Match of the Round
Toronto Awaba Stags (10th) vs Cessnock City Hornets (6th)
Sunday 16 June, 2:45 pm, Lyall Peacock Field
The NEWFM Northern League One is back in action this weekend, with all 11 teams looking rejuvenated ahead of a highly anticipated back end of the season the Match of the Round will feature a big clash between Toronto-Awaba and Cessnock City.
The Stags haven’t registered a win since their breakthrough victory against Belswans earlier this season and haven’t picked up the three points at Lyall Peacock Field since the back end of their 2017 campaign.
Toronto will be looking to reverse the trend but will be coming up against a determined Hornets outfit, who will be looking to consolidate on their strong ladder position of sixth and apply pressure on the teams above.
The two clubs met earlier in 2019 with the result finishing 2-2 where the Hornets overcame a two-goal deficit to earn a point in the dying stages when Jayden Ziernik scored in the 90th minute.
Cessnock’s latest outing was a hard-fought 1-1 draw with Singleton while Toronto haven’t played since their 4-1 loss to the Strikers.
The Stags are sitting in tenth spot, but a few wins on the trot could revive their semi-final hopes and coach Darrel McAllister says his side is looking forward to returning to the park.
“The squad is looking okay. There’s a few about to return from injuries in the next week or so and yes, we’re always looking to climb the ladder,” McAllister said.
“Cessnock is a good side and hard to play, but we have good enough players to get a result if we turn up to play and make good decisions in key moments.
“We want to win as many games as we can and finish as high up the ladder as we can. There are a few good young blokes at the club which have already got first-grade time and we will continue to look at giving players a chance in the top grade.”
Cessnock know these are the games they need to win in order to be playing semi-finals football and captain, Greg Anderson, says his side is up for the task against a good Stags side.
“Toronto has some quality players and shouldn’t really be where they are in my opinion, so we shouldn’t take the game any different. We have a game plan and we’ll try and execute that to take the points,” Anderson said.
“The squad is looking good after the week off. It has let some little injuries heal and training has been sharp so the motivation should be right back where it should be and where it needs to.
“Simply, there’s eight games left for us to see how close we can get to finals football, but we are enjoying football at the moment which is bringing us results.”
New Lambton Eagles (8th) vs West Wallsend (2nd)
Saturday 15 June, 4:30 pm, Alder Park
Round 14 will kick off with New Lambton and West Wallsend locking horns at Alder Park in a prominent fixture for both teams.
The side sitting in second place haven’t been beaten since their Round 6 loss to Cooks Hill and are marching towards the semi-finals.
However, the Bluebells did concede defeat last time out against the Eagles in one of the games of the season in Round 3 with New Lambton winning 4-3.
West Wallsend’s last outing was a hard-fought nil-all draw against Belswans while the Eagles went down 2-1 to Cessnock.
The Eagles dropped to eighth after Singleton’s mid-week victory, and coach Jim Foley knows they need to start registering maximum points beginning this weekend.
“Westy is always a difficult side to play, but our focus must be on how well we can execute our game plan,” Foley said.
“I’m not in favour of interruptions in the continuity of games, but these matters are out of our control so we’ll deal with it as best we can.”
The Bluebells will want to keep winning to keep Cooks Hill in their sights while coach Brendan Slade is wary of New Lambton’s ability.
“They beat us 4-3 at home last time, but I think we missed a penalty that day. I’m surprised they’re not higher on the table with the players they have,” Slade said.
“We have had a good break, some players needed a good rest, but it’s all engines go now and as a club, we want to keep winning and play finals football.
“We will be reminding our players to stay focused on the job and put the effort in to get the rewards. I’m still without Tye Jones for three games through suspension which is a huge loss, but it opens up the door for another player to step up and show us all the great depth West Wallsend has.”
Singleton Strikers (7th) vs Cooks Hill United (1st)
Sunday 16 June, 2:30 pm, Howe Park
Round 14 continues with an interesting match-up as Cooks Hill travel to play an in-form Singleton outfit at Howe Park.
The Strikers have turned a corner in recent weeks with two wins and a draw to revive their finals aspirations including a 2-1 win over Thornton mid-week to set up a big clash against the competition frontrunners.
Singleton now sit in seventh on 14 points and are only three points away from a finals position, but Cooks Hill will test where they are at.
The match looms as one of those danger-games for the Cookers, however, they will be looking to continue their unbeaten season and know they need another five wins to assure another premiership.
Cooks Hill only narrowly beat the Strikers 2-1 at home earlier in the season after Singleton led during the game and could be confronted by the likely cold conditions in Singleton.
Kahibah F.C (9th) vs South Cardiff Gunners (4th)
Sunday 16 June, 2:30 pm, Kahibah Oval
Kahibah will host South Cardiff at Kahibah Oval in another exciting Round 14 match-up.
The green and black have slipped to ninth on the table and can’t afford to drop another three points although they’ll be up against it in taking on South Cardiff who sit in fourth spot.
However, the Gunners suffered a setback last week against Thornton going down 1-0 and blew a chance to move higher up the table and will be desperate to atone for that result this weekend.
Kahibah will be motivated by the last time they played the Gunners winning 3-1 back in Round 3 with Rhys Tippett notching a double on that occasion, however, the two sides have gone on two different trajectories since that result.
South Cardiff set high expectations for themselves, and captain-coach Denis Fajkovic says the side will be looking to bounce back this weekend.
“The race is definitely heating up and points lost at this stage of the season could be detrimental,” Fajkovic said.
“It was a tough, cold night against Thornton. Sometimes games go like that as we had a goal disallowed early on for offside and if that had stood, I think we have a comfortable night, but credit to Thornton for a gutsy performance and they got the job done.
“Kahibah gave us a bit of a wake-up call early on, we have come a long way since then and are looking to prove that on the weekend.”
Wallsend F.C (11th) vs Belmont Swansea United (3rd)
Sunday 16 June, 2:30 pm, The Gardens
Two sides at the opposite ends of the table will do battle in Round 14 with Wallsend coming up against Belswans at the Gardens.
The Red Devils’ season has been disappointing and appear now to be playing for pride, with only five points to their name and sitting in last.
Belswans have had a couple of weeks off to rejuvenate the squad ahead of their run in towards a potential finals berth and will be desperate to regain some form this weekend.
4-1 was the result the last time these two played in favour of the defending champions and the away side will go in as favourites again while Wallsend will look to seasons prior as a motivator when they knocked over Belswans in the Grand Final of 2016.
With so many teams sitting around the top four, Belswans coach Mick Stafford is aware of the significance of the fixture.
“It’s a very important fixture for us. Wallsend away is a tough challenge for the boys, but we have been working hard as a group and the boys realise the importance of the game,” Stafford said.
“A few boys enjoyed the break to recover from niggles, while others pushed their cases for selection. We organised trials against Maitland and Edgeworth, so we didn’t go stale in the break.”