Match of the Round
Belmont Swansea United FC 0 defeated by Kahibah FC 1
Sunday, June 26, 2.30pm
Kahibah stayed within reach of the competition lead with a 1-0 win over Belmont Swansea in the NEWFM Match of the Round at Blacksmiths Oval on Sunday.
Jarrod Penfold scored the goal on the hour after winning a ball over the top against the Belswans keeper and a defender.
The win moved Kahibah ahead of Belswans to second place on 34 points, three points behind leaders Lake Macquarie but with a game in hand. Lake Macquarie also have a seven-goal edge on for and against.
Player-coach Andre Gumprecht said his players put in a controlled performance and did well in the final minutes to protect their lead.
“It was a very good win,” Gumprecht said.
“Overall, it was a very physical game but we played probably tactically our best performance this season. The team executed the game plan fantastically.”
“I think we deserved to win and we kept a clean sheet, which is what I’m most proud of.”
The close game followed a 2-2 draw between the sides in the first round and Belswans coach Brad Paul said they were evenly matched again.
“It was a pretty tight game and defensively both sides did well,” Paul said.
“I think we both had only one shot each in the first half. We sat too deep in the first half and they won second-phase ball quite regularly, so we changed a few things and lifted our intensity in the second, but they got the goal.”
“We threw a fair bit at them in the last 15 but they were well organised defensively.”
“Overall, they probably shaded us on the day and 1-0 was a reasonable result.”
Belswans, who stayed on 32 points, have the chance to go back ahead of Kahibah when they take on Thornton Redbacks at Thornton Park on Wednesday night (8pm) in a catch-up game.
Paul said the challenge for his side was to overcome the loss of key defender Fletcher Price and quality midfielder and skipper Joel Shearer. Price has gone overseas and will not play again this year, while Shearer may not get back on the field this season because of a hamstring injury.
Toronto Awaba FC 0 defeated by South Cardiff FC 2
Saturday, June 25, 2.30pm
Lyall Peacock Field
The skills of former Newcastle Jets Youth player Nick Pepper helped South Cardiff score their third win of the season, 2-0 over Toronto Awaba on Saturday at Lyall Peacock Field.
Pepper debuted for the Gunners and scored their second goal in the win, which took them to eighth place on 12 points.
Josh Casey opened the scoring for South Cardiff in the 35th minute with a left-foot strike into the bottom corner of the goal.
Pepper made it 2-0 with a shot into the bottom corner from just inside the 18-yard box in the 40th minute.
South Cardiff coach Andrew Packer said Pepper was a big part of the victory.
“He was outstanding,” Packer said.
“I think he had 12 months off from the game and he’s just come back and is enjoying his football. Hopefully, we can keep him for next year.”
“He was just a cut above everyone else.”
Both teams were down to 10 men in the 55th minute after South Cardiff’s Emmanuel Okumu was given a straight red card for violent conduct and the Stags’ Daniel Williams was given a second yellow card for his reaction to the incident.
Packer was proud of how the rest of his side stayed composed with both sides desperate to get away from the bottom of the ladder.
“It was just good to see the boys didn’t drop off, we kept a clean sheet, so I’m pretty happy,” he said.
“We didn’t lose track of it, we didn’t lose our heads, so luckily we finally got what we deserved.”
“Everyone played well and it was a good day for everyone at South Cardiff. We got four wins and that’s the first time this year.”
The loss and other results dropped Toronto Awaba from ninth to last on the table on 10 points.
West Wallsend SFC 2 drew with Thornton Redbacks FC 2
Saturday, June 25, 4pm
Thornton Redbacks coach Darrel McAllister rued missed chances from his side after a 2-2 draw with West Wallsend at Johnston Park on Saturday.
All goals were scored in the first-half and the point apiece left Thornton fifth on 19 points, six behind fourth-placed Wallsend, and West Wallsend sixth on 16.
West Wallsend’s Jarrod Olivieri scored off the rebound from his own penalty shot following a call against Josh Benacquista for contact in the box.
Thornton hit back almost immediately when Jamie Subat scored off a blocked Benacquista shot. The Redbacks then went ahead when Kieran Kerr scored with a header before Ryan Cole got in behind the Thornton defence and levelled just before half-time.
McAllister said his side paid the price again for not taking clear-cut opportunities early as the game petered out into a draw.
“It was an end-to-end game but I thought we had some good chances,” McAllister said.
“They had a one v one and scored it, and we had three or four and couldn’t get any of them.
“We went on a bit of a winning spell where we had a bit of luck, but now the luck’s not falling our way.
“The last three games we’ve had the most chances and if we had a Sam Walker-type of player who scores most of his chances, we’d be winning those game, but we don’t, so we just have to persist with what we have.”
West Wallsend coach Gary Rowe said Olivieri and his back four were strong in the match, while Cameron Aspinall made an encouraging return to first grade after a year out following a knee reconstruction.
The draw followed a 7-0 loss to Lake Macquarie, which came after the club was docked three points for accidently fielding a suspended player.
“The second half was a bit of an arm wrestle and there wasn’t really anything of note,” Rowe said.
“They probably had a few one-on-ones that they’ll be disappointed they didn’t take, but overall I think 2-2 was a fair result.”
Thornton has the chance to make up more ground on Wallsend on Wednesday night when they host Belswans from 8pm in a catch-up match. McAllister hoped his side could find the balance better between attack and defence.
“The boys are playing good stuff and it’s entertaining stuff,” he said.
“It’s probably our weakness, that we sometimes over-attack, but it’s the brand of football we’re playing. I’m trying to reel it back in so we don’t get countered but I think people watching are enjoying, which is a positive,” McAllister concluded.
Lake Macquarie City FC 2 defeated Singleton Strikers FC 0
Sunday, June 26, 2.30pm
Captain Tom Walker scored the clincher in his return from injury as Lake Macquarie beat Singleton Strikers 2-0 at Macquarie Field on Sunday to retain the competition lead.
Walker had been missing since round seven because of a broken wrist and came off the bench with 20 minutes remaining.
In the 74th minute, Walker pounced on a wayward back pass and chipped the keeper to score. His brother, Sam, was also rewarded for his work up top in defence when he forced a turnover and scored in the 26th minute to put the Roosters ahead.
The win moved Lake Macquarie to 37 points, three clear of second-placed Kahibah, and coach Anthony Richards was glad to get away with the points against a side they beat 6-0 first time around.
“It was a tough game,” Richards said.
“They’ve come a long way since the first round. They were quite good and we were a bit sluggish.”
“It certainly wasn’t easy for us and they had some good chances and could have scored.”
“They’ll win a few more games before the season’s out.”
Richards said it was good to have Tom Walker back.
“He came on and was good,” he said.
“He looked dangerous, set some things up and ended up getting a runaway to score.”
The loss, their third in a row, dropped Singleton to ninth on 12 points.
Coach David Willoughby said Lake Macquarie were too good but his side had opportunities to get a result.
“We did OK but it was the same old, same old,” Willoughby said.
“We did well for 20 minutes then gave away a goal with a defensive lapse.”
“We did go toe-to-toe with them for a fair way but again we gave up another goal and should have had one or two. We had two one-on-one chances in the first half but we didn’t take them and they took theirs. They deserved to win.”
Singleton have the chance to atone on Wednesday night when they host South Cardiff at Howe Park from 8pm in the rescheduled game.
Willoughby said exciting import Kieron Burrell, who missed the game on Sunday because of personal commitments, would be back for the match against the Gunners.
Cessnock City FC 4 defeated Wallsend FC 2
Sunday, June 26, 2.30pm
Cessnock City coach Stephen Thomson praised the influence of recruit Kyle Clarke after the Hornets caused one of the upsets of the season to beat Wallsend 4-2 and get off the bottom of the ladder at Turner Park on Sunday.
Clarke, in his second game for the club, scored Cessnock’s second goal, which put them on level terms before they ran away with the game.
“We were pretty well at full strength and picking up Kyle Clarke has made a big difference,” Thomson said.
“Even at training, it’s just not me barking orders. He’s driving the boys and been really good for us.
“He scored our second goal as well and it was a cracker.”
After a goalless first half, Cessnock went ahead through Wade Attewell before the defending major premiers hit back from a free kick by Trent Milton. Wallsend, who sit fourth on 25 points, went ahead with a penalty from player-coach David Hodgson before Clarke equalised. Jeremie Morton and substitute Mitchell Cox then scored to give Cessnock back-to-back wins and just their third victory of the season.
It took them to 10th spot on 11 points and followed a 3-1 win over Toronto Awaba, who are now in last place on 10 points.
Thomson was hopeful his side, who have the bye next weekend, could continue the run.
“Hopefully, we can cause a few more upsets before the end of the season. A few more points would be good,” he said.
“We’re a better side than where we are on the table. We’ve had some hard weeks but if we can stop giving away penalties and goals off set pieces, we could have more wins.
“Even though we’re down the bottom, training’s been good. The intensity and enthusiasm has been really good.”
Cooks Hill United FC – Bye