Match of the Round
Lake Macquarie City FC 0 def. by Valentine FC 4
2.30pm, Sunday 19th July
The first game of the weekend saw Lake Macquarie City welcome Valentine to Macquarie Field as they both battled in the NEWFM 1st Division Match of the Round to claim the top spot on the ladder.
Both teams quickly proved why they are the top two teams in the competition, with strong performances quickly creating a great game with both sets of players impressing.
While both teams were able to create chances in front of goals, and Lake Macquarie’s Sam Walker looked set to extend his goal-scoring spree, it was Valentine that found the back of the net first, and momentum seemed to switch from there.
While Lake Macquarie remained a strong presence on the field, Scott McGinley quickly took the limelight for the travelling team and put the Walker brothers to shame as he claimed a hat-trick off the back of his shooting prowess.
Brett Adcock also joined the scoresheet at the end of a build-up play that made sure that Valentine were firmly in the lead, and the combined for goals left Valentine with the three points, the lead on the table and even more besides.
The win for Valentine could have decided the eventual Premiers of the NEWFM 1st Division, with Valentine now three points above Lakes and level on games played. With 17 matches each there can be no catch up games that will save either side – for now, Valentine has the title firmly in their own hands.
Valentine’s Alan Hackett knew that the win was vital as well, and was pleased with the outing that his team showed.
“It was a great win, and it was a victory that we really needed in the season,” Hackett stated.
“All the players did their job like they were supposed to and now we have to turn our focus to Wallsend on Wednesday night in another of the most important matches in the end of the season.”
Lake Macquarie’s Barry Ross knew that the loss was due to poor finishing, but believes his side challenged right until the final whistle.
“They took their chances and they were able to put theirs away and that meant that we lost by four goals, as simple as that.”
“The game was a lot closer in terms of competitiveness than the score line indicates but I think that at the end of the day Valentine deserved those points, disappointingly for us. We have to recover and just keep the wins coming in now.”
Not all is lost for Lake Macquarie as they head towards the next round however, and their match away against the Singleton Strikers will be just as important for them as they now look to keep in the race.
Valentine has the bye next weekend however, and will be using that weekend off to recover from their midweek clash with Wallsend, a catch up game that could stop Valentine dead in their tracks, or propel them into an unreachable position in the lead.
West Wallsend SFC 2 def. by Cessnock City FC 5
2.30pm, Sunday 19th July
The second match of the weekend saw West Wallsend play against Cessnock City at Johnston Park as both sides aimed to remain off the bottom of the table.
West Wallsend’s performances in recent weeks have been lacking and that spelled troubles for the home team with Cessnock coming off the back of a strong run of form.
The Hornets’ form proved to be too much for Gary Rowe’s team to face, even on home soil, and two goals by the home team weren’t enough to overcome the barrage of goals that Cessnock brought to bear.
Mitchell Cox stood out with a brace, but three more goals were scored for the side from Alex King, Wade Atwell and Nick Hugo, and West Wallsend simply couldn’t answer the goals that Cessnock were creating, leaving them pointless as the game finished and at the bottom of the ladder.
The win puts Cessnock City above the eleventh place spot they have been trying to avoid, but at the same time it drops West Wallsend right to the bottom of the ladder.
Hornets coach, Stephen Thomson, was happy with the switch-around that his team has made from the start of the season.
“We got off to a rough start in the game but overall we looked more determined and improved on the performance that we put in last week.”
We’re showing signs that this side is capable to put us further than we’ve gone before, even though it’s a really young side. If the side sticks together and we can get over a few inconsistent performances we’ll have a strong team on our hands.”
“Except when we played against the Stags, in the second round of fixtures all our results have been improved and that’s a great sign.”
After a strong start to the season West Wallsend will be disappointed with where they’ve dropped to in the last few weeks, and will be hoping that they can turn their chances around in the last four games that they have to play.
The first of these chances comes against the Redbacks at Thornton Park next weekend, a crucial fixture for the West Wallsend side that needs three points to keep away from the wooden spoon.
Cessnock will also be pushing away from the bottom of the table, but their match next weekend comes at The Gardens against Wallsend, a team still in contention for the top spot and looking for every win that they can collect – it won’t be an easy win for the Hornets, but it’s a win they need to remain out of last place.
Toronto Awaba FC 2 def. Cooks Hill United FC 1
Lyall Peacock Field
2.30pm, Sunday 19th July
Toronto Awaba were continuing their march up the ladder when they welcomed Cooks Hill United to Lyall Peacock Field, with the travelling team needing a win if they wanted to keep hope for a finals appearance this season.
The first half seemed set to tip either way, with only Jimmy Davies finding the back of the net for the Toronto Awaba side, but as the 45 minute mark loomed it was becoming more and more apparent that the Stags were in control of the match.
A penalty shout for Peter Pryce gave Cooks Hill a goal in the game, but Nick Roberts was able to finish another chance for Toronto Awaba to give them the lead as the game finished up, and the hope for finals football for Cooks Hill were well and truly dashed.
The Stags meanwhile took the win cheering, with the bottom of the table pulling further and further away from them with each of their victories, and Tony Jovcevski was pleased with the way his side has turned around their season.
“After the last time they played us we are happy to come away with the victory, especially after dominating for most of the game. Out of that strength came a good result,” he said.
“We played with a strong team effort and that got us through for another three points. Now we focus on our goal, which is to win three of our last four games in the season, and if we can do better than that then the club will be really happy.”
“It was a season as a whole where we had strong performances but we couldn’t finish and it cost us everything, but towards these last few games we’ve got our scoring boots on – finally – and those matches that were going the wrong way are now coming back to us.”
“We’ve been training to better ourselves and I think that next season is going to see a massive upswing for the team and the club. We’ve already got people interested in signing for us and we’re reaping the benefits of finally clicking as a squad.”
After a lengthy run of good form, Warren Spink is disappointed that his boys have been struggling in the final weeks, and knows that the result against the Stags is a drop down in quality from the first round of fixtures.
“We were below ordinary today and we just can’t have that at all,” Spink said.
“We could have won that game if the team played to their full potential, and that’s simply what we have to work on now – we have to remain consistent and keep the potential skills of our side from slipping way. I know we can challenge and next time we’ll come out even stronger.”
Now the Stags go to take Kahibah next weekend after the newly promoted side had their game cancelled this weekend, and the Stags will need to prove that they have what it takes to beat a top four side if they want to make a mark on the season.
With finals finally out of their grasp, Cooks Hill are looking to blood youth now, and the next match against Belmont Swansea would be a perfect testing ground for the young players – the Belswans will be playing to their full limits as they reach for finals football and will have everything to prove against the inner-city side.
Wallsend FC 3 def. Singleton SC 2
Turner Park 1
2.30pm, Sunday 19th July
The final played match of the weekend saw the Singleton Strikers travel to Turner Park as Wallsend looked to continue their fight for the first place.
With Valentine and Lake Macquarie meeting in the first match and at least one of them dropping points, Josh Rufo’s side was eyeing the second place that a win would offer, while Singleton were looking to extend their run of fortune in a push for a finals spot in the last few weeks.
Singleton were able to score twice in the game, but that was overshadowed by both Winston Oku and Trent Milton, with Milton even finding the back of the net a second time and claiming the victory for the home team at Turner Park.
Rufo was pleased that the team could take another win in the direction of their season objective.
“We worked really well as a unit and the win has pushed us one step closer to what we set out to achieve at the start of the season, which was to get finals football for ourselves this year and I think we’ve got a great chance of doing just that.”
After a mid-week match against Valentine, Wallsend then take on Cessnock City as the Hornets look to propel themselves away from the bottom of the table, while Singleton will face off against Lake Macquarie City in a match that Valentine and Wallsend will both be watching closely – if Lakes fall to another defeat they may be out of the running for the top spot and a return to the PlayStation® 4 National Premier Leagues.
Kahibah FC v Thornton Redbacks FC
2.30pm, Sunday 19th July
Fixture postponed due to weather.
Belmont Swansea United SC