Match of the Round
Thornton Redbacks 0 def. by New Lambton Eagles 3 (Jack Wetney, Joel Caldwell, Joe Melmeth)
Sunday 28 July, Thornton Park
Thornton’s finals hopes have taken a significant hit, going down 3-0 at the hands of New Lambton in the Match of the Round at Thornton Park.
The Eagles snapped a horror four game losing streak as a result and picked up a clean sheet, while the Redbacks suffered their seventh loss of the season.
Goals to Jack Wetney, Joel Caldwell and Joe Melmeth got the job done for the away side while the Redbacks strike force couldn’t continue their impressive form.
The big victory moves New Lambton up to seventh but they can only finish as high as fifth with two games to go, while the Redbacks still remain in the hunt for finals in the fifth spot but have a massive game against fourth-placed West Wallsend this weekend to try and peg back their four point difference to the Bluebells.
With games coming up against Toronto Awaba and Singleton Strikers, New Lambton will be hopeful of finishing 2019 strongly while coach Jim Foley said he was immensely impressed with his side’s performance against Thornton.
“Today’s performance was up there with our best, and especially credible on the back of recent results,” Foley said.
“To deliver a 3-0 result against Thornton, away from home, is testimony to the players ability and character.
“Our aim in the remaining two games will be to reproduce today’s performance and fulfil the consistency that has been so hard to find to date.”
The result is a substantial setback for Thornton in their pursuit of finals football, although coach Gary Wand said there is still optimism within the squad
“We just need to re-group and try and get back to playing some decent football again,” Wand said.
“We were out-played today and hopefully it hurts so we can be well and truly up for next [vs West Wallsend] game.
“It’s not ideal the position we are in, but we can still fix it.”
Belmont-Swansea United 2 (Reece Newton, Houston Price) def. Singleton Strikers 1 (Jake Barner)
Sunday 28 July, Blacksmiths Oval
Belmont-Swansea have grinded out a resilient 2-1 win against a determined Singleton outfit at Blacksmiths Oval, as the victors boosted their chances of finishing in second spot.
Reece Newton notched his eighth goal of the campaign and continued his hot streak in front of goal while Houston Price also found the back of the net for the home team.
Jake Barner scored the lone goal for the visitors, but the loss keeps the Strikers in ninth spot with two games to go.
The victory for Belswans moves them onto ten wins and 35 points, while earning the double over Singleton this season with two wins from their two fixtures.
The reigning Grand Final winners will be using the next two games as preparation for a huge semi-final series as they will play tough opponents, Cessnock City and Cooks Hill before the playoffs.
The Strikers will be playing for pride in their next two outings as they take on Thornton and New Lambton.
West Wallsend 2 (Jarrod Olivieri, Cameron Smart) def. Wallsend 0
Sunday 28 July, Johnston Park
West Wallsend have claimed all three points in the Wallsend derby with a 2-0 victory, to push themselves four points clear of Thornton.
Jarrod Olivieri scored first for the home side while Cameron Smart rounded off the win in the second half to almost cement West Wallsend in the top four.
The victory was also the Bluebells second this year against the Red Devils and their ninth of the season to move to 30 points.
As for Wallsend, the away side remain in a wooden spoon battle but still sit a point above Toronto Awaba in tenth with games to come against Kahibah and a huge clash against the Stags.
West Wallsend will next take on Thornton in a massive meeting that could decide the make-up of the top four and will also play South Cardiff and Kahibah before the playoffs.
Kahibah F.C 5 (Asher Beasley x4, Matt Lee) def. Cessnock City Hornets 3 (Ben Priest, Brodie Williams, James Tassell)
Sunday 28 July, Kahibah Oval
Kahibah have kept their 2019 season alive with a thrilling 5-3 victory over Cessnock at Kahibah Oval.
The win keeps the Rams in the hunt for finals as Asher Beasley scored a remarkable four goals while Matt Lee also hit the back of the net.
Cessnock would battle hard as they have done all season, and created some opportunities of their own as Ben Priest, Brodie Williams and James Tassell all got on the scoresheet.
The victory for Kahibah was their seventh this year, and moves them six points behind West Wallsend with a crucial game coming up against Wallsend.
The black and green will need to win all their games including tough outings against Cooks Hill United and West Wallsend if they’re any chance of making the four, while Cessnock dropped down to eighth and their last two games will be against Belmont-Swansea and Thornton.
South Cardiff Gunners 0 drew with Cooks Hill United 0
Sunday 28 July, Ulinga Oval
Cooks Hill have completed a tremendous ‘three-peat’ after earning a draw at Ulinga Oval to be officially crowned as the premiers of 2019.
The match finished all square in what was a game of high intensity and quality, as neither side wanted to give each other an inch.
South Cardiff’s Riley Taylor was causing havoc up front with his speed and would have the best chance of the first half but was denied by Jake Hamilton.
The second half began with Cooks Hill going on the attack and Cookers captain, Daniel Johnson was denied a certain goal as the ball was cleared off the line by Corey Nicholas.
Lee Ashton would also have a golden chance to break the deadlock but scuffed his shot although a draw was all that was required off Cooks Hill as they gained the point and lifted the trophy.
The Gunners now make it four games in a row they haven’t been beaten by Cooks Hill and will take confidence into any potential game that could come up down the line, while the side stayed in third with 31 points.
South Cardiff will play Toronto Awaba next before a big clash against West Wallsend that will have significant bearings on the top four.
As for Cooks Hill, they have again embarked on a season that has been unrivalled to claim their third straight premiership title with 42 points.
The Cookers will round out their remarkable season with games against Kahibah and Belmont-Swansea before they tackle another semi-final series.