Match of the Round
Cooks Hill United FC v Kahibah FC
Newcastle Athletics Field
2.30pm, Saturday 27th June
The first game of the weekend also holds a vital clash for the Match of the Round, with Kahibah travelling to Cooks Hill United to battle it out for the fourth placed position on the ladder.
After the FFA Cup weekend, both sides now come back following a weekend off, looking for the important three points that could put them in a good position for the last quarter of matches in the season.
Cooks Hill currently sit two points outside the top four, having won six games in the season so far and drawn two, having played fourteen games in total. Although the team has had a rocky start to the season, their second half fixtures have boosted their positioning and now they are on the cusp of breaking into the finals – their target for the season.
Kahibah have also flown higher than their season predictions, having lost only twice in twelve games so far, with six wins and four draws making up their twenty-two point total. Now Andre Gumprecht’s side must take another win to solidify their finals spot or risk dropping back into the mid-table battle.
Cooks Hill’s Warren Spink knows that the Kahibah clash will be a focal point of their season.
“The game at home after the FFA Cup round is incredibly important for us – it determines the top four at the moment,” Spink said.
“We’re not going to swap out much for the matches because we need that consistency in our set-up and structure and it’s been the main part of how we’ve been going so well, and how the boys have been playing so well.”
“If we turn up for this game then we have a good chance to put ourselves into the finals and in a great position. We’re getting to the pointy end of the season now and if we can win four out of the six remaining fixtures then we have a great chance for the finals.”
“Wins over Kahibah or Lake Macquarie give us a realistic chance for exactly where we want to be – we need the wins.”
Newcastle Athletics Field is going to be the arena for a close match that could go either way for the two recently promoted sides, and the Match of the Round will be an incredible clash that is not to be missed on the weekend.
Valentine FC v Toronto Awaba FC
2.30pm, Saturday 27th June
Valentine plays against Toronto Awaba in the second game on Saturday afternoon, with the Stags needing a win desperately to break themselves away from the bottom of the table for the final quarter of the season.
Valentine slipped out of the top place in recent weeks with their first two losses of the season, with twenty-nine points coming from nine wins and two draws across their thirteen games so far.
A win could put them back into the top place if Wallsend fall to the Belmont Swansea outfit the next day, and so three points are vital to the campaign if they want to come into the final run in a top spot.
Toronto Awaba have won only three times in twelve games, taking nine points and becoming stuck on the bottom of the table. Although their performances have been strong in recent weeks, the wins are still coming irregularly, and Tony Jovcevski’s side now needs upset wins or they could find themselves with the wooden spoon come season’s end.
Valentine’s Alan Hackett knows that wins are crucial to their season now, and looks towards the Toronto Awaba clash and the battle against Wallsend in the coming days.
“These are some very important fixtures and if we can take top again that’d be great. The main priority at the moment is to get results or we’re going to slip even further behind.”
“After the FFA Cup weekend we’re reassessing things and I think that to get back onto the top of the league is our main focus at the moment – we have to see how everyone pulls up and we need the three points from the Stags or Wallsend could streak ahead.”
The second Saturday game of the round is important on both ends of the tables for both sides, and neither will be backing down from a fight in what will assuredly be a great clash between two great teams.
Wallsend FC v Belmont Swansea United SC
2.30pm, Sunday 28th June
Wallsend now sit in first place on the ladder and look to keep their spot with a win over Belmont Swansea United at The Gardens.
Wallsend have lost only twice in the season so far, claiming ten wins and thirty points to keep them a single point over Valentine, but Wallsend also have a game in hand. Josh Rufo’s side has been nothing but lethal in their games, proving that they could be deserving of the promotion at the end of the season.
Belmont Swansea’s goal in the second half of the season has been to return to their position in the 2014 league, with a finals appearance high in their minds.
Five wins and three draws have put the BelSwans only four points outside the top four places, and if Cooks Hill and Kahibah can battle to a draw on the weekend United could be in a strong position to step into the finals over both the new sides.
Paul Matthews, Belmont Swansea’s coach, believes that after five games in fourteen days the BelSwans can come out in the end of the season fighting strong.
“The hardest thing is to keep the consistency to get the fourth spot,” Matthews commented.
“We’ve proved that if we didn’t gift them early on that could have been our games so if we make the four then we could be in with a chance.”
“We just need to make sure that the games aren’t as close together and we recuperate now, our team has had strong and solid performances and once we’ve focused on keeping that up the end of the season can be our run in. One game a week is what we need now and we could find ourselves in the finals.”
Three points for Belmont Swansea means that they could get into the finals earlier than they were predicting, but Wallsend need the win to keep Valentine from catching up to them as the games start to slim, and both sides will be looking to prove themselves at The Gardens on Sunday afternoon.
Thornton Redbacks FC v Singleton SC
2.30pm, Sunday 28th June
Thornton Park will be hosting the clash between the Thornton Redbacks and the Singleton Strikers as both teams look to climb higher than seventh place and put in a last bid for the finals.
The Redbacks have collected eleven points in the season so far, taking three wins and two draws out of their thirteen total games, but have struggled to turn chances into goals and results and are teetering near the bottom of the table.
The Strikers have also had a difficult time this season, but sit three points above the Redbacks and eight points outside the top four.
With seven games left to play, Singleton can still fight their way through to a higher position but need all the wins that they can get, having won only four times in the season so far and collected two extra points from two draws.
A win could put either side into a great position for the final five games of the season and with both sides having come into their own in regards to attacking football in the last few weeks could see the match become an exciting shoot-out with all three points on the line.
The Redbacks will be hoping that the home field advantage will tip the game in their favour, with their supporters and fans cheering them on for a win at Thornton Park on Sunday afternoon.
Cessnock City FC v Lake Macquarie City FC
Turner Park 1
2.30pm, Sunday 28th June
The final game of the round sees Cessnock City take on Lake Macquarie City at Turner Park, with Lake Macquarie looking to find their way back into the top spot on the ladder.
Although Cessnock City have won twice and drawn four times, they have also lost eight in the season so far, leaving them only one point above the bottom place.
Lake Macquarie have also had a rocky few weeks, but are returning to where they were on top of the table, and with the side having played the least amount of matches in the season so far, the team is confident that they can close the five point gap with first place and return to the PS4 National Premier League.
Lake Macquarie’s Barry Ross believes that Cessnock City will be another tough opponent on their road back to the top spot.
“It’s a tough fixture and it’s three points that we need if we’re going to keep looking towards promotion,” Ross stated.
“I have full confidence that we can prove that we belong in the top flight, and wins are really important to us right now. We can’t play for draws and we can’t sit back on our laurels – we have to win and we have to finish off in first place or it will be a failed season.”
The final match of the NewFM 1st Division Round 16 will be a great match of football, with Lake Macquarie’s dangerous attack threatening Cessnock City’s strong defence in a battle that could be one of the highlights of both team’s seasons.
West Wallsend SFC