Match of the Round
Kahibah 1-0 Cessnock City
A second half goal from Rhys Tippett has helped Kahibah climb into the NEWFM Northern League One top five as the Rams secured a 1-0 win over Cessnock City on Saturday.
The Hornets travelled to Kahibah Oval knowing they needed to win to maintain their position in the finals places, while the hosts saw an opportunity to climb back into finals contention as the regular season approaches its climax.
The sides played out a goalless first half before 2019 NEWFM Northern League One player of the year Tippett broke the deadline just before the hour mark.
The former Broadmeadow Magic striker lashed home a volley to give Kahibah the lead, one they would not relinquish as the Rams went on to secure the three points.
The win saw Kahibah move to fifth, with Cessnock dropping out of the finals places to sixth.
The Hornets will turn their attention to their rescheduled round eight clash with Cooks Hill United at Turner Park on Wednesday night before traveling to Howe Park to face top of the table Singleton on Saturday.
Kahibah host West Wallsend at Kahibah Oval on Saturday in an important match for both teams’ finals hopes.
Singleton 1-0 Thornton
Singleton have climbed to the top of the NEWFM Northern League One table with a 1-0 victory over Thornton on Saturday.
Defensive midfielder Lachlan Nicol popped up to head home a Hayden Nicol corner midway through the second half to secure the three points and send the Strikers to the summit with four rounds remaining.
It was another brave effort from Singleton who have lost Jackson Cox for the rest of the season with a broken foot, while fellow first team regulars Ben Henry (work commitments) and Joseph Civello (hamstring) were also unavailable.
With leaders Belmont Swansea United out of action thanks to the round 11 bye, Singleton knew they had an opportunity to put themselves in a strong position to secure a fairy-tale premiership, their first in recent memory.
Singleton coach Brendan Slade said he was delighted with his side’s effort but reiterated the job was far from done.
“It’s amazing. The boys have been really good. I think they’re starting to see it now that we can get that premiership,” Slade said.
“A couple of weeks ago I suggested it at training and got a couple of giggles and laughs. But I said to them we were only a few points away. If we kept playing consistently it could come. We’ve just got to hang on to it now.
“The first thing we wanted to do at the start of the year was play in the finals. Singleton haven’t played in the finals in 28 years. So the players have been fantastic. The committee are really good, they just let me do my job, no one gets in the way. It’s a good place to be at the moment.”
It was an even game on Saturday, with both sides missing key players. But it was Singleton’s young guns Marcus Morris and Jack Claire who stepped up, with the former New Lambton NPL youth players drawing plenty of praise from Slade.
“Our goal this year was don’t get too carried away,” Slade said.
“We don’t get too far ahead of ourselves. We’re taking it one game at a time. And I think all the fellas are on the same page.
“No one is talking about we’ve got to win these games to qualify or win this game or in a few weeks. We’re just taking it week by week and it’s working for us.”
The defeat saw Thornton remain in 10th place, with the Redbacks now to enjoy a week off with the round 12 bye before a tough run home.
Singleton will host finals-chasing Cessnock City at Howe Park on Saturday.
New Lambton 4-2 West Wallsend
New Lambton remained in the premiership hunt with an entertaining 4-2 win over West Wallsend on Saturday.
The Eagles trailed 1-0 at half-time at Alder Park but the hosts turned it around in front of their old boys on the club’s annual Eagles Alumni and Sponsors Day.
It was an incredible game, with the Bluebells taking the lead through Tye Jones after New Lambton had hit the post with a penalty.
Both sides were reduced to 10 men thanks to send offs, with New Lambton levelling before West Wallsend regained the lead through a stunning Josh Carroll freekick.
The Eagles fought back to level again before hitting the front, only for West Wallsend to be given the chance to equalise with a penalty of their own after a foul on Jed Conway.
But New Lambton goalkeeper Ryan Fuller saved Carroll’s spot kick to preserve the Eagles’ lead, with New Lambton finally securing the result late on.
The Eagles are second, one point behind Singleton, heading into their clash with in-form Toronto Awaba on Saturday.
West Wallsend are seventh following the defeat, one point outside the top five. The Bluebells travel to Kahibah Oval to face Kahibah on Saturday.
Toronto Awaba 1-0 South Cardiff
Toronto Awaba maintained their premiership challenge with a hard-fought 1-0 win over South Cardiff on Saturday.
The Stags scored the winner midway through the second half at Lyall Peacock Field, with the three points handing them a share of third place with Belmont Swansea United.
Steve Piggott’s men are just two points behind leaders Singleton heading into the final four rounds, with the Stags to take on second-placed New Lambton in another important clash on Saturday.
The defeat all-but confirmed the Gunners will miss out on the finals this season, with South Cardiff ninth on the table with nine points.
South Cardiff host Wallsend on Sunday with the teams to play for the Gallagher Shield.
Wallsend 1-3 Cooks Hill United
Cooks Hill United remained in finals contention with a 3-1 win over Wallsend on Sunday.
Cooks Hill led 1-0 at half-time at The Gardens before going on with the job in the second half.
The win saw eighth-placed Cooks Hill move to 13 points, three points outside the top five.
It will be an important week for United’s finals hopes, with Cooks Hill to turn their attention to their rescheduled round eight clash with Cessnock City on Wednesday night before they travel to Blacksmiths Oval to face Belmont Swansea United on Sunday.
The defeat kept Wallsend in 11th place, with the Red Devils running out of time to avoid a last-placed finish.