Match of the Round
West Wallsend v South Cardiff
Johnston Park, Sunday 2.30pm
West Wallsend will look to consolidate their place in the top five when they host South Cardiff in the Match of the Round on Sunday.
The Bluebells slipped to sixth with a 1-1 draw with Cessnock City at Turner Park on Wednesday night. It was a spirited result for West Wallsend though, who were coming off a deflating 3-2 defeat to Cooks Hill United on Saturday having led 2-0 at half-time.
But with teams in an ever-growing chasing pack closing in, West Wallsend will need to beat South Cardiff if they are to wrestle back a finals place as the competition enters the final stretch of the regular season.
Meanwhile the Gunners will arrive at Johnston Park knowing a victory would take them above the Bluebells and potentially to the edge of the top five if other results go their way.
South Cardiff have lacked consistency this season. They fell to ninth on the NEWFM Northern League One table with their 3-1 defeat to Cessnock on Sunday.
But given the congestion in the middle of the table, a couple of positive back to back results could have South Cardiff in the mix to play finals football.
Toronto Awaba v Cooks Hill United
Lyall Peacock Field, Saturday 3pm
Cooks Hill United will look to keep their finals charge on track when they travel to Lyall Peacock Field to face Toronto Awaba on Saturday.
Cooks Hill are sixth on the table but have matches in hand on the teams around them. They have an arduous schedule with four games in nine days starting with the clash against the Stags.
While it may be a tough run for Doug West’s side, consecutive wins would have the 2019 premiers in a strong position heading into the finals after a difficult start to the campaign.
Toronto Awaba meanwhile will be eyeing off a finals place of their own.
The Stags climbed to fifth with a 5-3 win over Thornton on Wednesday night to make it two wins in four days following their 4-2 victory over Wallsend on Sunday.
It is a hugely important match for Toronto Awaba. A win would put the Stags six points clear of Cooks Hill, meaning Cooks Hill would have to win their matches in hand to catch them.
But a defeat would see Cooks Hill overtake Toronto Awaba on goal difference while still to play their rescheduled fixtures, leaving the Stags an uphill battle to play finals football.
Thornton v Kahibah
Thornton Oval, Saturday 3.30pm
Thornton saw their feint finals hopes all but dashed midweek but the Redbacks will be keen to claim another scalp when they host Kahibah on Saturday.
Thornton went down 5-3 to Toronto Awaba on Wednesday night to leave them on seven points, six points outside the top five with teams above them holding matches in hand.
The loss snapped a three-game unbeaten run for the Redbacks, particularly disappointing following their draw with top of the table New Lambton on Saturday, with co-coach Scott Winslade now looking ahead to the clash with Kahibah.
“We were very much saying last week if we get a good result [against New Lambton] it would set us up for the next few games,” Winslade said.
“We wanted to get probably 12 out of 15 points including [against New Lambton] as a goal. I fully believe we can still push up into the finals area. Everyone seams to be getting results off everyone else so it is really congested in the middle [of the table].
“With how close this season is it could go down to goal difference.”
Kahibah meanwhile are coming off the round nine bye and will look to piece together back to back wins to keep their own finals challenge alive.
Following their round 10 clash with Thornton, Kahibah face a tough midweek trip to Singleton to play their rescheduled round eight fixture on Wednesday night.
Kahibah will likely need to win both matches to keep the pressure on the teams around them.
Wallsend v Belmont Swansea United
The Gardens, Sunday 2.30pm
Belmont Swansea United will look to keep the pressure on New Lambton in the battle for the premiership when they travel to The Gardens to face Wallsend on Sunday.
BelSwans missed their chance to climb into the outright lead when they were held to a 1-1 draw with Singleton last weekend.
But a BelSwans win over struggling Wallsend would leave the Eagles needing to arrest their own dip in form.
After being held to a 0-0 draw by Thornton last weekend, New Lambton fell 2-1 to Singleton in their rescheduled round seven clash on Wednesday night.
A win would have put the Eagles three points clear at the top of the table and, with a vastly superior goal difference, in a strong head to head position against BelSwans.
But New Lambton’s surprise to defeat to Brendan Slade’s side will give BelSwans the motivation to keep up their chase for the premiership.
Meanwhile Wallsend will look to secure just their second win of the season as they attempt to escape the bottom of the table.
The Red Devils fell to another defeat against Toronto Awaba last weekend but will be desperate to cause an upset against BelSwans if they are to regain touch with the teams above them.
Cessnock City v New Lambton
Turner Park, Sunday 2.30pm
Cessnock City will look to continue New Lambton’s blip in form when they meet at Turner Park on Sunday.
The Hornets will smell blood after New Lambton, who appeared well clear at the top of the table a week ago, were held to a draw by Thornton before falling to Singleton in their rescheduled round seven fixture on Wednesday night.
That has put the pressure back on the Eagles in their battle for the premiership with Belmont Swansea United.
Cessnock were held to a 1-1 draw by West Wallsend on Wednesday night but will not have ruled themselves out of premiership contention, with a win on Sunday enough for the Hornets to draw level with the Eagles on points.
New Lambton coach Tom Davies will be keen for his side to find their winning touch quickly as the regular season approaches its climax.