Kahibah FC v Cooks Hill United
Kahibah Oval, Saturday 2.30pm
Cooks Hill United coach Doug West believes his side learnt plenty from their final round clash with Kahibah, which could be an advantage on Saturday.
Kahibah host Cooks Hill in the minor semi-final, with the loser to have their season ended.
Cooks Hill, the 2019 premiers, downed Belmont Swansea United 4-0 last weekend to advance past the elimination final, while Kahibah fell 1-0 to Singleton in the qualifying final.
Cooks Hill won the round four clash against Kahibah 2-1 in July thanks to late goals from Daniel Johnson and Nick Russell.
But the Rams have the more recent bragging rights, with veteran striker Rhys Tippett scoring the only goal from the penalty spot to see Kahibah climb above Cooks Hill on the table after the final round of the regular season.
West said his side had learnt much from that defeat and would go into the game with plenty of momentum after eliminating BelSwans.
“We played them a week ago and lost 1-0 with a defensive error and gave them a penalty,” West said.
“We just didn’t convert our chances. We’re looking forward to playing Kahibah again. I think if we convert the chances we had a week ago we should do well.
“They were well structured with their set up. They have a lot of young legs that worked really hard across the middle of the park. But we also created a lot of chances we didn’t convert.
“I expect the same thing I think in terms of their structure. It’ll be similar. We just need to go in and play our football and our front third convert our chances.
“[Playing each other so recently] is probably an advantage for each team from a tactical point of view. We know what players they’ve got from the last round and it was a fairly critical game in that it was all about positions in the table. We did learn about some strengths and weaknesses.”
The winners will advance to play the loser of the major semi-final between New Lambton and Singleton for a place in the grand final.
New Lambton v Singleton
Lake Macquarie Regional Football Facility, Sunday 2.30pm
Singleton coach Brendan Slade is hopeful his side will carry the effort and determination shown in advancing to the major semi-final into their clash with New Lambton on Sunday, one of the biggest matches in the club’s history.
The Strikers take on premiers New Lambton on Sunday for a place in the NEWFM Northern League One grand final, with the winner to advance to the decider at Magic Park on 1 November.
New Lambton are fresh from a week off, their reward for winning the premiership with their 1-0 victory over South Cardiff a fortnight ago.
But Singleton are on a roll having won their last three matches in a row, including a 1-0 win over Kahibah in the qualifying final last weekend thanks to Jake Barner’s goal.
And the Strikers will take plenty of confidence into the match having won the only meeting between the two sides during the regular season, with Hayden Nicol’s winner giving Singleton a a 2-1 victory at Alder Park in round seven in August.
With Singleton having not played finals football since 2004, the clash with the Eagles shapes as one of the biggest in the Strikers’ history, with a win enough for them to advance straight to the grand final.
Singleton coach Brendan Slade told the Singleton Argus he was delighted with the application shown in the win over Kahibah, something he hoped would continue throughout the finals series.
“Even though we won plenty of ball, we tended to rush our passes. That’s something we’ll work on at training,” Slade said.
“Everyone’s work-rate was high, especially in [the] heat, which was very pleasing. It was a tradesman-like effort.
“Hopefully, that [determination] will pay off in the coming weeks, too.”
The loser will face the winner of Kahibah and Cooks Hill United in the preliminary final.