Match of the Round
Lake Macquarie City FC 2 defeated Cooks Hill United FC 1
Sunday, April 24, 2.30pm
Lake Macquarie held on against a fast-finishing Cooks Hill to win 2-1 in the NewFM First Division Match of the Round at Macquarie Field on Sunday and move to top spot on the ladder.
An excellent solo effort from left-back Corey Fletcher midway through the second half gave Lake Macquarie the match winner in a hard-fought contest.
The home side went ahead when Sean Matthews was brought down at a corner halfway through the opening term and Blake Green converted from the spot.
Up 1-0 at half-time, the Roosters had a one-on-one chance via Sam Walker saved just before Aiden Palozzi exposed the Lake Macquarie defence, getting in behind and burying his opportunity 15 minutes in for 1-1.
Fletcher was then rewarded for an overlapping run when he went on to score with a strike from just inside the 18-yard box.
Cooks Hill finished the stronger in the final 15 minutes but the Roosters scrambled to victory.
Lake Macquarie moved to first on the ladder on 19 points from eight games and coach Anthony Richards was proud of the gritty effort late after a string of comfortable wins.
“It was good, they did really well,” Richards said.
“It wasn’t pretty but we battled hard enough to get there.
“At 2-1, it was our backs against the wall and we hung on. They had heaps of corners and free kicks at us but I guess we were good enough to hang on,” Richards concluded.
Cooks Hill, who are yet to take a point off a top-four side, held on to fifth place on nine points.
Coach Blake Glennie said it was a frustrating result but an improved performance from his side after a 5-1 loss to Belmont Swansea.
“I thought the first half was a pretty even affair,” Glennie said.
“Late in the match, their keeper, Owen Kemp, pulled off two or three really top-shelf saves.
“To make matters more frustrating, we had a penalty shout which was identical to the one they got a penalty for, but it got waved away.
“It was just a frustrating day at the office, but we played really well. I couldn’t ask any more of the boys.
“It was just one of those days when some calls went against us and their keeper had a blinder,” Glennie concluded.
West Wallsend SFC 4 defeated Toronto Awaba FC 0
Saturday, April 23, 4pm
The return of Tye Jones from suspension and doubles to Ryan Cole and Jarrod Olivieri lifted West Wallsend to a 4-0 win over Toronto Awaba on Saturday at Johnston Park.
The Bluebells scored on the half-hour through Cole off a Jones cross to give the hosts a 1-0 lead at half-time.
West Wallsend then controlled the second half with Olivieri scoring off a goalmouth scramble and a quickly taken free kick. Cole got his second goal when he won the ball in a contest with the keeper before tapping it in.
The win was West Wallsend’s second of the year and put them in seventh place on eight points from eight games.
“It was just one of those days where we got a little bit of luck, which was nice,” coach Gary Rowe said.
“Sadly we should have scored more, which is the frustrating thing, but we’ll take the win.
“They started off better than us for about 20 minutes, then we took control for the rest of it.
“Tye coming back made a difference and I made a few other changes, which seemed to give us a better balance,” Rowe concluded.
The Bluebells were without brothers Bryson and Bailey Cox, who were sent off in the 4-0 loss to Kahibah last week, and Dom Langowski remains sidelined with a foot injury.
Toronto Awaba coach Tony Jovcevski took the blame for the loss, which came after a 6-0 defeat to Lake Macquarie.
Jovcevski said he had been to only one training session in the past two weeks because of work commitments and was reconsidering his position. He said the problem had been amplified by the loss of an assistant coach to family commitments.
“I can’t blame the boys for it, I can only blame myself,” Jovcevski said.
“I haven’t been there to give them the support they need over the last two weeks. I’ve been finding it hard.
It takes its toll on everyone. Not just on myself, but the team.
“The team busted themselves on the park, but it’s just me, I think, not being there to give them the guidance,” Jovcevski concluded.
The losses came after a draw with leaders Belswans, which followed back-to-back wins. The Stags now sit ninth on seven points from seven games.
Belmont Swansea United 2 defeated by Cessnock City FC 3
Saturday, April 23, 2.30pm
Cessnock City showed what they can achieve with a full complement of senior players when they defeated leaders Belmont Swansea 3-2 at Blacksmiths Oval on Saturday.
Last before the round with only one point, the Hornets led 3-0 at half-time after making the most of a strong wind down the ground.
Jeremie Morton lobbed the goalkeeper for the opener, Nick Hugo scored from a free kick that deflected off the Belswans wall then Wade Atewell’s driving shot also took a deflection for Cessnock’s third.
Belmont Swansea, who are now second on 17 points from eight games, scored inside the first seven minutes of the second half via a Joel Shearer free kick.
Cessnock then gave away two penalties inside 10 minutes, the first for a handball and the second for a foul by goalkeeper Matt Zechel.
The gloveman saved Josh Hall’s attempt but Luke Cook converted the second penalty.
Belswans finished strongly with the breeze but were unable to grab an equaliser in the final 20 minutes.
Cessnock coach Steve Thomson was relieved to score the first win after a tough time with injuries and unavailable players to start the season.
“It’s been coming for a few weeks,” Thomson said.
“We were pretty much at full strength and that makes a hell of a difference.
“Previous weeks we had four or five blokes out and it’s one of those competitions where it’s closer than people think. Anyone can beat anyone on their day.
“We totally dominated the first half with a strong wind behind us.
“We won everything, all the second balls. But at 3-0 up at half-time we knew we had a job on our hands with the wind.
“We were under the pump the second half. It was very hard to get out of our own half, but the back five defended well.”
He said Josh Bower controlled the centre of the park for the Hornets and Jayden Gunther was their man of the match.
Belswans assistant coach Mick Stafford rued his decision to run into the wind first half.
“I got the tactics wrong,” Stafford said.
“I won the toss and started into the wind and looking back, I probably should have done it the other way.
“It was a bit of a learning curve for the boys.
“We had a penalty saved, a couple off the line, one off the crossbar. We just couldn’t get the third one in, but I don’t think our keeper touched the ball the second half,” Stafford concluded.
Belswans lost Fletcher Price to injury before the match and now look forward to the bye.
Thornton Redbacks FC 3 defeated Kahibah FC 1
Sunday, April 24, 2.30pm
Thornton Redbacks rose to the occasion of Nathan McAllister’s 50th game for the club with a 3-1 win over Kahibah at Thornton Park on Sunday and their third consecutive victory of the season.
McAllister scored with a free kick to give Thornton a 2-0 lead inside 15 minutes. Mitch Kiczynski earlier had scored the first of his two goals, hitting a pack-post header in off a Jesse Smith cross after Thornton caused a turnover in the Kahibah defence.
Kahibah scored in the 44th minute when Jayden Demir finished a one-on-one chance after a flick on.
Kiczynski restored the two-goal lead when he scored with 15 minutes remaining after McAllister made the run and the cut-back.
The victory lifted Thornton to sixth on nine points from seven games and put them in the mix after a slow start to the year.
Coach Darrel McAllister was pleased his side went on with the job after making a great start and bouncing back from conceding a late goal in the first half.
“It was a good win and it would have been an injustice if we didn’t win, because we were easily the best side, which was good,” McAllister said.
“We scored early but we could have scored more. We had five or six chances first half.”
The coach praised the effort of his attacking force, which is still missing injured strikers Tallan Martin and Jamie Subat.
He also said Ben Henry and Jock Thompson were tremendous in defending the quick attacks out wide from Kahibah.
Fourth-placed Kahibah, who were without influential midfielder Daniel Bartlett, remain on 13 points, four clear of the pack chasing a top-four spot.
Singleton Strikers FC v Wallsend FC
Sunday, April 24, 2.30pm
South Cardiff FC – Bye