MATCH OF THE ROUND
Cooks Hill United FC 2 defeated by Kahibah FC 7
Saturday, March 5, 2.30pm
Newcastle Athletics Field
Kahibah fired a warning shot to the competition with a five-goal second-half onslaught to defeat Cooks Hill 7-2 on Saturday.
Sean Clerke and Matt Lee scored doubles, each finding the back of the net in both halves, while Jason Evans, Skii Webster and Jayden Demir all got on the scoresheet in the second term for Kahibah.
It was a brilliant start to the season for the Andre Gumprecht-led Kahibah, who finished fourth on debut in the NEWFM First Division last year.
Despite the final scoreline, Cooks Hill played well in the first half and led through a goal from Emerson Augey, who buried a chance into the bottom corner after a penalty-area scramble. Clerke equalised off a Cooks Hill error in defence before Matt Williams put the hosts back in front with a quality strike. Lee then made it 2-all just before half-time and it was all Kahibah after the break.
Cooks Hill coach Blake Glennie said inexperience, especially in defence, hurt his side.
“It was a weird game because we started well and the first 30 minutes was the best I’ve seen us play,” Glennie said.
“But the second half was a different story and we just played like a different team.
“Credit to Kahibah, though. Four of their goals were quality. Four or five quick passes and good finishes. But three were from our mistakes and poor play.
“At the end of the day, I think it came down to inexperience. We are a young side, especially in the backline. It was a hot day and we probably ran out of fitness a bit, but it was more inexperience.”
West Wallsend SFC 3 defeated South Cardiff FC 2
Saturday, March 5, 5pm
West Wallsend showed their experience to hand South Cardiff a 3-2 defeat in the Gunners’ return match in the NEWFM First Division from the National Premier League on Saturday.
Drew Chapman scored first for South Cardiff with a tap-in at the far post after nice build-up work but the Bluebells equalised through a penalty strike from Tye Jones after a handball in the area.
Bailey Cox made it 2-1 to West Wallsend from a free kick and the hosts held on to the lead at half-time.
Dom Langowski extended the advantage 10 minutes into the second half off a turnover. The Gunners scored in the dying minutes through Ben McCabe from a free kick to make it 3-2 and they hit the woodwork late but the Bluebells scored a deserved win.
West Wallsend coach Gary Rowe said it was a pleasing start to the season.
“We were just happy to win the first game,” Rowe said.
“They were a lot fitter and more active than us, so it was a nice result.
“They hit the bar late and had us under some pressure with long balls in, but we should have scored plenty more goals ourselves before that and had the game wrapped up. We looked good in attack and definitely shouldn’t have any trouble scoring goals this year.”
South Cardiff coach Andrew Packer said the rebuilding Gunners would have to learn fast against more experienced sides this year.
“We just made too many silly mistakes against more wily opponents,” Packer said.
“It was a physical encounter, which you’d expect, and it was a pretty fair result in the end. We just gave it away too easily.
“We looked good in the first 20 minutes but then we gave away the penalty, and a silly free kick just outside the box. At 2-1 down, our players’ heads dropped.”
Toronto-Awaba FC 1 defeated by Wallsend FC 4
Sunday, March 6, 2.30pm
Lyall Peacock Field
Former Hamilton Olympic player Jake Kepreotoes scored a double on debut for Wallsend as they defeated a gallant 10-man Toronto-Awaba 4-1 on Sunday.
Toronto-Awaba held last year’s grand final winners to 1-all at half-time but were unable to stop them in the second half after goalscorer Ian Roberts was sent off for a second yellow carded tackle in the 60th minute.
Paul Wheeler and Chris Gazzard also scored for Wallsend to get their second year back in the competition off to a flying start.
Coach Josh Rufo was pleased with the performance of his side and praised the determined effort of Toronto-Awaba.
“Full credit to Toronto, they took the lead early but we pretty much dominated except for that 30 seconds and it was a good win,” Rufo said.
“We scored four but we could have double that.
“They had someone sent off and we just had a bit too much quality. But they will give a few sides some headaches if they keep playing like that.”
Toronto-Awaba coach Tony Jovcevski was more than happy with the first-up performance.
“It was a good game and both sides played well, but one of our guys got sent off and it turned the tide,” Jovcevski said.
“But the boys never gave up. It would have been very interesting if we kept all our players on the field, but credit to Wallsend. They played well and capitalised.”
Cessnock City FC 1 drew with Singleton Strikers FC 1
Sunday, March 6, 2.30pm
Turner Park 1
Cessnock and Singleton were ruing missed chances after sharing the points with a 1-all draw in hot conditions on Sunday at Turner Park.
Wade Attewell scored a stunning goal with a bicycle kick in the 56th minute but Singleton hit back six minutes later when Daniel Palozzi hit a long-range strike into the top-right corner of goals off a rebounded shot.
Singleton had a chance from the spot to go ahead with 15 minutes remaining but Jackson Cox’s strike hit the post and rebounded wide. Cessnock, who had a goal disallowed, then lost Anthony Bower to a second yellow card with 10 minutes remaining.
Singleton coach David Willoughby felt his side had the better of the game but said a neutral observer would likely say a draw was a fair result.
“We were better two to one for balls in the box and shots on target and I think we had the better chances but Cessnock scrambled well,” Willoughby said.
Cessnock coach Stephen Thomson said it was an encouraging start from his side in trying conditions.
“I thought we had the better chances,” Thomson said.
“They missed a penalty and we had a goal disallowed which would have been goal of the year, but I think overall we had the better run of it.
“The weather conditions brought it back a bit but I think it was a high quality game for this early in the season.”
Lake Macquarie City FC 3 defeated by Belmont Swansea United FC 4
Sunday, March 6, 2.30pm
Belmont Swansea showed they will be serious title contenders this season with an impressive 4-3 win over last year’s runners-up Lake Macquarie.
Josh Hall scored a hat-trick, including two goals from the penalty spot, for Belmont Swansea, who led 4-1 before two goals from the Roosters in the final minutes restored some pride for the hosts.
Hall converted a penalty in the first half, after a Belmont Swansea player was brought down from behind, to give them the lead at the break.
Hall scored from general play before Tom Walker pegged one back for Lake Macquarie halfway through the second half.
However, Hall again slotted truly from the spot after a teammate was fouled in the area to restore the two-goal advantage for the visitors.
Man of the match Jamie Hadlow then put Belmont Swansea ahead 4-1 before Sam Walker and Cameron Le Gay Brereton scored either side of 90 minutes to put a scare through Belmont Swansea.
Belmont Swansea coach Brad Paul said his team deserved the win.
“It was more comprehensive than that,” Paul said of the scoreline.
“We have a good mixture of youth and experience in the squad and pace-wise, we played them off the park.
“We were confident going into it because we were knocking in a lot of goals in the pre-season. This will give them a bit more confidence because they have seen they have the quality.
“If they have the right mindset, they will be competitive against all teams in this competition.”
Lake Macquarie coach Anthony Richards offered no excuses.
“We just didn’t turn up. They were just very enthusiastic and keen, and we weren’t for some reason,” Richards said.
“They got two penalties but they both were penalties. We just got ourselves in bad positions.
“They were just heaps keener than us and deserved their win.”
Thornton Redbacks FC – Bye