Match of the Round
Kahibah FC 0 def. by Valentine FC 2
2.30pm, Sunday 5th June
The NEWFM 1st Division Match of the Round saw fourth placed Kahibah come up against Valentine at Kahibah Oval in a battle of two of the top teams.
Valentine needed the top spot as the remaining games diminish and a win over Kahibah would give them a four point lead if Wallsend could be held to a loss.
Although Valentine went down to ten men with a red card called against them, they were still able to terrorise Kahibah’s defence as the McGinley brothers hunted for the first goal for the top team.
Paul McGinley put Valentine onto the score sheet with a great strike, leaving Kahibah trailing as they struggled to fight back against one of the best teams in the competition.
Luke Berriner also put his name on the board and doubled Valentine’s lead, sinking Kahibah’s chances of coming back into the game, and Alan Hackett’s side took three points with their close victory.
Although the team went down to ten men, Hackett was pleased with his side’s confidence and character.
“We got a great result with the ten men that we had on the field,” he stated.
“We were down in numbers but everyone in the squad did their job and it was a great effort all round. We showed great character and made sure that we got the win against some increased odds.”
“We have to keep taking wins, hopefully stronger and more decisive than this weekend, but this can take us to the top of the table for good and this is our way into promotion.”
The win takes Valentine above Lake Macquarie and Wallsend by four points, with their hold on the top of the table now looking strong for the run in to the finals.
Kahibah meanwhile are now dangerously close to slipping out of the finals spot that they had claimed as their own, with Belmont Swansea coming within one point of the top four behind them.
Next week could be vital for Kahibah’s campaign, with the match against Singleton holding the key to their finals ambitions, and if they can’t defeat the Strikers then they’re going to struggle in the run in to maintain their spot in the final four.
Valentine take on West Wallsend at Cahill Oval next weekend as they look to keep ahead of their competitors and Hackett’s side now have their fate in their own hands – if they stay on course, the PS4 National Premier League will be their home next season.
Belmont Swansea United SC 6 def. West Wallsend SFC 1
2.30pm, Sunday 5th June
The second match of the weekend was a battle between Belmont Swansea United and West Wallsend, played at Blacksmiths Oval as the Belswans continue their rush towards a top four finals spot.
After weeks of defeats, West Wallsend came out determined, looking for an early goal that could have put them in the lead and put a win back on their season record.
The Belswans weren’t going to let West Wallsend roll over them at Blacksmiths Oval however, and Jaime Hadlow was the key part of the Belmont Swansea attack, as the side dominated with six goals past the West Wallsend defence.
Tim Schultz and Luke Shearer both recorded their names on the score sheet against the travelling side, but the real start of the scoring level was Jaime Hadlow, who smashed four goals in to take the win and claim his hat trick and more in the match.
West Wallsend were able to claim back a goal on the sheet but it simply wasn’t enough as Belmont Swansea continued their end of the season form and took the three points, lifting their confidence higher and giving them a real chance at the finals if they continue the fiery form.
The dominant victory over West Wallsend sees Belmont Swansea come within one point of top four, a place that they’ve been fighting for since they turned their fortunes around.
Next week United come up against Cessnock City at Turner Park, where three more points claimed could see them in a powerful position on the ladder with four games to go – if the Belswans can get into the finals then they will have turned around what seemed like a disappointing season into another great campaign.
West Wallsend are now only four points from the bottom of the table, and after a strong start they are now fighting to stay above the lower teams, with the Stags and the Cessnock City Hornets the only sides still below them.
Next week against Valentine at Cahill Oval could be the deciding factor for West Wallsend as they battle to remain in the race, and an upset over the top team in the competition could be a great way to kick off a spectacular run-in for the team.
Singleton SC 4 def. Cooks Hill United FC 1
2.30pm, Sunday 5th June
Cooks Hill United travelled to Howe Park to take on the Singleton Strikers in a match that could put the boys in black and white back into the top four if results go in their favour across the board.
Although Cooks Hill have been dominant in recent weeks, travelling to Howe Park saw them struggling to break down Singleton’s defence, and Lloyd Wakewood was quick to put the Strikers in the lead.
Wakewood scored another goal for the side and was joined on the score sheet by Jackson Cox, who also claimed a brace in the match.
Cooks Hill were able to bring back a goal for their side but the single finished chance was not enough for Warren Spink’s side to take another three points.
The defeat may have cost Cooks Hill the chance to get into the finals, with Belmont Swansea and Kahibah both now above them on the table, and sixth place may be too hard to shake off for United if they want to keep their finals chances alive.
The win for Singleton signals a clear statement of intent for their final matches – we’re still in the race and we cannot be underestimated.
Next weekend sees Singleton battle against another top four contender, Kahibah, when they look for three more vital points as they surge up the ladder.
Cooks Hill turn around to play against Lake Macquarie City, after this defeat slips them underneath Belmont Swansea and into sixth place.
Thornton Redbacks FC 1 def. Wallsend FC 0
2.30pm, Sunday 5th June
With Wallsend battling to get back into the top spot, a win on the road over the Thornton Redbacks at Thornton Park could bring them back to the first place position they’ve been battling for.
The game began close, with the Redbacks taking advantage of their home field support to push Wallsend back, threatening to take an early lead.
A chance came for Thornton in the first half, with Nathan Mcallister putting it away and allowing the Redbacks to fall back on their defence, a tried and tested method of success for the home side.
Although the Wallsend forwards came close with a few chances, Mcallister’s side were able to hold them goalless, with the Redbacks claiming a much deserved clean sheet in their three point victory.
Coach Darrel Mcallister was pleased with his team’s performance and the victory over a top level team in the season.
“I’m very happy with the way the match played out,” Mcallister commented. “We went out into the match looking to get our defence to nullify their attack from the first time we clashed in the season, and in the end we kept a clean sheet which is really pleasing.”
“We knocked over Valentine a few weeks ago and now we’ve taken a win over Wallsend, so it’s good to know that we can hold them off and take the win. The only problem that we’ve had is that we don’t have a 30-goal striker that could mean we outscore the other team.”
“Overall now, our defensive plays are our key, because we’re not scoring four or five in a match, we’re only scoring one or two and so that means we have to be incredible in defence.”
“We’ve also focused on researching the plays of the other teams and finding out how to silence the opposition strikers. It’s been working really well so that is what we’re going to keep going with, if we can stop the other teams from scoring we can keep winning for the rest of the season.”
The win for Thornton now puts them on 14 points in 14 games, eleven points outside the top four. While their chance to reach the finals this season might be out of reach, the next match against Toronto Awaba at Lyall Peacock Field will still be a crucial battle for a better spot in the top half of the table.
Wallsend meanwhile have struggled to keep their top spot that they reached in the past few weeks, and now slip into third place with this defeat. Valentine and Lake Macquarie are both above them in the standings now, and next weekend sees them halt their progress in the bye weekend, and prepare themselves for the final run to the promotion position.
Toronto Awaba FC 2 def. Cessnock City FC 1
Lyall Peacock Field
2.30pm, Sunday 5th June
The final game in the round saw Toronto Awaba look to break off the bottom of the table and leave Cessnock City at the bottom as they faced off at Lyall Peacock Field.
The Stags began the game with a strong attack on Cessnock’s goals, threatening to take the lead in the wooden spoon battle that they were embroiled in.
Luke Jovcevski smashed in a chance before the first half whistle, leaving Cessnock City trailing by a single goal as both teams took to the field for the second 45 minutes of the match.
Jovcevski found his second goal in the game in the second half, claiming his brace and putting the Stags two goals ahead of the travelling side.
Although Cessnock were able to drag back a goal on the score sheet in the final ten minutes and come within one of the Stags, Toronto Awaba’s defence were too strong after conceding one and Tony Jovcevski’s side were able to take the three points and climb above Cessnock on the table.
Jovcevski stated that he was pleased with the results his team has been claiming after their strong performances all season.
“The team plays really well and we’re a good side. We’ve just been getting better and better and now we deserve more than we’re getting from our performances. We’ve been lacking those finishing touches and now that’s starting to come in with us, especially with Luke’s brace, and we can start turning our games around a little.”
“We shouldn’t be on the bottom of the table – we’ve been sticking it to every team but we just can’t put it into the back of the net, and if we had a bloke who could finish our movements then we could be up near the top of the table and that’s what we’re working on now.”
“The possibility is there for us to make the top four; it’s just really up to the boys if they want it. It’s not an individual player in our team, it’s the players playing together as a team, coming together with teamwork and starting to understand each other’s games and they’re starting to get more comfortable as a team then they were at the start. We do have good players that are key to our game, but we need all eleven players doing their job on the field.”
Cessnock crash onto the bottom of the table with this defeat, while Toronto Awaba step above them to finally break away from their last place spot.
Next weekend sees the Stags come up against the Thornton Redbacks in another chance to climb up the ladder and distance themselves from the wooden spoon battle, while Cessnock need to take three points against Belmont Swansea United if they have any chance of chasing down the Stags and staying away from last place.
Lake Macquarie FC