Photo: Valentine Sports Photography
Match of the Round
Wallsend FC 0 defeated by Lake Macquarie City FC 1
Sunday, July 10, 2.30pm
A second-half goal to NEWFM First Division leading scorer Sam Walker kept leaders Lake Macquarie on top in their “toughest game of the season”, a 1-0 win over Wallsend in the Match of the Round at The Gardens on Sunday.
Walker scored an easy goal five minutes into the second half after brother Tom Walker put him away on goal with the Wallsend goalkeeper caught out of position.
The winner put Sam Walker to 24 goals for the season, eight clear of nearest rival in the golden boot race and teammate Blake Green.
The Roosters jumped to 43 points, six points clear of Kahibah and eight ahead of Belmont Swansea, who now have a game in hand after their clash with West Wallsend was washed out on Saturday.
Lake Macquarie coach Anthony Richards was relieved to escape with the three points.
“It was a really tough game,” Richards said.
“They had some boys missing, including Chris Gazzard, but they are a good side, Wallsend. It was our toughest game all year.”
“We had a few chances. Joey Cacic was good in midfield for us and Sam, Blake Green and Stevie [Rospigliosi] all had chances but Wallsend had some good ones as well.”
“I thought both goalkeepers did well.”
Wallsend stayed on 28 points in fourth place and are now six clear of their nearest rivals in the fight for the last spot in the finals after Thornton closed the gap with a win over South Cardiff.
Lake Macquarie extended their winning streak to seven games and face Cooks Hill, Cessnock and South Cardiff to finish the year.
Cooks Hill United FC 1 defeated by Toronto Awaba FC 3
Saturday, July 9, 2.30pm
Newcastle Athletics Field
Two free-kick goals from Johnny Nicholson lifted Toronto Awaba to a 3-1 victory over Cooks Hill at Newcastle Athletics Field on Saturday.
Cooks Hill took the lead on their Old Boys day with a goal from Tom Sparre in the 26th minute off a ball from Ty Cousins.
Johnny Nicholson equalised just after halftime with a cracking free kick and the visitors went ahead on the hour through Luke Jovcevski, who broke clear and chipped the goalkeeper.
Nicholson was again on target with a free-kick to give the Stags the win in the 82nd minute.
The effort made it back-to-back wins for the Stags, who shocked Belmont Swansea 2-1 last round.
It lifted them to a log-jam of teams on 16 points but they remain 10th on goal difference.
Toronto Awaba coach Tony Jovcevski said the win was a reward for hard work and sticking to the game plan.
“The boys played well,” Jovcevski said.
“The funny thing is, all of a sudden everyone wants to listen to the instructions and do what I ask. Now it’s paying dividends.”
“The boys deserved it. They’ve been thereabouts but they just lacked something. Now it’s falling into place and it’s got their confidence up.”
“I’m happy for them, so hopefully we can get a couple more wins.”
Cooks Hill, who are ninth on goal difference on 16 points, beat the Stags 7-2 first time around.
Kahibah FC 2 defeated Cessnock City FC 1
Sunday, July 10, 2.30pm
Kahibah survived an early goal down and some late scares to beat last-placed Cessnock City 2-1 and stay in the premiership race at Kahibah Oval on Sunday.
Cessnock scored via an own goal in the second minute off Brandon Hayes, who was under pressure from Cessnock’s Liam Stephenson.
Kahibah equalised via Brendan Trummel just before half-time with a close-range header off a Jayden Demir cross.
Demir then scored, despite calls for offside, with about 20 minutes left to put the hosts ahead.
The win lifted Kahibah to second on 37 points and kept them six points behind leaders Lake Macquarie with a game in hand. Kahibah have four matches to play.
Cessnock had back-to-back wins to sit on 11 points before the loss but they dropped to five points behind Toronto Awaba in the battle to avoid the wooden spoon.
Kahibah assistant coach Matt Moncrieff believed his side deserved the win but said the Hornets pushed them all the way.
“In the last 15 minutes they had chances to score and we were a bit scrappy,” Moncrieff said.
“We could have scored more in the game but they definitely had chances to get something out of it.”
Thornton Redbacks FC 3 defeated South Cardiff FC 0
Sunday, July 10, 2.30pm
Thornton Redbacks kept their finals hopes alive with a dominant first half and gritty second in a 3-0 win over South Cardiff on Sunday at Thornton Park.
Thornton led 3-0 at half-time then held on the second half for their first clean sheet of the year.
Jamie Subat got in behind the Gunners defence and finished a one-on-one chance with a deflected shot early.
Josh Benacquista produced a composed finish to score off a rebounded shot before Mitch Kiczynski slotted the ball in from a goalmouth scramble.
Thornton, who had three losses and a draw from their previous four games, moved to 22 points, six behind fourth-placed Wallsend, with the win. They have four games to challenge for a finals spot.
Redbacks coach Darrel McAllister was pleased with their first half effort after some recent slow starts as well as the long-awaited clean sheet.
“I think they started pretty well and scored early and that was just what we needed,” McAllister said.
“We have scored first before as well and still been under the pump, but maybe they just felt more confident against Southy and wanted to have a crack at them.”
“We missed some chances early in the second then Southy got more into the game. They threw a few higher and changed things a bit.”
“We were a bit flat. They created a one v one, but our keeper didn’t have to make many saves. They had a fair share of possession for a good half an hour in that second half but with time running out, we got back over the top of them.”
He said his back four were tremendous, especially Ben Henry and Jock Thompson.
South Cardiff stayed sixth on 16 points and coach Andrew Packer said it was a case of “too little, too late” for his side in the second half. Packer said the Redbacks were impressive in a tough, physical match.
“They won everything on the day,” Packer said.
“To have that many players dominated by their opposition player, the boys were shocked by it.”
“It was a big day for both clubs and to get beaten like that, it was a shock to the system and shows the boys they have a long way to go.”
“It was a bit disappointing, but my players worked hard, they were just outmatched.”
West Wallsend SFC v Belmont Swansea United FC
Saturday at Johnston Park
Singleton Strikers FC – Bye