Match of the Round
Kahibah FC 2 drew with Belmont Swansea United FC 2
Saturday, April 2, 2.30pm
Kahibah and Belmont Swansea came away with mixed emotions after a 2-2 draw in a topsy-turvey match of the round at Blacksmiths Oval on Saturday.
Both sides went into the round-five match with perfect records to start the season and it was Kahibah who started the better to be up 2-0 at half-time.
Daniel Bartlett scored both goals, the first with a deflected shot off a corner and the next with a cracking strike from distance that Kahibah player-coach Andre Gumprecht said was “probably goal of the year”.
However, it was all Belmont Swansea in the second half as Jamie Hadlow then Josh Hall scored midway through the term. Hadlow hit home a ball over the top from Huey Price to score, then set up Hall with a cutback for the equaliser.
Their efforts helped keep Belmont Swansea at the top of the table, now with 13 points, one ahead of Wallsend and three clear of Kahibah, who have a game in hand.
Belmont Swansea coach Brad Paul was proud of the comeback but rued their missed chances to go ahead late in the game.
“We came out in the second half and pressed them a bit more and scored the goals,” Paul said.
“We continued to press them and had two shots hit the crossbar and another one cleared off the line with the keeper beaten, so we were a little disappointed not to win.
“I thought we were the little bit better team on the day but to comeback against a team like that, I couldn’t commend the boys any more on the effort they put in.
“That’s twice now we’ve come back from two-nil down, so we’re pretty happy with that.”
Paul said his side were defensively “pretty good” and “pace-wise a little bit sharper” than Kahibah.
He said attacking weapon Josh Sutton, who was back from two weeks out with a hamstring strain, was his man of the match.
Gumprecht, who came off 30 minutes into the match with a tight calf, also had mixed emotions about the result.
“I was disappointed with the draw being that we were 2-0 up, but towards the end of the game I would have taken the draw,” Gumprecht said.
“We were lucky to get it in the end because they had us under the pump.
“The first half was clearly to us and the second was clearly to them. They hit the crossbar a couple of times and had some good chances at the end,” Gumprecht concluded.
South Cardiff FC 1 defeated by Toronto Awaba FC 2
Saturday, April 2, 2.30pm
South Cardiff coach Andrew Packer was disappointed with his side’s discipline as Toronto Awaba made it two wins on the trot with a 2-1 victory over the Gunners at Ulinga Oval on Saturday.
After a scoreless first half, the Stags scored twice in the opening 20 minutes of the second period through Nick Roberts and Liam Watson from long balls in.
South Cardiff got one back with 10 minute left when Trent Lamborn scored from the spot after Toronto Awaba were penalised for a handball.
Packer, whose side sit eighth on four points, said mistakes at the back proved costly for the Gunners.
“It was a pretty good performance in the first half,” Packer said.
“We hit the posts and had one-on-ones but we were getting caught out at the back with balls through the middle, and we had some discipline issues.
“It was disappointing because we played well and had some good chances, but it’s still not good enough.”
Packer warned his defence to stay in position to combat attacking balls over the top in the second half but they paid the price for not following his instructions.
“It was a good learning experience,” he said.
He said a highlight for South Cardiff was the performance of 17-year-old Adam Nicholas, who came on 10 minutes into the match for an injured Drew Chapman and “did very well for us”.
Toronto Awaba coach Tony Jovcevski said his side “took a while to get going” in the first half but showed signs they were improving as a group in the second.
“It was an OK performance, not fantastic, but we did all right,” Jovcevski said.
“We’re starting to gel because we’ve had some more new guys coming in to strengthen the group.
“We’ve only got three guys left from last year’s team so it’s a slow process but we’re getting there.
“Two wins from four games is a good start to the year and there’s a hell of a lot of improvement in us.”
Toronto Awaba had the bye the week before but defeated Cessnock City 4-2 in round three after losses to Wallsend and Cooks Hills to start the year.
Singleton Strikers FC 0 defeated by Lake Macquarie City FC 6
Sunday, April 3, 2.30pm
Former Newcastle Jets Youth player Blake Green was man of the match with a hat-trick performance for Lake Macquarie in their 6-0 win over a 10-man Singleton Strikers at Howe Park on Sunday.
Green scored once as the Roosters took a 3-0 half-time lead against the Strikers, who went a man down in the 29th minute when Zane Hand received a second yellow card. Sam and Tom Walker netted one each before Green bagged a second-half double and Joe Holt capped the win with the goal of the game.
Lake Macquarie coach Anthony Richards was “happy with the win.”
“We defended a lot better than we did last week and we were still able to put some goals away.
“I think overall, it was a comfortable performance for us.”
Gun striker Sam Walker was rested at half-time but Green, who scored a hat-trick the week before in a 8-3 win over Thornton, carried on the job for the visitors.
“Blake was the best for us,” Richards said.
“They were all well-taken goals. He’s doing quite well for us and I think he’s enjoying his football.”
Despite the result, Singleton coach David Willoughby was pleased with the effort from his understrength side.
“We were at sixes and sevens with a makeshift defence, and then Zane, who hadn’t played in the back four before, is sent off,” Willoughby said.
“Obviously to lose 6-0 is not good, but we played with 10 men for 60 minutes with a makeshift back four, and I was happy with the effort.
“They were too good and we struggled, but the players fought hard. It could have been a lot worse.”
Singleton have lost imports Alex Clarke and Dylan Schauder to Adamstown and had other players unavailable.
The Strikers sit 10th with two points, while Lake Macquarie are fourth on 10 points.
Wallsend FC 2 defeated Cessnock City FC 0
Sunday, April 3, 2.30pm
Wallsend coach Josh Rufo was pleased to walk away with the win and a clean sheet after a frustrating day against Cessnock City at The Gardens on Sunday.
After a scoreless first half in hot condition, the Red Devils won 2-0 via a header from David Hodgson on the hour and a long-range strike from Jake Kepreotes which Rufo said was a contender for goal of the season.
The result lifted Wallsend, the defending major premiers, to second on the ladder on 12 points, one point behind Belmont Swansea, but Rufo was again disappointed with his side’s finishing touch.
“It was quite a frustrating day,” Rufo said.
“I don’t think the weather helped but it was another three points, a clean sheet, so we’ll take it.
“We had a lot of possession but we just didn’t show a lot of thought when we had it. We were probably overcomplicating it and overplaying it at times.
“It will get there.”
The result left Cessnock City sitting in last place on one point and added to the frustrations of coach Steve Thomson.
Cessnock City were missing new goalkeeper Steve Anderson (back spasms) and the suspended Josh Bower and are still waiting on the return of Anthony Bower from overseas and Liam Stephenson from injury.
“We haven’t had a full squad since round one,” Thomson said.
“The boys coming in are doing the job but it’s definitely hard with four or five out every week.
“We’ve got the bye next week, so hopefully we can get a few back after that,” Thomson concluded.
Thornton Redbacks FC 3 defeated West Wallsend SFC 2
Sunday, April 3, 2.30pm
Thornton came from behind twice to earn their first points of the season with a 3-2 victory over a 10-man West Wallsend at Thornton Park on Sunday.
After a 0-0 draw at half-time, Ryan Cole scored for West Wallsend on his return from suspension when burying a one-on-one chance early in the second 45 minutes.
Forward Grant Morrow was sent off soon after for a second yellow carded tackle.
Jamie Subat then won a header to put Thornton on level terms before West Wallsend were back in front midway through the half thanks to a penalty strike from Tye Jones, who had been fouled.
Thornton levelled again with 20 minutes remaining after left back Jock Thompson won a challenge on halfway before following the play and finishing the chance from short-range.
“It was a good reward for Jock, who was probably our best,” Thornton coach Darrel McAllister said.
Nathan McAllister then scored the winner with 10 minutes remaining to break Thornton’s duck for 2016.
Coach McAllister believed it was a fair result given his team’s efforts at both ends of the pitch.
“It was good character from us to come back twice, but in the first half we could have been a couple up,” he said.
“We felt we created the best chances and their best chance was the one they scored after the break on the counter.
“Defensively I thought we were pretty good. There was the goal and the pen, but I think our keeper had to make only one other save.
“I felt the best team won, but a few of our chances were against 10 men, so they did well with 10 men really.”
McAllister noted that his side were down to 10 men for the final 10 minutes because Subat came off with groin injury after he had made Thornton’s three substitutions.
West Wallsend coach Gary Rowe was disappointed with the performance and the effort after Morrow was sent off.
“The mental frailties of my boys came back to haunt us again,” Rowe said.
“They had chances but we had enough chances to get something out of it, but cost ourselves again, which is frustrating.”
West Wallsend sit seventh on four points from five games, while Thornton are now on three points from four matches.
The clubs meet again in their postponed FFA Cup match on Wednesday night at Thornton.
Cooks Hill United FC – Bye