Match of the Round
Belmont Swansea United 0-1 Cooks Hill United
Cooks Hill United coach Doug West was delighted with the resolve shown by his side as the 2019 premiers overcame Belmont Swansea United 1-0 on Sunday.
Young striker Sam Marr headed home the winner midway through the first half at Blacksmiths Oval after good lead up work from Daniel Johnson and Ash Balcomb.
The hosts were denied a strong claim for a penalty in the second half, with Cooks Hill weathering a BelSwans storm in the final 20 minutes to hold on and secure the three points.
The match was Cooks Hill’s fifth in two weeks, with their impressive run of form seeing them become an outside chance to secure another premiership.
“I think the game itself, probably the surface wasn’t conducive to quality football and the game turned into a bit of a dogfight,” West said.
“It probably favoured BelSwans in that regard but both teams had plenty of chances. It was pretty even in terms of scoring opportunities.
“The bigger thing for us as a coaching group and playing squad was that BelSwans looked a bit fresher and sharper than us [coming off the bye] from start to finish.
“I think the load of five games in two weeks has been quite taxing and we showed we were exhausted the last 20 minutes. To hang on was a great show of character.”
West paid tribute to 20-year-old striker Marr and captain Johnson, who returned from a head clash in the second half to lead his side to another valuable three points.
“Dan missed six or seven minutes getting bandaged up but he was outstanding for us,” West said.
“Along with Dan Clements and Alex Gillespie at the back there were probably our best.
“If there’s one game that these clubs get up for each year it’s this one. It’s a really healthy, competitive rivalry. To go down to BelSwans and take three points after beating them 4-0 in the first round at home with a really strong performance is a real positive for us heading into the final stretch of the season.”
The win saw Cooks Hill climb to third, four points behind leaders New Lambton with three rounds to play, with the clubs to meet in the penultimate round.
The defeat saw BelSwans slip to fourth, with BelSwans to turn their attention to their away clash with Thornton next weekend.
Cooks Hill travel to Ulinga Oval to face South Cardiff on Sunday.
New Lambton 4-1 Toronto Awaba
New Lambton stormed back to the top of the NEWFM Northern League One table with an impressive 4-1 win over Toronto Awaba.
The Stags arrived at Alder Park on Saturday having won five matches in a row to storm into premiership contention, with new signings Rob Macbeth and Nick Cowburn adding plenty to Toronto Awaba’s side.
And the visitors looked as though they might continue on their strong run when they took an early lead from a corner.
But New Lambton battled back, with Riley Taylor levelling the scores from the penalty spot after centre back Corey Nicholas was fouled following a surging run.
The Eagles took a 2-1 lead to half-time when Chase Lattimore scored his first of the afternoon, with his second after the break putting New Lambton 3-1 in front.
Luke Jovcevski added a fourth to secure the three points and, with Singleton being held to a draw at home against Cessnock City, send New Lambton back to the top of the table.
New Lambton coach Tom Davies was pleased with the performance from his side who showed strong character to come back from conceding an early goal.
“It was really good. Especially to come from a goal down. That’s two weeks in a row we’ve conceded early and come back [to win] which is really good,” Davies said.
“The most pleasing thing was that we continued to play even after we went 1-0 down. That has been a bit of a theme for us. We’ve been harping on about it, playing out through the middle third and trying to create goalscoring opportunities by playing our style of play.
“So it’s a really big positive that the boys are starting to take those chances.”
Davies reserved special praise for Lattimore who has been a hit since his arrival at the club.
“Chase scored two and that was really good for him. He’s really stepped up since he came to the club,” Davies said.
“He had some injuries to start with but he’s handled the transition to Northern League One really well after coming from playing with Kotara in the Zone Premier League the last couple of years. He scored lots of goals for them, we’d been trying to get him for a while.
“He scored a few in [reserve grade] and he was really good out on the left wing.
“[Jovcevski] up front did really well also. Across the board the boys played really well in terms of trying to keep the ball and Jackson O’Sullivan was excellent in the middle of the park, nullifying a couple of their key players.
“Overall it was a really good team performance.”
While New Lambton climbed back to the top of the table with the win, the defeat saw Toronto Awaba slip to fifth.
The Stags will put their finals hopes on the line next week when they travel to Kahibah Oval to face sixth-placed Kahibah.
New Lambton host struggling Wallsend on Saturday.
Singleton 0-0 Cessnock City
Singleton slipped from top spot on the NEWFM Northern League One table after being held to a goalless draw by Cessnock City on Saturday.
New Lambton’s win over Toronto Awaba was enough for the Eagles to climb above the Strikers into first, with Singleton second with three rounds to play.
The draw all but ended Cessnock’s finals hopes, with the Hornets eighth on 16 points, three points outside the top five. But Cessnock have the round 13 bye, leaving them unable to accrue points this weekend.
Singleton will welcome West Wallsend to Howe Park on Saturday as they look to maintain the pressure on New Lambton in the premiership race.
Kahibah 2-2 West Wallsend
Kahibah and West Wallsend missed the opportunity to close the gap on fifth-placed Toronto Awaba after they played out an entertaining 2-2 draw at Kahibah Oval on Saturday.
Jasper Sambrook gave the hosts the lead in first half stoppage time before Wesley Price equalised for the Bluebells midway through the second half.
Rhys Tippett looked to have won the game for Kahibah when he bundled the ball home with eight minutes to play only for Jed Conway to equalise for West Wallsend two minutes later.
The result leaves the Rams in sixth place, two points behind Toronto Awaba who they play next weekend.
West Wallsend are a further point back, with the Bluebells to travel to Howe Park to take on Singleton in round 13.
South Cardiff 4-0 Wallsend
South Cardiff retained the Gallagher Shield with a 4-0 win over Wallsend on Sunday.
The Gunners took an early lead through Jack Halverson with Nathan McAllister adding a second shortly after.
Riley Holohan made it 3-0 after half-time before Jack Harrison completed the rout.
South Cardiff remain ninth despite the victory, with the Red Devils remaining in last place.
The Gunners host Cooks Hill United next weekend, with Wallsend to travel to Alder Park to take on leaders New Lambton.