Match of the Round
Toronto Awaba Stags 1 (Josh Benacquista) def. Cessnock City Hornets 0
Sunday 15 June, Lyall Peacock Field
Round 14 in the NEWFM Northern League One served up some incredible encounters with a few upsets to match.
In the Match of the Round, Toronto Awaba stood tall against Cessnock City to down the Hornets 1-0 to finally claim that elusive home victory.
The Stags hadn’t won at Lyall Peacock Field since Round 19 of the 2017 season but that all changed as Josh Benacquista grabbed the only goal of the game while the Stags defence was resolute in keeping the Hornets at bay to finally celebrate victory on their home turf.
The win is their second success of the season and moves the Stags well clear of the wooden spoon on ten points, but they remain in the tenth spot while Cessnock City slides down to seventh.
A win in this fixture could have moved the Hornets into the top four, but they now join a host of teams sitting on sixteen points and fighting for the coveted finals positions.
The winning side would rejoice their triumph and their second scalp of the season while coach Darrell McAllister said he was glad his team held onto their lead.
“Was good to hold on and win. I was most impressed by the effort that the players put in and that we were able to grind out a win,” McAllister said.
“I’m super happy with the discipline in defence. Things I hope will improve is quality in the top third and also keep the ball under pressure when we’re tired, but it was a great, gritty win.”
Cessnock will be lamenting a missed opportunity and captain Greg Anderson said they need to get back to playing for the full 90 minutes.
“It was a pretty lacklustre performance in the first half which ended up costing us,” Anderson said.
“It’s a tough result, but we are still there with a chance. We just need to play with confidence for the whole game and keep switched on continuously and take our chances when they arise.”
New Lambton Eagles 5 (Joe Melmeth, Lachlan Hodgetts, Riley Taylor, Bradley Andrews, Own Goal) def. West Wallsend 1 (Jarrod Olivieri)
Saturday 15 June, Alder Park
New Lambton has recorded their biggest win of the season and stunned West Wallsend with a devastating 5-1 rout at Alder Park.
The Bluebells scored early through Jarrod Olivieri, but from there it was all one-way traffic as the Eagles ran riot with Joe Melmeth scoring first before Lachlan Hodgetts put the home side in the lead.
The third would come the way of an own goal before the second half began and Riley Taylor and Bradley Andrews would put an exclamation point on a terrific performance and secure a huge victory for New Lambton.
The win moves the Eagles into sixth place on sixteen points, tied with Cessnock and Thornton while they are also level with the Redbacks on goal difference.
As for West Wallsend, the result is a massive hit on their title challenge with Cooks Hill now ten points clear at the top of the league while news also emerged that coach Brendan Slade has parted ways with the club.
West Wallsend has had a flying start to the season, but this result could shake their confidence heading into the big games to come, while former coach Slade said it was his final game at the helm but praised the opposition in defeat.
“I have parted ways with the club, but I’ve got to give Jim Foley and New Lambton all the credit, they were on their game yesterday and gave West Wallsend a real kick in the pants,” Slade said.
“There is a lot of great people at the club, but we had a lack of players showing up to training, the old saying goes, the way you play is the way you train.”
“I wish them all the best.”
As for the victors, the Eagles will be flying after this result, and the win puts them back in the mix for finals football while coach Jim Foley said he was incredibly proud of his players.
“The player’s commitment and character to the task was a great credit to them, and the quality in the front third proved the key to our success,” Foley said.
“I’ll be very pleased to see more of the same in our mid-week rescheduled game against Cooks Hill.”
Singleton Strikers 2 (Zane Hand, Own Goal) def. by Cooks Hill United 3 (Nick Russell, Ashley Balcomb, Marty Raines)
Sunday 16 June, Howe Park
Cooks Hill held off a fast-finishing Singleton to hold onto a huge away win and move ten points clear at the top of the league with a 3-2 victory.
Nick Russell continued his stunning form in front of goal notching his eighth of the campaign while Ash Balcomb and Marty Raines also hit the back of the net.
Zane Hand scored a first-half penalty for the Strikers before an own goal in the dying stages gave the home side a glimmer of hope although Cooks Hill would hold onto their advantage.
With West Wallsend dropping points, the win bolsters the Cookers lead at the top, and it now looks highly probable that the black and white will retain the premiership.
The win was also their tenth of the campaign and moves them to thirty-two points and still remarkably undefeated.
On the other hand, the Strikers still sit in the eighth spot on fourteen points but are only a win away from the top four and will try and back themselves to move up the ladder with games coming up against Wallsend and Kahibah.
Kahibah F.C 2 (Jamie Hadlow x2) def. South Cardiff Gunners 1 (Tom Butzmann)
Sunday 16 June, Kahibah Oval
Kahibah has produced a stellar performance to knock over South Cardiff at home with a 2-1 victory.
Two goals from Jamie Hadlow paved the way for the green and black to produce an upset while Tom Butzmann scored the sole goal for the Gunners.
South Cardiff would have several chances to score but couldn’t produce the same display of weeks prior to eventually be defeated.
The result means Kahibah have done the double over the Gunners this season and also is their third win of the campaign to revive a potential push towards a finals place.
The home side remains in ninth spot on the ladder while coach Andre Gumprecht said his players executed an excellent performance against a top-four side.
“It was a great result, it was a mixture of great enthusiasm to work hard when we didn’t have the ball and a portion of luck we thoroughly deserved when South Cardiff didn’t take their chances,” Gumprecht said.
“We’re not frustrated at all (about our ladder position), we know that our young team will give us everything we ask for but struggle at times for consistency. It’s a long-term process to establish what goes on beyond this season, giving players time to gain experience and confidence.
“The team delivered the game plan when we didn’t have the ball and gained the confidence to score two goals when we had the ball. If we continue this approach to understand that working hard and defending comes first and everything else comes second, we may surprise.”
South Cardiff have now suffered two straight losses and will want to rectify their performances quickly with Thornton, Cessnock and New Lambton hot on their tails.
Captain-Coach, Denis Fajkovic said he was disappointed in another missed opportunity.
“We definitely created enough chances to win the game, even two, but in the end, two shots and they score both. Football can be a funny game,” Fajkovic said.
“Kahibah did well to break our fluidity and the game was scrappy at times, they battle well and we just weren’t clinical enough.”
The Gunners remain in the top four with seventeen points and have a massive clash next round against Belswans.
Wallsend F.C 1 (Wez Pryce) def. by Belmont Swansea United 3 (Matt Ellis x2, Reece Newton)
Sunday 16 June, The Gardens
Belswans have returned to the winner’s circle with a comfortable 3-1 win over Wallsend at the Gardens.
Youngster Matt Ellis showed his quality and scored twice for the away side while Reece Newton also bagged himself a goal in the victory.
Wez Pryce was again one of Wallsend’s best and would grab a goal, but it wasn’t to be for the Red Devils who would go down to ten men when Jackson Couper received his marching orders for a challenge in the box.
The result is Wallsend’s eighth loss of the campaign, and they now sit five points away from Toronto.
Belswans also gave new addition Luke Conners his first game against his former club and are also expected to announce striker Ty Goldsmith as their latest signing, bolstering their attack for the run-in and their chase for back-to-back championships.
The win also moved the defending premiers back into second spot, and coach Mick Stafford was jubilant with his sides display while missing a few key players.
“It was a very important three points, we had seven first-team players out and I called on the young boys again and was pleased with their efforts, and they added a bit of X-factor, Colin (Thompson), Matty (Ellis) and Houston (Price) where the difference in the end,” Stafford said.
“It wasn’t a great performance, the pitch made it extremely difficult, but we still created enough and had territorial dominance for the majority of the match.
“I don’t look at the table much, take it one game at a time and build and develop our group, we have a few boys coming back in next week, plus some new signings which I hope makes us stronger in the attacking third.”