Match of the Round
Kahibah 4-2 Toronto Awaba
Kahibah took a giant step towards playing finals football with an impressive 4-2 win over Toronto Awaba at Kahibah Oval on Saturday.
The loss was the Stags’ second in a row and saw them slip out of the top five to seventh, with Kahibah climbing above them into fifth with two rounds to play.
But Toronto only have one more chance to accrue points, with the Stags handed a bye in the final round.
Will Cinello gave the visitors the lead after two minutes only for Rhys Tippett to equalise for Kahibah on 25 minutes.
Riley Ferguson put the Rams in front five minutes before half-time, with Jamie Hadlow doubling the advantage 10 minutes into the second half.
Tippett put the result beyond doubt with his second 17 minutes from full-time, with Nick Cowburn notching a consolation for the Stags shortly after.
Kahibah will look to consolidate their finals place when they host bottom of the table Wallsend in the penultimate round on Saturday.
Toronto Awaba welcome Singleton to Lyall Peacock Field on Saturday knowing a win will be essential to give them a chance of keeping their season alive.
New Lambton 1-1 Wallsend
New Lambton surrendered top spot on the NEWFM Northern League One table after being held to a 1-1 draw by bottom of the table Wallsend on Saturday.
The Eagles went into the match looking to consolidate their place at the summit against the struggling Red Devils but found themselves trailing at half-time at Alder Park.
But a second half equaliser saw New Lambton earn a share of the points and deny Wallsend what would have been just their second win of the season.
The draw saw the Eagles slip to second place behind a resurgent Cooks Hill United who New Lambton host in the penultimate round on Saturday.
Wallsend remain in last place despite picking up an impressive point, with the Red Devils to turn their attention to another tough away day when they take on Kahibah on Saturday.
Singleton 0-2 West Wallsend
West Wallsend put a dent in Singleton’s premiership charge with an impressive 2-0 win at Howe Park on Saturday.
The Bluebells spoiled Singleton’s Old Boys Day with a battling performance to keep their season alive.
West Wallsend took the lead just before half-time after a Mitch Kramer run into the box eventually saw the ball fall to Bailey Jensen, whose deflected effort found the back of the net.
The Bluebells made sure of the result in the second half when striker Josh Carroll was played through on goal, with his chip over the Singleton goalkeeper and headed finish enough to secure a potentially vital three points.
It was also an impressive defensive performance from the visitors, with goalkeeper Blake Redman and central defender Josh Knight among West Wallsend’s best.
The victory saw West Wallsend climb to sixth, one point outside the top five with two rounds remaining.
But the Bluebells will still require other results going their way to make the finals, with West Wallsend handed the round 14 bye and unable to accrue points this weekend.
Singleton slipped to third with the defeat, with the Strikers three points behind new leaders Cooks Hill United.
Singleton will now turn their attention to an important trip to Lyall Peacock Field to take on a desperate Toronto Awaba on Saturday.
Thornton 1-3 Belmont Swansea United
Belmont Swansea United coach Mick Stafford labelled his side’s performance as their best of the season so far as BelSwans overcame Thornton 3-1 on Saturday.
BelSwans travelled to Thornton Park knowing they were under pressure to maintain their place in the top five thanks to the congested NEWFM Northern League One table.
But the 2019 champions showed their class as they took the lead through a Mark Finlayson header from a Chris Gazzard corner.
A defensive error from a free kick allowed the hosts to equalise before BelSwans regained their lead five minutes before half-time.
Young striker Joel Nicholson worked his way into the penalty area before being fouled, with Finlayson stepping up to notch his second from the penalty spot.
The visitors made sure of the result midway through the second half when Matt Ellis celebrated his 100th game for BelSwans in all grades in fine style by adding a third goal.
“It was a good result and good to get some points up there. It was probably our best performance of the season for 70 minutes football wise. Especially the first half,” Stafford said.
“The boys were quite happy with the result. Again we couldn’t finish our chances but there is a bit of a buzz about how we’re playing finally. If we can start converting our chances even more that’s sort of the aim.
“Overall it was a good team performance but Clayton Poole was great. Mark Finlayson and young Matty Ellis as well, Joel Nicholson played really well and worked really hard.
“We pushed [Ellis] up higher in the second half with [Poole] dropped back from the No.10. Our goals are coming from fullback at the moment which is good in a way.
“We want to finish as high as we can. At the end of the day we’ll deal with whatever we get as we always have. We just want to get [to the finals]. It doesn’t matter how and we can’t worry about what happens when we get there yet.”
Belmont Swansea host South Cardiff in their round 14 clash on Sunday, while Thornton take on Cessnock City on Saturday.
South Cardiff 1-3 Cooks Hill United
Cooks Hill United stormed to the top of the NEWFM Northern League One table with a 3-1 win over South Cardiff on Sunday.
The victory was Cooks Hill’s fifth in a row and sixth in their last seven matches.
Two months ago the 2019 premiers’ only goal was to sneak into the finals. Now, Cooks Hill are on course to secure their fourth premiership in a row.
It was a disappointing afternoon at Ulinga Oval for South Cardiff, with the Gunners also reduced to nine men.
Cooks Hill took an early lead when Sam Marr was brought down just outside the penalty area, with a South Cardiff central defender sent off for the challenge.
Nick Russell doubled the pain for the hosts as he scored from the resulting free kick.
But the Gunners refused to lie down, with South Cardiff scoring a beautifully worked equaliser shortly after.
Cooks Hill regained the lead when Jamie Subat gave away a free kick for a foul on Marr near the corner flag, with Russell’s floated ball sailing over the South Cardiff goalkeeper and into the net.
Subat was then shown a second yellow card for another foul on Marr early in the second half, reducing South Cardiff to nine men.
And the reigning premiers took advantage, with Tyler Curran adjudged to have been fouled in a congested penalty area. Russell stepped up to make sure of the three points and complete his hat-trick.
“It was probably a result that was built on the consistency and focus of the last few weeks. It was great to continue that run and roll on into the pointy end of the season,” Cooks Hill coach Doug West said.
“[Our run of form] has been super impressive and we’re showing we do have depth and we’ve been able to rely on some fresh legs during that busy calendar. To hang onto so many points has been very impressive.
“Six or seven weeks ago the discussion was about sneaking into the top five. With our run of form we’ve really applied ourselves mentally and we’ve used 16 or 17 players in first grade.
“That culture of consistency also comes into play and now we find ourselves sitting top with a couple of weeks to go after New Lambton had a slip up on the weekend.”
The premiership race is likely to come down to Saturday’s clash between the pair, with New Lambton to host Cooks Hill in the penultimate round at Alder Park.
South Cardiff travel to Blacksmiths Oval to face Belmont Swansea United on Sunday.