PHOTO: Valentine Sports Photography
Match of the Round
Wallsend FC 1 drew with Lake Macquarie City FC 1
Sunday, August 14, 2.30pm
Lake Macquarie coach Anthony Richards was pleased to come away with a potentially crucial away goal in a 1-1 draw with Wallsend in the first leg of the NEWFM First Division Semi-Finals at The Gardens on Sunday.
Wallsend player-coach Dave Hodgson put the hosts ahead in the ninth minute in spectacular fashion.
The 38-year-old produced an overhead bicycle kick to score after Paul Wheeler headed on a Chris Gazzard throw-in.
Lake Macquarie equalised 10 minutes later when Steve Rospigliosi lobbed a ball over for Sam Walker to chip advancing Wallsend goalkeeper Luke Jennings with a header.
Richards said his minor premiers finished strongly and he was happy with the result heading into their home leg next weekend.
“Stevie Peru [Rospigliosi] had a sitter he missed near halftime but they had some good chances as well,” Richards said.
“One-all, fair result I reckon.
“I was happy because we finished over the top of them, so fitness-wise we were good.
“Hopefully it doesn’t come down to an away goal, but it is really important. If it finishes 0-0 next week, then we’ve done enough. And we’ve always had really tight games.”
Hodgson was disappointed his side, who finished fourth, did not make more of their flying start and said forced changes in the second half after the loss of Mitchell Cook (groin), Jake Kepreotes (ankle) and Kyle Macorig (cramp) hurt their chances late.
“It was probably a fair result in the end,” Hodgson said.
“We went into it not wanting to concede a goal, but I think we had the first 20 minutes and we could have had three of four.
“That was the most disappointing part, because that was the best spell we had.
“They had a couple of good spells but our keeper did well for a couple and they put others over the top.
“All in all, I don’t know. When I came off a couple of people said we should have won, but, being out there, it felt like a draw was probably a fair result.”
As for his spectacular goal, Hodgson said: “It was one of those things you try and sometimes they come off.
“It’s not something I train for but when the opportunity presents itself, I never say no.”
Richards was pleased overall with his side’s defence and believed their attack was better late.
“We had half chances, not clear ones, but I think we finished with the better of the running,” Richards said.
“The only time they looked dangerous was from set pieces. “They’ve got a guy [Gazzard] who can throw it a long way, so they were dangerous from throw-ins, but we dealt with it pretty well.
“It was a good result away.”
He said Rospigliosi had a quadriceps injury in the second half “but everyone else is pretty good”.
He thought midfielders Blake Green, Dan Walker and Joey Cacic were standouts for his side, while goalkeeper Shannon Szmynec was strong.
Hodgson believed Szmynec was the Roosters’ best player and his shot-stopper, Jennings, recovered well after conceding early.
“I thought our keeper was at fault for the goal but he made two or three really good saves as well,” Hodgson said.
“Other than that, I didn’t think we really had any standouts.”
The result continues an intense rivalry between the teams. The Roosters defeated Wallsend by a goal each time in the regular season. Last year, Wallsend defeated Lake Macquarie 7-4 on aggregate in the Semi-Finals before winning the Grand Final against Valentine.
Under 23s (12.45pm): Belmont Swansea United FC 1 drew with Lake Macquarie City FC 1
Under 19s (11am): West Wallsend SFC 2 defeated Lake Macquarie City FC 0
Under 17s (9.15am): Kahibah FC 0 defeated by Lake Macquarie City FC 2
Kahibah FC 1 drew with Belmont Swansea United FC 1
Saturday, August 13, 2.30pm
Kahibah player-coach Andre Gumprecht said his side did not do enough late to take an advantage into the second leg against Belmont Swansea after drawing 1-1 at Kahibah Oval on Saturday.
With Gumprecht resting because of a calf injury, third-placed Kahibah were looking to use their home-ground advantage in the first leg against the second-placed Belswans to set up their finals.
After a scoreless first half, Kahibah struck first when Skii Webster chested in a corner kick from Jarrod Penfold on the hour.
Belswans, though, hit back with 20 minutes remaining when Tim Schultz crossed a ball into an unmarked Jamie Hadlow who headed home for the equaliser.
Gumprecht, who expects to play in the return leg at Blacksmiths Oval, said the draw was a fair result and he was not disappointed with the effort.
“It was a very good game and a very tight game, which is what we expected,” Gumprecht said.
“We all knew it was going to go up and down and this is what it certainly delivered.
“We scored off a set piece, which showed that they had obviously been well organised defensively.
“Then they started pressing a little bit and had a bit more action going forward.
“First half we were a little bit better and had more chances. Second half they were strong and we knew that. They are a very strong team right until the end.
“The away goal hurts but overall, it was a fair result. We can’t complain about it. They put enough pressure on to score that goal.
“Of course we would have loved to stay 1-0, and with a bit of luck, that could have happened, but we didn’t do enough second half to make that happen.”
He said his side came through injury free and defender Webster was a standout performer.
“Webster had a very good game, he was controlling and helping to stop at the back. He was vital and had a very good game,” he said.
Belswans coach Brad Paul, whose side lost 1-0 and drew 2-2 to Kahibah in the regular season, was pleased to get the away goal.
“At the end of it, going there and getting an away goal was fairly important with the draw,” Paul said.
“All the games against them have been an arm wrestle. I thought defensively both sides were fairly organised and there weren’t a lot of chances in the first half.
“Joel Shearer got played into the box for a one-on-one chance and their keeper made a good save.
“From a set piece they were able to hit the crossbar in the first half, but I thought it was fairly even. We started better but they probably finished it better.
“We were talking about not conceding, but I think they got their goal off a pretty lax bit of defending at a corner.
“Then we made a couple of subs and changed things a little bit and we ended up getting a decent goal from Jamie Hadlow.
“Both teams pushed and we both had chances, but in the end we were happy to play out for a draw at that stage.
“It was a fairly even game and I think both teams went in with a similar tactical style and it pretty much nullified itself.”
Paul said his side were strong in defence and came through the match unscathed.
“Defensively, I was pretty happy, we were pretty comfortable,” Paul said.
“Second half our keeper didn’t have to do too much at all.
“I thought Joel Shearer had a really good game for us in the centre of midfield. Jamie Hadlow and Josh Hall contributed well and our back four didn’t make too many mistakes.”
Under 23s (12.45pm): South Cardiff FC 2 defeated Cooks Hill United FC 0
Under 19s (11am): Kahibah FC 0 defeated by Belmont Swansea United FC 2
Under 17s (9.15am): Wallsend FC 0 defeated by West Wallsend SFC 3