Match of the Round
Kahibah 4-0 Wallsend
A Riley Ferguson hat-trick helped Kahibah to a 4-0 victory over Wallsend on Saturday to secure the Rams’ place in the NEWFM Northern League One finals.
Kahibah remained fifth on 23 points with the victory, opening a four-point gap on West Wallsend and Toronto Awaba heading into the final round.
Ferguson opened the scoring after 20 minutes at Kahibah Oval before doubling Kahibah’s lead five minutes before half-time.
He completed his treble 15 minutes from full-time before Kallum Garbett added a fourth late on.
While Kahibah have now secured a finals place, the Rams can finish as high as second if results go their way in the final round.
The defeat condemned Wallsend to a last-placed finish, with the Red Devils left to start planning for 2021.
Wallsend finish their season when they host finals-bound Singleton at The Gardens on Sunday, while Kahibah take on premiership-chasing Cooks Hill United in their final regular season clash.
New Lambton 3-1 Cooks Hill United
New Lambton placed one hand on the NEWFM Northern League One premiership with an impressive 3-1 victory over Cooks Hill United on Saturday.
The win at Alder Park saw the Eagles climb back above Cooks Hill into first place after the penultimate round.
New Lambton hold a two-point lead over a chasing pack that includes Singleton, Belmont Swansea United and Cooks Hill heading into the final day.
The defeat was a disappointing one for Cooks Hill who had put together a superb run of form, winning five games in a row and six of their last seven to force themselves into premiership contention.
The reigning premiers can still win a fourth consecutive premiership but will need to beat Kahibah at the Fearnley Dawes Athletics Field in their final regular season match on Sunday, hope New Lambton are upset by South Cardiff and neither Belmont Swansea or Singleton overturn their goal difference deficit.
Toronto Awaba 1-3 Singleton
Singleton secured finals football for the first time in 16 years with a 3-1 victory over Toronto Awaba on Saturday.
The Strikers made the long journey south to Lyall Peacock Field knowing a win would create their own little slice of history.
And despite trailing 1-0 at half-time, Brendan Slade’s side managed to turn it around with a brave second half performance.
Toronto looked in control early in the second half before Tristan Muir’s goal changed the momentum.
Joel Barner then put the Strikers in front before he added his second and Singleton’s third to seal a memorable three points.
The defeat ended Toronto Awaba’s season, with the Stags four points outside the top five in seventh. Toronto Awaba are now finished for 2020, with the Stags handed the bye in the final round.
Singleton are third on the table heading into the final round, level on points with 2019 grand finalists Cooks Hill United and Belmont Swansea United while also sharing the same goal difference with Cooks Hill.
The Strikers could still be crowned premiers should they beat last-placed Wallsend on Sunday if other results go their way, with Singleton two points behind leaders New Lambton.
Thornton 3-0 Cessnock City
Thornton co-coach Scott Winslade was delighted with his side after they ended Cessnock City’s season with a 3-0 victory over the Hornets on Saturday.
The Redbacks led 2-0 after 15 minutes with striker Kyle Williams opening the scoring with a header before Trent Partridge doubled the advantage when he tapped in a spilt cross.
Thornton dominated much of the match but were forced to wait until the 88th minute before they sealed the result with Jacob Golding played through behind the Cessnock defence.
“To be honest after the first game back from suspension after we lost to Cessnock we saw a comment saying they put us to the sword. That comment stuck with the boys,” Winslade said.
“We only lost 1-0 that day and [Cessnock] only had a couple of shots on target. If we’re going on that scale then this was a complete annihilation.
“We dominated the game from the start. Their goalkeeper did really well to stand up and save a few one on ones. But we got that early lead and they were never really in it.
“The performance was good. We pressed well and kept the ball. They boys were right up for it. Hopefully that gives them the confidence to go and finish the season well.”
Winslade was full of praise for Zane Estatheo and Lewis Hartcher with the youngsters again producing strong performances having come into the team thanks to Thornton’s mounting injury toll.
After losing Ryan Broadley with a broken ankle at the start of the season, Sam Rossi, Pat Wand, Jye Mackellar and Partridge have all been missing through injury of late with Jake Millsteed unavailable due to work commitments.
The absences have placed a strain on the Redbacks’ squad but Winslade was pleased with the way his players had lifted to the challenge.
“Those young guys have really stepped up to the plate. They’ve been playing above their age and experience. They certainly haven’t looked out of place,” Winslade said.
“We’re trying to build something here and when we knew the finals weren’t happening we changed a few little things to get ready for next season.
“We’ve seen some decent results so hopefully we can build on that next year.”
The defeat ended the Hornets’ finals chances, with Cessnock in eighth place on 16 points.
Cessnock host premiership-chasing Belmont Swansea United at Turner Park in their final round match.
The win saw Thornton avoid a last-placed finish, with the Redbacks in 10th place on 10 points heading into their final round clash with West Wallsend at Johnston Park on Sunday.
Belmont Swansea United 2-1 South Cardiff
Belmont Swansea United kept their slim premiership hopes alive with a 2-1 victory over South Cardiff on Sunday.
It was a perfect Old Boys Day at Blacksmiths Oval for the hosts with the win helping BelSwans remain in fourth place, level on points with Cooks Hill United and Singleton and two points behind leaders New Lambton heading into the final round.
The 2019 champions travel to Turner Park for their final match of the regular season against Cessnock City on Sunday, with a win still potentially enough for BelSwans to win the premiership should other results go their way.
The defeat saw South Cardiff remain ninth, with the Gunners to end their season when they host the high-flying Eagles at Ulinga Oval on Sunday.