PHOTO: Valentine Sports Photography
Match of the Round
New Lambton FC 6 (Taylor 4’, Casey 24’, Pepper 32’, 38’, Bechelli 81’, Jovcevski 86’) defeated West Wallsend SFC 2 (Jones 31’, Marshall 60’)
Monday 13th March, 7:45 pm
New Lambton travelled to face West Wallsend at Johnston Park for their first match in the NEWFM Northern League One which pushed back to Monday night after wet weather washed out the scheduled Saturday kick off.
It was a dream start for the Eagles, Nick Pepper fired a cross-field switch straight onto the head of Matt McLure, who found Riley Taylor who headed into an empty net to give New Lambton the lead in the fourth minute.
New Lambton came close again in the 11th but Luke Maloney only found Bluebells keeper Matt Park; West Wallsend registered their first shot via Brad Andrews, whose attempt from a long way out was saved comfortably.
Westie thought they were back on level terms in the 17th minute after Jarrod Olivieri turned the ball in after it fell loose from a corner, but the linesman’s flag was up for a foul and the goal was disallowed.
Seven minutes later the Eagles doubled their advantage, a long throw from Zane Hand found its way into the box, and via Luke Maloney went to Josh Casey, who made no mistake from close up.
West Wallsend struck back in the 31st, Cameron Aspinall finding Sam Jones with a precise ball from deep in the midfield. The number 7 did well to turn his defender and rifled in a shot from well outside the box which snuck in and made it 2-1.
The Eagles replied instantly – a Nick Pepper bomb cleared the unsuspecting Bluebells ‘keeper and made it 3-1 to New Lambton just a minute later.
Pepper doubled his own tally in the 38th minute, getting his free kick up, over the wall, and in to make it 4-1 Eagles.
West Wallsend’s Brad Andrews had a golden opportunity to get his side back in reach of the Eagles in the 42nd minute, but spurred his shot wide and ensured the Bluebells went into the sheds three goals down.
The Bluebells come out firing in the second half, controlling much of the play in the opening fifteen minutes. Sam Holt fired a header straight at the New Lambton’s keeper just seven minutes in, and it’d take a New Lambton mix up for West Wallsend to strike.
A shanked clearance at the back allowed Bronson Marshall to get away through on goal, and he made no mistake in finishing well past the Eagles keeper, Keegan Pulik, and made the score 4-2.
Ryan Cole was amongst everything for West Wallsend, but the Bluebells couldn’t quite finish their chances. Marshall had another big chance in the 72nd minute but wasn’t able to get it out from under his feet.
New Lambton would crush the hopes of West Wallsend in the 81st minute, however, working a free kick from the back nicely, Luke Jovcevski found debutant Maurice Bechelli, who made no mistake in putting away his chance to make it 5-2.
A Bryson Cox handball in the box gave Matt McLure the chance to make it six for the Eagles, and he made no mistake in pushing the scoreline to 6-2, and that’s how it finished.
An elated New Lambton coach Andrew Packer was visibly pleased with his side’s resounding victory.
“Pretty good to get off to a good start, to score six was good.
“We also know we’ve got a lot to work on, still a little disappointed because we know we can do better.”
Packer praised the tough West Wallsend opposition.
“To come away from three points at this ground, it’ll be tough for teams to come here and do well.”
West Wallsend coach Gary Rowe was disappointed with his side’s effort.
“We didn’t match their enthusiasm.
“We didn’t take our chances, we had plenty in the second half.
“We could have and should have taken them all and then the game turns really quickly, and take the air out of their sails.
“But we don’t do that (score goals), for whatever reason… I think we grabbed at things because we were desperate.”
New Lambton takes on Thornton next week at Adamstown Oval, while West Wallsend faces Cooks Hill at the Newcastle Athletics Field on Saturday.
Belmont-Swansea 3 (Marcus 24’ p, 38’, Nakhoul 78’) defeated Singleton 0
Saturday 11th March, 2:30 pm
Belswans got their campaign off to a dream start as they were deserved victors over the Strikers in the opening match of the NEWFM Northern League One.
Singleton enjoyed the share of possession in the opening fifteen minutes but struggled to find a way through. Belswans had no trouble finding space in behind when they found themselves on the ball, however, a strong block from Jackson Hough kept Will McMaster from putting Belmont-Swansea ahead early in the game.
Gael Basana fell over a golden chance for Singleton to go ahead in the 15th minute, and it’d prove costly when Tega Marcus won and converted a penalty in the 24th minute to put Belswans in front.
From there, Singleton struggled. Belmont-Swansea enjoyed the lion’s share of possession and were consistently threatening the Strikers goal, but it took until the 38th minute to double their advantage.
A turnover in the middle of the park allowed substitute Jayden Nakhoul to play a delightful ball through the Singleton defence with his first touch of the game that found Tega Marcus who made no mistake in slotting past Stuart Plant to give Belswans a 2-0 lead at halftime.
Both sides had their chances, but it was Nakhoul who’d do the final damage for Belswans – the youngster received the ball on the edge of the box in the 78th minute and curled a delightful shot around Plant to make it 3-0.
A red card to Belswans’ Nathan Stevens for a second bookable offence in the 84th minute wasn’t enough to let the Strikers back into the game, and it finished 3-0.
Belswans coach Josh Rufo was pleased with the result.
“It was a good start, we had six players that were 21 years or younger starting the game so that’s a real positive.
“People are learning (our new) system, today was a good example of what it looks like when it works really well.
“But in the same breath there were a lot of things that were quite poor, so that’s stuff we need to work on.”
Singleton coach David Willoughby was disappointed with his side failing to do the simple things.
“Our intensity before the goal (was poor), we lost our way.
“We lost our intensity, our drive and our execution for the rest of the game.
“There’s six players that started out there today that won’t play first grade again.”
Belmont takes on Wallsend away next weekend in the Round 2 Match of the Round, while Singleton is also away travelling to Cessnock.
Cessnock FC 1 (Wallington 5’) defeated by Thornton Redbacks FC 5 (Subat 1’, McAllister 30’, 35’, 89’, Smith 92’)
Sunday 12th March, 2:30 pm
It was always going to be a big ask for Lino Gatti’s youngsters in their Round One clash with the tried and tested experience of Thornton, and it proved too much for Cessnock in their opening match of the NEWFM Northern League One.
It was one of the veterans who made an impact early on – a speculative Jame Subat cross from out wide in the first minute went wayward and floated into the Cessnock net to give Thornton the early advantage.
Keen to peg the Redbacks back straight away, Cessnock wasted no time – new face Max Wallington got on the end of some scrappy play in the Thornton box and the Hornets were level in the fifth minute.
The Redbacks would eventually make it two courtesy of captain Nathan McAllister in the 30th minute, his shot from the edge of the area hit the underside of the crossbar, and was adjudged by the officials to have crossed the line and make the score 2-1.
McAllister picked up his second soon after, a Patrick Wand through ball splitting the Cessnock defence and taking the score to 3-1 at halftime.
The heat had begun to take its toll as the second half begun as both sides slowed. The Hornets had a golden opportunity in the 79th minute via Travis McCabe, who fired over the bar with only the keeper to beat.
McAllister grabbed his hat-trick after when he found himself space and managed to chip keeper Matt Zechel to make it 4-1 in the 89th minute.
In the 92nd minute, some tired defending allowed Jesse Smith to again chip Zechel from 20 yards out and made it 5-1 at full time.
Thornton coach Darrel McAllister was pleased with the big win.
“We’ve got a lot to do, but we scored some good goals.
“The score might have flattered us a little bit… We’ve added some senior players to the group and we wanted to use that.
“For us, it’s making sure we’re smart and making the right decisions, we got a few areas wrong and we invited them a few times.”
Cessnock coach Lino Gatti refused to criticise his men despite a heavy defeat.
“We did very well in the first 20-25 minutes and conceded some soft goals.
“We did okay, for our first home game of the season…I’m feeling pretty positive.
“All these boys deserve another kick in first grade, that’s for sure.”
Cessnock will be looking to redeem themselves at home next weekend against Singleton, while Thornton are away to the newly promoted New Lambton.
Wallsend FC 2 (Hinchliffe 55’, Olivares 73’) defeated by South Cardiff FC 3 (Cowling 13’ & 89’, Runge 82’)
Sunday 12th March, 2:30 pm
Wallsend hosted the Gunners in their first round clash with last year’s champions aiming to get their season off to a good start in the first edition of this year’s Gallagher Shield.
The much fancied Wallsend had their share of the chances in the opening stanza but would go into the sheds down 1-0 after South Cardiff took the lead in the first half. A scrap in the 18-yard box after a corner fell nicely to Southy’s Brett Cowling, made no mistake from up close.
The half time break did the Gunners no favours, they were sluggish coming out of the sheds and the Red Devils took full advantage. Matt Williams won a penalty after being chopped down in the box, and Mal Hinchliffe made no mistake from the spot bringing the score 1-1.
Substitute Johnathon Olivares pinched a goal to make it 2-1 to Wallsend taking the Red Devils into the lead for the first time in the match.
South Cardiff charged up the other end and won a penalty against the run of play. Troy Runge won the penalty – and made no mistake in converting to take Southy level.
Wallsend were on the defensive now, but another foul was to be their downfall. A South Cardiff free kick from out wide found its way through the Wallsend defence and fell to Cowling at the back post who made no mistake in scoring his second and giving South Cardiff the lead.
South Cardiff player-coach Denis Fajkovic said he was pleased with his side’s performance against a much fancied Wallsend side.
“Our aim today was to go there and press them, and we went out and got an early goal, pressed hard and they (Wallsend) struggled.
“I think we deserved the three points today, I think it’s a fair result because we did have a bit of a lapse in the second half.
“We have got a new team and a young team, so we’ve got something we can work on and build from.
“I’m just happy we got the three points.”
Wallsend coach Chris Gallagher was left to rue the one that got away.
“We’ve just got to keep working on what we’ve been working on, there’s still plenty of belief in the team.
“We just got to focus on the little things… choosing when to play it and when to put your foot through it.
“Sit down and get the boys refocused for next week because now they’re coming thick and fast.”
Wallsend welcome last season’s Grand Final rivals Belswans in next weekend’s Match of the Round, while South Cardiff has the bye.
Toronto Awaba 0 defeated by Cooks Hill United 5 (Russell 3’, Ashton x2, Ramspott x2)
Lyall Peacock Oval
Sunday 12th March, 2:30 pm
A young, fresh, and local Toronto side hosted Cooks Hill in their first match of the season and would have been aiming to get off to a good start against a side tipped to go all the way in 2017.
It wasn’t to be, however, as Graham Law’s new look outfit ran riot at Lyall Peacock Oval. Youngster Sam Cresswell was up against it in goals for the Stags and it only took three minutes for Cooks Hill to strike – former Maitland man Nick Russell putting his side ahead with a nice goal from a free kick.
Toronto threatened, mostly via set pieces. The closest they come was a volley that deflected off the post as the Stags endeavoured to frustrate Cooks Hill by sitting men behind the ball. Russell’s goal was the only goal in the first half, and it had the Cooks up 1-0 at halftime.
Struggling to find a way through the solid Toronto defence, Law instructed his men to play it more direct – and it was two new signings that turned on the style for Cooks Hill late into the second half.
Former German third division Jonas Ramspott and former Weston man Lee Ashton got two goals each to take the score to 5-0 at full time.
Cooks Hill coach Graham Law was pleased with his side’s big win.
“We are nowhere near match fitness, but we got an early goal and had one or two scares in the first half.
“Other than that it was just us working out at breaking them down… At half time we spoke about being more direct and trying to wear them out.
“We looked like scoring every time we went forward in the last twenty minutes, but credit to Toronto, we didn’t know what to expect.
“Good first hit out, good to win a game 5-0 and know we’ve got plenty more in the tank.”
Toronto will face Kahibah at home next weekend, while Cooks Hill is at home to West Wallsend.
Kahibah had the bye