Match of the Round
Wallsend FC v West Wallsend SFC
2.30pm, Sunday 14th June
The Match of the Round this weekend sees the clash of the Wallsend teams once again, with West Wallsend travelling to The Gardens to take on their rivals after they’ve gone to the top of the table.
The win over Cooks Hill in Round 14, coupled with Valentine falling to the Redbacks with a close game, means that Wallsend enter the 15th round of the competition sitting in first place, and now have their eyes on the prize of promotion after nearly four months of chasing after Valentine and Lake Macquarie.
Nine wins and two losses make up Wallsend’s record, with eleven games played in the season so far, and wins in the double digits could secure a top four position for the strong side.
West Wallsend meanwhile have had little luck in recent weeks, slipping from a solid position in the finals down to eighth place, with only four wins to their names and seven losses. They have played 13 games in total, taking two additional points from draws.
The Wallsend derby could prove the perfect staging ground for West Wallsend to start their comeback however, with form flying out the window in a clash between neighbours, and Gary Rowe’s side will need all their skill and commitment if they are to take down the top placed side.
Wallsend’s Josh Rufo is ecstatic that his side has been able to climb to the lofty heights of the promotion spot, and looks to secure it in the coming rounds.
“It’s amazing that we’re in first place, but now we have to look at continuing these performances that we’ve been putting in,” Rufo stated.
“If we lose focus of what we were trying to achieve then we could risk losing the spot to someone else that wants it more, and to have it and then let it slip away would be terrible.”
The Match of the Round is set to be one of the biggest fixtures of the season, and everyone from the Wallsend area will be eager to see their side come out on top – this match is not one that should be missed.
Cooks Hill United FC v Thornton Redbacks FC
Newcastle Athletics Field
2.30pm, Saturday 13th June
The Redbacks travel to the Newcastle Athletics Field to play against Cooks Hill United this Saturday afternoon, with the first match of the NEWFM 1st Division set to be a tight clash.
Cooks Hill have remained in the top four race all season so far, but have yet to see the inside of the finals positions. They have taken 17 points from five wins and two draws, but six losses have slowed their progression.
Warren Spink has been happy with their playing style however, and looks towards the second round of fixtures as more chances to make a name for the recently promoted club.
The Redbacks have been hot and cold recently however, with a tight win over Valentine seeing them drop the Phoenix side out of the top spot, but they are still stuck in ninth place with only eleven points to their bid.
Those eleven points come from three wins and two draws, but seven losses have halted the Thornton side in their efforts to climb up the ladder, and they have become stuck under the higher win counts of Singleton and West Wallsend.
Both sides come to the Newcastle Athletics Field with varied results over the last few weeks, and consistency will be key for the side that gains three points on the weekend – whichever team can settle into their strengths first will be able to snatch a victory and improve their positions on the table with just under half the season to go.
Valentine FC v Singleton SC
2.30pm, Saturday 13th June
Cahill Oval plays host to the clash between Valentine and Singleton as the once-top team looks to return to their throne with all three points at their home fixture.
Valentine have struggled to maintain their dominant streak in recent weeks, dropping to a point below the leaders after two defeats away from home. Now a win against the Strikers is necessary for the title-challengers if they want to remain in the race.
Overall, Valentine have had a strong showing in the league, losing only twice and taking 26 points from eight wins and two draws.
Singleton have had a harder time of the league so far, with only four wins and two draws going their way in twelve played matches. Their 14 points puts them level with West Wallsend, but in seventh on goal difference.
“At the moment we’re not ready to go up to the Premier League,” Valentine’s Alan Hackett stated plainly.
“Even if we win the competition we might not be ready for the top level, we need to be competitive week in and week out and these last two games have proved that we might not be ready.”
“We need to prepare and the players need to look at what they’ve done and come work their butts off at training. Hopefully we can get back on track with the season and I want to prove to myself and to the club that we can compete. We need this win now for that.”
The Strikers will be looking to ruin Hackett’s plans however, and if Valentine don’t bring the skills they showed early in the season to bear it could be anybody’s game at Cahill Oval on Saturday afternoon.
Belmont Swansea SC v Lake Macquarie City FC
2.30pm, Sunday 14th June
Belmont Swansea have made Blacksmiths Oval their own fortress in recent fixtures, and now Lake Macquarie City travel to take on the Belswans in an effort to fight back to the promotion spot on the ladder.
Belmont Swansea have had a good run recently and now sit in fifth place, only a single win away from Kahibah, and have matched five wins with five losses over the season. Three draws round out their 18 points collected, and now they look for three more to further their position.
Lake Macquarie meanwhile is in the fight for promotion, with five points separating them and the now-top Wallsend side.
City has won seven times in the season so far, picking up an extra point from a draw and losing twice, now equalling second placed Valentine on defeats. A win for Lakes brings them back within one point of the Phoenix side and in a prime spot to overtake them on the ladder.
City’s Barry Ross knows that they’re still in the run as well, with catch-up games favouring them at the moment.
“We haven’t looked at the table and I don’t plan to any time soon, because I don’t want the players getting worried about being below some of the teams.”
“Right now we’re focused on locking down Belmont Swansea, and with Shane Paul back in their starting line-up we’re going to have to focus on keeping him from creating chances as well.”
“We’ve got a few breaks coming up with the FFA Cup rounds, a bye in a few weeks and so we can’t rely on a massive streak of momentum.”
“We’re coming out for wins and we’ll definitely be hoping for the next three points and that means that we have to turn up like we did last round, when we got a win.”
The clash sees both teams looking for the form that could return them to their projected targets, with Belswans eager to knock Kahibah out of the top four position and take their place, while Lakes cannot settle for anything less than leapfrogging Wallsend and Valentine for the top position in the coming weeks.
Cessnock City FC v Kahibah FC
Turner Park 1
2.30pm, Sunday 14th June
The final game of the round will see Kahibah come off their bye weekend to take on Cessnock City away from home at Turner Park.
Cessnock has had less than favourable results recently, with two points collected from their last five games. Two draws over the last two weeks have changed their fortunes slightly, but with 13 games played and only three wins to their name things are looking dire for the club as they head towards the second half of the season.
Stephen Thomson’s side is going to have to change their tune if they want to get out of the wooden spoon battle that they’ve found themselves bogged into, and a win on the weekend would be a step in the right direction for the side.
Kahibah are tough competitors however, going without a disappointing loss in the league since their first game at the start of the season, and the team now sit in fourth place with six wins and three draws in eleven matches, having lost only twice in total.
Andre Gumprecht has been quite pleased with his team’s performances so far, and knows that the team can go further in their debut season then they originally predicted.
“We wanted to get a name in the league and show that we were challengers, and we’ve done just that so far,” Gumprecht stated.
“Wins and draws are vital to us but going out and having a good game is really important too. We challenged against Wallsend and they won, but they’re top of the table so it’s a result that doesn’t look too bad for us anyway.”
“We keep up what we’re doing and we could be in the finals for our first season, and that’s something that the club is going to be very happy with. To come into the 1st Division and make a name for ourselves is what we’ve wanted and I feel like we’ve succeeded.”
Three points is vital for Cessnock to escape their poor performances, but Kahibah needs the three points to keep hold of their top four position and neither team is going to go down without a fight this weekend at Turner Park.
Toronto Awaba FC