with 10 men after a last man tackle saw a red card shown. A penalty was awarded to the visitors which Carroll put away to round off his hat-trick.
West Wallsend were awarded another penalty but were denied by Wallsend’s goalkeeper Jakeb Keating.
Tye Jones made it 4-0 for the visitors going into the break.
Despite having 10 men, Wallsend came back to score midway through the second half through a Sam Bradshaw finish.
The last goal came from West Wallsend playing a quick, low hard ball which deflected off a Wallsend defender into the goal to finish the game 5-1.
Wallsend were reduced to nine men in the late stages of the match after a dangerous challenge.
Despite the loss, Wallsend coach Craig Tselembis was proud of his team’s efforts.
“I am proud of these boys to be one man and 4-0 down and sticking it to them,” he said.
“I was happy that we had a 1-1 draw in the second half with a man down. They never give in these lads.”
Wallsend are at home next week where they host Singleton.
First year West Wallsend coach Darren Sills has gained some familiarity with the league after the first round of matchups and consequently the Bluebells have come into more consistent form in the back half of the season as they continue to hold onto third place.
West Wallsend looked to counter Wallsend’s style of play and Sills said his side were in control for the majority of the game.
The Bluebells are still without their captain Jarrod Olivieri but Jayden Barber returned from injury in reserve grade.
Sills reserved praise for Wallsend goalkeeper Jakeb Keating, saying the Red Devils No.1 was outstanding.
West Wallsend host Thornton next weekend, with the Redbacks trailing the Bluebells by two points.
Singleton Strikers v Cessnock City
Match to be rescheduled after being washed out.