MATCH OF THE ROUND
Lake Macquarie City FC 2 defeated Wallsend FC 1
Lake Macquarie bounced back from an opening-round loss to defeat 2015 Grand Final winners Wallsend 2-1 on Sunday at Macquarie Field.
A headed own goal from Wallsend’s Chris Gazzard off a Blake Green corner half an hour into the contest gave Lake Macquarie the half-time lead.
Wallsend equalised early in the second half through a penalty goal from David Hodgson, who was taken down by the Roosters’ goalkeeper to earn the chance.
Tom Walker scored the winner with about 20 minutes remaining, sliding in to knock home a cross from Klaudon Ahmataj.
Lake Macquarie coach Anthony Richards wanted more enthusiasm from his squad after the 4-3 loss to Belmont Swansea to start the campaign and he was happy with the response against Wallsend.
“It was a big turnaround in intensity, which was good,” Richards said.
“Playing against one of the better sides in the comp, they were always going to be up for it.
“Hopefully we can find that enthusiasm every week. It was a far better performance.”
Wallsend coach Josh Rufo said the game could have gone either way and he wasn’t disappointed with the effort, which followed a 4-1 win over Toronto-Awaba last week.
“I thought a draw probably would have been an even result,” Rufo said.
“There wasn’t much either way. We dominated for periods, then they did as well.
“You can’t win them all, and we’re three points better than we were at this stage last year.
“We had a lot possession and opportunity, we just need to be more clinical in that front third.”
Belmont Swansea United FC 3 defeated West Wallsend SFC 1
Belmont Swansea made it back-to-back wins to start the season with an impressive 3-1 victory over West Wallsend on Saturday at Blacksmiths Oval.
After a 4-3 upset of Lake Macquarie in round one, Belmont Swansea led 3-0 early in the second-half to set up the win over the Bluebells, who finished with 10 men after the send-off of captain Jarrod Olivieri in the final minutes.
Belmont Swansea were 1-0 ahead at half-time after Josh Sutton finished a counter-attacking, runaway chance midway through the first term.
West Wallsend were then penalised for a handball in the area in the opening moments of the second half, and Josh Hall converted from the spot. Jamie Hadlow got in behind the Bluebells defence and made it 3-0 just five minutes into the second half.
West Wallsend gave themselves hope with a goal from Ryan Cole with 10 minutes remaining. Cole was rewarded for his determination to chase down a chance close to goal, tapping in the opportunity from a rebound off the keeper.
Olivieri was given two yellow cards late for dissent as West Wallsend’s frustrations grew.
Brad Paul said it was another pleasing effort from his team, who back up on Tuesday night against Jesmond in round three of the FFA Cup at Blacksmiths Oval.
“It was pretty even to start with and both sides had good chances,” Paul said.
“Then halfway through the first half they had a really good chance to score, then we went up the other end and scored and it probably changed the game a little bit.
“The pleasing thing is we’re creating lots of chances to score.”
West Wallsend opened with a 3-2 win over South Cardiff last week but coach Gary Rowe said they did not deserve a second victory on the weekend.
“Half-time I think it was pretty even but then five minutes in to the second half, we’ve gifted two goals,” Rowe said.
“But they were much better than us after that. We had a couple of chances to score goals but they had equal of more chances than us.
“We got what we deserved at the end of the day. They were the better side over the 90.”
West Wallsend host Thornton Redbacks in the FFA Cup on Wednesday night at Johnston Park.
South Cardiff FC 1 defeated Thornton Redbacks FC 0
South Cardiff scored their first win in the NewFM First Division thanks to a goal from David Hecimovic as Thornton Redbacks rued missed chances at Ulinga Oval on Sunday.
Hecimovic, who has been with South Cardiff for less than two weeks, scored at the far post from a Ben McCabe cross on the half-hour mark. Hecimovic is one of three players at the rebuilding former National Premier League club who has come from the FC11 academy, which is based at Lake Macquarie Regional Football Facility.
South Cardiff coach Andrew Packer was pleased with the defensive effort from his side after they started their time in the competition with a 3-2 loss to West Wallsend last week.
“We played some decent football and they did to, so we were just happy to come away with the win and a clean sheet,” Packer said.
“We’ll take a lot from it being our first win. It was a good result at home.
“It was a strong defensive display and we’re pretty happy with that and can kick on from there.”
Thornton Redbacks were playing their first league game of the year after having the first-round bye.
Coach Darrel McAllister said it was a frustrating day for his side.
“We missed a couple of easy chances,” McAllister said.
“I think twice we had two people versus their keeper and the person went on their own instead of drawing the keeper and playing in the unmarked man.
“I thought we had the better of the play, we just didn’t take our chances.
“We played plenty of trials and that’s first time this year we haven’t scored a goal.”
Toronto Awaba FC 2 defeated by Cooks Hill United FC 7
Cooks Hill reversed the scoreline from their opening round loss to Kahibah to defeated Toronto-Awaba 7-2 at Lyall Peacock Field on Sunday.
A hat-trick of goals to Jackson Pett and one each from Aiden Palozzi, Tom Sparre and Emerson Augey combined with a penalty strike from captain Jack Wilson to give Cooks Hill the win.
Pett, who missed the first round loss, and Sparre scored in the first half as the visitors led 2-1 at the break.
Cooks Hill went on with the job against Toronto-Awaba, who lost 4-1 to Wallsend in round one and were missing the suspended Nick Roberts and other regular players.
Cooks Hill coach Blake Glennie was pleased with the turnaround and the influence of Palozzi, who debuted for the club after switching from Lambton Jaffas, and Pett. The pair were among four additions to the team who lost to Kahibah.
“Toronto pushed and pressed us for the first 30 minutes but then the game started to open up a bit,” Glennie said.
“Then in the second half, we took a lot more control and created a few more chances.
“It was a massive improvement. At the end of the day, you can only play the team who’s in front of you.
“Toronto are probably not in the same class at Kahibah, but we had four changes from last week and it made a big difference.”
Cessnock City FC 2 defeated by Kahibah FC 7
A hat-trick from Jarrod Penfold lifted a 10-man Kahibah to a second successive 7-2 win to start the season, this time against Cessnock City at Turner Park on Sunday.
Penfold, who missed the first round 7-2 win over Cooks Hill, scored Kahibah’s first three goals before Daniel Bartlett, a double from Jayden Demir and a strike from under-19s player Matthew Hughes put the club atop the table.
Liam Stephenson and Jeremie Morton scored for Cessnock, who had a 1-1 draw with Singleton last week.
The resounding win was even more impressive given Kahibah were down to 10 men early in the second half when in front 2-1. Striker Sean Clerke was given a straight red card for a challenge on the Cessnock keeper when competing for a loose ball near goals.
Cessnock scored their second to make it 4-2 but Kahibah cruised to victory.
Kahibah captain-coach Andre Gumprecht was proud of how his side dealt with the send off but said there was room for improvement.
“It was another good performance but I was disappointed that we conceded two goals again,” Gumprecht said.
“That’s an area we need to work on.”
Gumprecht said he was stoked to see Hughes score after earning the call-up following strong performances in training.