Match of the Round
Kahibah F.C 0 def. by Belmont-Swansea United 2 (Reece Newton, Ty Goldsmith)
Sunday 30 June, Kahibah Oval
Belmont-Swansea United have recorded a steady 2-0 victory over Kahibah in an evenly-contested Match of the Round at Kahibah Oval.
Two of the competitions best defensive units would collide, but Kahibah’s leading goalscorer Rhys Tippett had a golden chance to open the scoring early in the game but was denied by a brilliant save from Belswans goalkeeper, Daniel Bryant.
The green and black were missing captains, Matt Lee while Belswans were without Chris Gazzard but welcomed back custodians Mitch Cook and Corey Wilson.
The away side would soon settle into the game and started to gain some field position before Reece Newton fired Belswans into the lead with a thunderous drive from the edge of the area and past Kahibah keeper Blake Mcdonnell.
Belswans would double their advantage soon after when Ty Goldsmith was brought down in the box off a Clayton Poole cross and Goldsmith made no mistake from the spot to put the yellow and green up 2-0 and notch his second in as many games.
After the break, Newton almost grabbed his second of the day but his header came off the bar while Kahibah continued to pose a threat with Asher Beasley and Jamie Hadlow creating chances up front.
Hadlow had an excellent opportunity to reduce the deficit with a one on one with Bryant but scuffed his shot wide.
Belswans brought on Colin Thompson and the youngster made an immediate impact with his speed while almost scoring off a corner.
The team, placed in second, would hold onto their two-goal lead to earn a solid victory away from home.
The result was the defending champions sixth clean sheet of the season and coach Mick Stafford said he was proud of another decent all-round showing.
“It was just a workman-like performance, we dug in and got the two goals and locked it up from there,” Stafford said.
“We still got boys to come back in and they’re all competing for spots which is good, and we can bring quality off the bench like we did.
“The boys set their goal at the start of the year to make the semis, so we’re going to aim for that and go from week to week and see where we end up.”
Kahibah certainly created their own chances but couldn’t take them on the day, and coach Andre Gumprecht said his side weren’t at their best.
“It was a tough game in the conditions, the field wasn’t in the best shape but we also didn’t take our chances and this was our downfall, we tried to push and change our setup in the second half where they had some advantages which worked but we couldn’t convert,” Gumprecht said.
“A real number 10 is someone we’re looking for to complete our attack and fit all the pieces together, but Jamie and Asher are really good players and just need a bit more composure.
“The focus is onto the next game now, we’ll go back to the drawing board and see where we can improve.”
West Wallsend 2 (Tom Sparre, Jarrod Olivieri) drew with Cessnock City Hornets 2 (Kyle Gillis, Isaac Peek)
Sunday 30 June, Johnston Park
Two sides vying for a coveted semi-finals position have had to settle for a draw with West Wallsend and Cessnock finishing 2-2.
The Bluebells got the ball rolling with Tom Sparre opening the scoring with a goal in the first half.
Cessnock revamped themselves after the break and were awarded a penalty but West Wallsend keeper Blake Redman pulled off a tremendous stop to keep the Bluebells in the lead.
The Hornets kept the pressure on and slotted in two quick-fire goals with Kyle Gillis and Isaac Peek putting Cessnock into the lead and on the road to victory, although, a late goal from Jarrod Olivieri levelled the scores at the death.
The result keeps West Wallsend in third spot while Cessnock moves into fifth and only a point away from the top four.
The Bluebells have a massive encounter with Cooks Hill next round to keep themselves in the finals positions while the Hornets will have a week off with the bye and only have five games remaining.
Wallsend F.C 2 (Lez Wallace x2) def. New Lambton Eagles 0
Sunday 30 June, The Gardens
The bottom-placed Wallsend have produced a huge performance to knock the high flying New Lambton Eagles off their perch with a 2-0 win at The Gardens.
The Red Devils beat New Lambton earlier in the year, but the Eagles were coming off the back off big wins against Cooks Hill and West Wallsend.
Lez Wallace proved the game changer bagging himself a double and his fourth in two games against New Lambton while Wallsend ended a horror run of eight games without a win while the Eagles will be ruing missing out on several chances.
The victory moves the Red Devils to eight points and two points away from tenth in the race to avoid the wooden spoon while New Lambton has slipped to seventh, two points away from the top four and have a substantial fixture next round against South Cardiff.
The result was Wallsend’s second success of the season, and coach Jesse Pryce said the players deserved the win after a tough run of games.
“It’s been a very tough season and it’s good to see the guys get some enjoyment out of playing and that’s what a win does,” Pryce said.
“Excellent performance out of the guys, everyone wants to play for each other and we looked like a totally different team. Not sure why it seems to happen against New Lambton.
“We haven’t given up at all, we are still trying to finish as high as we can, we know what we need to do so we are playing for more than pride in our eyes.
Toronto Awaba Stags 2 (Nathan McAllister, Jarrod Penfold) def. by Cooks Hill United 6 (Nick Russell x2, Jarryd Johnson, Tyler Curran, Dan Yaxley, Ash Balcomb)
Sunday 30 June, Lyall Peacock Field
Top of the table, Cooks Hill United have returned to the winner’s circle with a comfortable 6-2 victory over Toronto Awaba at Lyall Peacock Field.
The Stags gave the Cookers a scare early in the game going 1-0 up before levelling the game at 2-2 at half-time.
Nathan McAllister and Jarrod Penfold found the net for the home side, but the Cookers ran riot in the second half scoring four, unanswered goals to wrap up the three points and bolster their lead at the top of the ladder.
Nick Russell continued his impressive record against the Stags notching a double and taking his season tally into double-figures to ten while Jarryd Johnson, Tyler Curran, Dan Yaxley and Ash Balcomb scored the goals to pave the way for the Cookers to get back to winning ways.
The Cookers remain nine points ahead of Belswans on the table, and coach Graham Law said he was pleased with his side’s attitude after a couple of losses and going behind.
“New Lambton and Cessnock were really good (in the two defeats) but the attitude has been great and pleased with the end result, nobody is complacent, but it certainly gave us a needed lift,” Law said.
“I noticed in training the reaction was great and we even went a goal down, but we didn’t drop our heads.
“Nothing is signed and sealed yet, but this year we want to go to the grand final, the 16 points we won by last year was kind of overlooked as we didn’t make the grand final so that’s our aim this year and we just need to keep the momentum going.”
South Cardiff Gunners 0 def. by Thornton Redbacks 4 (Jye McKellar, Jacob Golding, Wade Attewell, Own Goal)
Sunday 30 June, Ulinga Oval
The Thornton Redbacks have achieved an incredible victory, smashing top-four rival South Cardiff 4-0 at Ulinga Oval to bolster their chances of playing finals football.
It was all one-way traffic in the first half as Thornton raced out to a 3-0 lead in the opening stanza and managed to hold onto a clean sheet and add another goal to produce their biggest result so far this season.
Jye McKellar was back in action for the away side and notched a goal on his return from injury while regular standouts Jacob Golding and Wade Attewell also got on the scoresheet.
The win moves the Redbacks up to the sixth spot on 19 points while South Cardiff remain in the top four on 21 points. Thornton has two games in hand on the Gunners, starting this week with a Wednesday night game against Wallsend.
The Gunners have only won one of their last five games to be on the brink of falling out of the top four and would see next round’s clash against New Lambton as a must-win.
As for the Redbacks, the ball is firmly in their court in pursuit of the finals while coach Gary Wand said the terrific performance was a pleasant surprise.
“We hadn’t played for a while and we also had a long time to stew on a loss, but in saying that we started really well and they were a bit flat, we created a lot of chances and I was blown out of the water with our performance,” Wand said.
“He was really good (Jye McKellar), he could have had a hat-trick but he brought great intensity while Jacob (Golding) and Wade (Attewell) are massive for us and Rob Macbeth has also been a great addition and brings great experience.
“The trick for us is to stay healthy, we’ve had a very stop and start season, but if we can keep playing like that, we can certainly make the finals.”
South Cardiff will want to snap out of this run and quickly with Thornton, Cessnock and New Lambton all vying for a finals place while captain-coach Denis Fajkovic gave high praise to the opposition in defeat.
“Credit to Thornton, they deserved the four-goal win, they were hungry and got stuck in while the conditions didn’t suit our game as it was muddy,” Fajkovic said.
“Tough result but we now focus on New Lambton, it’s going to be an interesting finish, and we definitely need to show what we are made of if we are going to feature in the finals.”
Singleton Strikers had the bye.