Match of the Round
Belmont Swansea United 2 (David Swain, Ty Goldsmith) drew with South Cardiff Gunners 2 (Sam Ford, Tom Butzmann)
Sunday 23 June, Blacksmiths Oval
Belmont Swansea and South Cardiff played out one of the games of the season to highlight Women in Football Round as part of rebel Female Football Week with clubs across the league paying tribute to all the amazing women in the game.
Two sides entrenched in a top-four battle would collide with the fixture billed as a must-win for both teams as they soon kicked off in torrential rain at Blacksmiths Oval.
The game, however, began at a high-pace with both teams looking to counter-attack while battling for possession in midfield.
Ty Goldsmith was making his debut for Belswans, and he was the one who was causing problems for the South Cardiff defence and linking up well with Clayton Poole.
Poole would soon swing in a delightful corner for David Swain to nod home for the opening goal from close range and put the home side in the lead.
Goldsmith would soon double Belswans’ lead with a stunning free-kick that curled into the top right corner to notch his first in the yellow and green colours.
The defending champions were in the ascendancy with their two-goal advantage before the game would change when Belswans midfielder Chris Gazzard received a straight red card on the stroke of half-time.
After the break, South Cardiff hit the ground running with several chances and balls into the area with Denis Fajkovic hitting the crossbar while Tom Butzmann also went close.
Sam Ford would peg back the difference with a well-deserved goal and his eighth of the season to put the score at 2-1.
South Cardiff’s unrelenting pressure would pay off with Butzmann levelling the scores after a goal-line scramble.
However, the match would soon come to an early conclusion with the referees deeming the field unsafe for play to continue with twelve minutes left in the game and the two sides leaving the ground with a point.
The result sees South Cardiff drop to sixth place but will have a chance to climb the ladder when they take on Toronto Awaba midweek while Belswans dropped to third but are four points above fourth place and will take on rivals, Kahibah next round.
Belswans coach Mick Stafford said he was proud of his players to battle on with ten-men in tough conditions.
“We were playing some great football up until the send-off, we were dominating the middle, but we had to dig in and grind it out again while the conditions were terrible, I’m proud of the boys though, they play the game in the right spirit and represent the club well every week,” Stafford said.
“A draw is fine, especially with the conditions and how the game turned out, the boys have so much potential this year and into the future while Ty and Luke showed their qualities and the club is stoked to have them on board.”
South Cardiff would have been pleased to have turned around a two-goal deficit and save a point while captain-coach Denis Fajkovic said the team showed great fighting spirit.
“Usually when you go two down, the belief goes but, to be honest, we knew that we just needed one and it was game on so I was happy to see us get the two goals,” Fajkovic said.
“Our attack is dangerous, it’s the foundation of the team, and when we support them, we are clinical.
“Onto Toronto now to try and get back into the mix.”
Singleton Strikers 0 def. by West Wallsend 2 (Brendan Frost, Jarrod Olivieri)
Saturday 22 June, Howe Park
West Wallsend has responded from a tumultuous week with a stirring 2-0 win against Singleton at Howe Park.
Brendan Frost got the away side on the board early notching his first goal of the campaign after being hampered by injuries throughout the previous rounds.
Singleton would show resilience and created some of their own chances but couldn’t crack the West Wallsend defence.
Bluebells captain, Jarrod Olivieri would double their lead in the second half which would assure West Wallsend of a valuable three points.
After going down convincingly to New Lambton last weekend, the win was the perfect response from the blue and white who now regain the second spot on the ladder.
The Strikers remain in the ninth spot while the result is another blow to their finals chances as they sit five points away from the top four and will serve the bye next round.
West Wallsend will now prepare for a massive clash against Cessnock City, with the Hornets only four points away on the table.
Cessnock City Hornets 2 (Brad York, Ben Priest) def. Cooks Hill United 1 (Jarryd Johnson)
Sunday 23 June, Turner Park
The Cessnock City Hornets have achieved their biggest result of the season in knocking over competition frontrunners Cooks Hill with a 2-1 win while claiming their first triumph against the Cookers in their history.
Brad York scored the opener for the Hornets before Jarryd Johnson hit the back of the net for the away side.
A stunning strike from Ben Priest would be the winner as Priest chipped the keeper from almost halfway, in one of the biggest goals in the context of Cessnock’s season.
The victory puts the Hornets on the cusp of the top four as they sit in fifth and tied with New Lambton on 19 points but below the Eagles on goal difference.
As for Cooks Hill, the result is the second loss on the bounce for the Cookers and while they still sit nine points above second place, they will yet be disappointed and will look to return to winning ways against Toronto Awaba next round.
The ladder is now extremely tight in and around the top four with three points separating fourth and seventh, but the result for Cessnock will be a significant confidence boost in the race for the finals and showcases their superb turnaround after going down 5-0 to Cooks Hill earlier in the season.
Cessnock’s fifth win of the campaign was also an excellent bounce-back from the Toronto defeat and Cessnock captain Greg Anderson said the success was a massive result for the Hornets moving into the business end of the year.
“It was a great feeling after last week’s missed opportunity, we believed with the game plan we had in place that a result was there to be had with a nice, gritty team effort,” Anderson said.
“We know work is still there to be done with teams around us having catch-ups, but the result definitely gives us a boost.
“Bit of an injury could over Jayden Ziernik with a knee injury, but that was it and it was a great turnaround from last week.”
The loss is Cooks Hill’s second in four days although assistant coach, Jarrod Gorsuch said they’re upset with the result but still look to the positives.
“We built a healthy buffer with a ten-point gap, it’s allowed for a few slip-ups, which hasn’t been ideal but that’s football,” Gorsuch said.
“Credit to Cessnock and New Lambton the last week, it’s been mentioned before, but the competition is getting better.
“We set such high expectations for the lads, obviously they’ll be disappointed, but we know what it takes so hopefully we can get back to that winning form and continue on.”
All other games were postponed due to wet weather.