Match of the Round
Cooks Hills United FC 1 defeated South Cardiff FC 0
Saturday, April 9, 2.30pm
Newcastle Athletics Field
A 57th minute goal from Tom Sparre proved the difference as Cooks Hill stayed within reach of the top four with a 1-0 win over South Cardiff at Newcastle Athletics Field on Saturday.
Sparre used his speed to catch out the Gunners defence and get behind to put away a chance, which helped Cooks Hill move to fifth place on nine points from five games.
South Cardiff lost Jack Parkinson in the last minute to a straight red card for swearing but the Gunners came through the defeat otherwise unscathed.
The loss left South Cardiff in eighth place on four points but coach Andrew Packer said the performance was his side’s best of the season so far.
“We played well, I was pretty happy with it,” Packer said.
“They had one clear-cut chance and they took it, but I thought the first half, we really dominated. We just didn’t take our chances.”
Packer expected South Cardiff to build on the effort.
“I made a few positional changes and I think we looked more comfortable. We’re still trying to find our feet in this league and getting to know all the other teams, but we looked good. It’s the best we’ve played this year.”
He said Josh Casey continued his great start to the year, while Winstone Oku played well in his first game up front.
Belmont Swansea United FC 0 drew with Toronto Awaba FC 0
Saturday, April 9, 2.30pm
Belmont Swansea maintained their unbeaten record for 2016 but gave up top spot with a scoreless draw against Toronto Awaba at Blacksmiths Oval on Saturday.
The stalemate followed Belswans’s 2-2 draw with Kahibah last week, which came after four wins to start the season. They now sit second on 14 points, one point behind Wallsend.
Belswans assistant coach Mick Stafford and Toronto Awaba coach Tony Jovcevski said goalkeepers Nick Popel and Daniel March kept their respective teams in the contest with excellent saves.
Stafford said his side paid the price for not taking early chances.
“It was frustrating,” Stafford said.
“We had enough chances early and were playing well, but then we started playing their game.
“It turned into a real dogfight in the end and both sides could have put away a few chances.
“Both keepers made some good saves, but they got us on the counter a few times.”
Despite the below-par performance, Stafford said the Belswans were still in good shape.
“Since Brad (Paul) and I took over, we’ve had a good run, but we were waiting for that game, for a flat spot.
“But we’ve still had a pretty good start.”
The result left Toronto Awaba in sixth place on seven points from five games and comes after back-to-back wins.
Jovcevski believed his side should have made it three victories on the trot.
“It was a good game and the keepers pulled off some good saves,” he said.
“It was a hard-fought battle. It was pretty even in the first half, but we had a heap of chances in the second half.
“We must have had eight or nine good chances but we couldn’t put them away.
“We’re slowly getting there, we’re getting better each week, but there’s still a lot of improvement in us. Even drawing against the top of the table team, there was a lot of improvement in us.”
West Wallsend SFS 1 drew with Singleton Strikers FC 1
Saturday, April 9, 2.30pm
Jarrod Olivieri scored in the last minute to give West Wallsend a 1-1 draw against a 10-man Singleton at Johnston Park on Saturday.
Playing through a calf injury, Olivieri took his chance off a loose ball from a corner after the Bluebells had earlier missed two opportunities from the spot to draw level with the Strikers.
Singleton went ahead inside 15 minutes when striker Klaudon Ahmataj produced a clever finish.
West Wallsend pressed harder in the second half and earned a penalty, which Dom Langowski took and Stuart Plant saved.
Plant was then sent off for a last-man challenge with about 25 minutes remaining and Langowski had another chance to bring West Wallsend level. This time Ryan Guihot was in goals and again the Singleton keeper made the stop.
West Wallsend coach Gary Rowe, whose side sit seventh on five points, said it was a “scrappy game”.
“To score in the last 30 seconds, we’re showing less of the mental frailties we have this year, so that was pleasing,” Rowe said.
“But we should have been leading before then.
“There were the two penalties, they were down a man for the last 25 minutes, we had one on ones and hit the crossbar, but in the end, I’m happy to take the point.”
The Bluebells were without the suspended Tye Jones and injured Jarryd Jones.
Singleton coach David Willoughby was disappointed his side were not further ahead when they went down to 10 men.
“We were the better side in the first half and statistically, we were in control,” he said.
“We hit the post before we scored a pretty good goal and we had more shots on goal.
“They pressed us a bit more in the second half and then Stuey got sent off.
“But we had control of the game.”
Singleton bounced back from a 6-0 drubbing at the hands of Lake Macquarie a week earlier and moved to three points from five games.
Lake Macquarie City FC 3 defeated Kahibah FC 2
Sunday, April 10, 2.30pm
Teenage debutant Jim Ward was the hero for Lake Macquarie as the Roosters defeated Kahibah 3-2 at Macquarie Field on Sunday.
The under-19s player scored in the 77th minute off a Sam Walker pass to put Lake Macquarie ahead after Kahibah had clawed back from 2-0 down to level in the 63rd minute.
The victory lifted the Roosters ahead of Kahibah into third place in 13 points. It was the first loss of the season for Kahibah, who are fourth on 10 points.
Walker scored in the 14th minute and Blake Green converted from the spot in the 25th to put Lake Macquarie ahead.
Daniel Bartlett then struck in the 43rd minute for Kahibah, knocking in the ball at the back post from a Jayden Demir cross.
Jarrod Penfold equalised for the visitors in the 63rd minute with a free kick hit around the Roosters wall.
Demir had the chance to put Kahibah ahead but hit his penalty shot wide before Ward scored the match winner.
Lake Macquarie coach Anthony Richards was happy to get away with the win against Kahibah, who were without injured player-coach Andre Gumprecht.
“We played well in the first 40 minutes to be two up and we controlled the first half, so it was disappointing to let that goal in just before half-time,” Richards said.
“But then they score with a nice free kick and miss a penalty, so it was nice to get the win.
“They are a good side Kahibah and are well-coached and organised. They will win more games than they lose this year.”
Thornton Redbacks FC 2 defeated by Wallsend FC 5
Sunday, April 10, 2.30pm
Wallsend took full toll on a weakened Thornton Redbacks to go top of the table with a 5-2 victory on Sunday at Thornton Park.
David Hodgson bagged a hat-trick, which included two penalties, for Wallsend, while Chris Gazzard and Tim Davies scored their others. Tallan Martin scored both goals for Thornton, who were missing goalkeeper Mick Hugo and striker Jamie Subat to groin injuries as well as Jason Thomas (work) and Kieran Kerr (foot injury).
Gazzard put Wallsend ahead before Martin equalised.
Hodgson pounced on a lazy pass in defence to score before earning a penalty he converted to make it 3-1 at half-time. Martin struck again early in the second half to give Thornton hope but Hodgson got another penalty before Davies capped off the win late with a goal.
The Red Devils moved to 15 points at the top of the table from six games, while Thornton have three points from five games.
Thornton coach Darrel McAllister said experience won the game for Wallsend against his side, who were backing up from a midweek 2-0 win over West Wallsend in the FFA Cup.
“We were down on troops and our next-best are not good enough at this stage,” McAllister said.
“We had a lot of young boys coming in against the two Kepreotes boys and the experienced guys like Hodgo and Gazzard.
“It was pretty much a mismatch. We battled away and stayed in the game but we made it too easy for them with two soft pens and a back pass. There’s three goals right there.”
Wallsend coach Josh Rufo was pleased his side were continually improving.
“It was a pretty dominant performance from start to finish,” Rufo said.
“There were a few passages that weren’t the best but overall, it was good. We had lots of possession, lots of chances and were good enough to score five.
“The back five was solid again and we’re playing some good football.”
Cessnock City FC – Bye