Match of the Round
Belmont-Swansea United 1 (Clayton Poole) def. by Cooks Hill United 2 (Nick Russell, Jarryd Johnson)
Sunday 18 August, Blacksmiths Oval
The 2019 NEWFM Northern League One regular season has wrapped up with Cooks Hill coming from a goal down to beat Belmont-Swansea 2-1 in a high-quality affair at Blacksmiths Oval.
The final round delivered a mouth-watering top of the table clash and it certainly didn’t disappoint with the two sides producing a fine performance ahead of a giant semi-final series.
Belswans had a good early chance through Reece Newton with a long range shot before Cooks Hill settled on the ball and began to control the possession.
The first half was an arm wrestle until Belswans broke the deadlock just before half-time as Clayton Poole swung in a whipping effort from a corner which found its way into the net.
The home side would take their lead into the half-time break before Cooks Hill would come out strong with Lee Ashton and Nick Russell creating chances soon after but were met by Dan Bryant in goal.
Bryant would soon have to be taken off after colliding with a Cookers player and was replaced in goal by Will Reeves.
Russell then produced one of the goals of the season to put Cooks Hill level, hitting a ‘Tim Cahill’-like volley from distance which looped Reeves in goal.
The Cookers had found their groove off the back of a long-range stunner and began to ramp up the pressure with a couple more chances before finding the winner through Jarryd Johnson who hit a swerving shot from a tight angle which deceived Reeves in goal.
The reigning premiership winners would hold onto the 2-1 result and claim the 14th win of their remarkable campaign.
Both sides showcased their quality while Belswans would be proud of their showing and will back themselves to make history and go back-to-back.
West Wallsend’s result means Belswans will take on the side they beat in last year’s Grand Final in the 2019 semi’s while Cooks Hill will collide with South Cardiff over two massive matches.
Cooks Hill welcomed the challenge of taking on Belswans away from home to prepare themselves for the semi’s and coach Graham Law said it was the perfect preparation.
“It was the perfect game for us before the semi’s, we came through largely unscathed and we’re in a really good place,” Law said.
“We absolutely went there to win, we haven’t ticked off that (winning at Blacksmiths) since I’ve been coaching the side for three years, so it was very pleasing.
“I thought we were a bit unlucky at half time to be a goal down, and we knew it was going to be a tough game on their Old Boys Day, credit to the boys as they held their nerve.”
The Belswans faithful turned out in numbers on the club’s Old Boys Day while coach Mick Stafford said he couldn’t fault his player’s effort.
“Very happy with the boys, the effort was there and it was a pretty even game and good hit out before semi’s,” Stafford said.
“We still got a few things to work on, but we have minimal injuries, hats off to Cooks Hill as they are a really good team.
“The way we bounced back and took it to them after conceding was very positive, and we went for the whole 90 minutes.”
New Lambton Eagles 1 (Jimmy Oar) def. Singleton Strikers 0
Saturday 17 August, Alder Park
New Lambton has capped off its campaign with a 1-0 home win against Singleton.
The Eagles put together three wins from three to finish the season to settle in sixth spot on the table whilst also notching their ninth win over the 20 games.
The Strikers remain in ninth spot as they slumped to their 12th loss of the campaign, however the Singleton side battled hard to the end.
The result finishes another disappointing campaign for Singleton which was largely affected by missing key players in a large percentage of their games.
New Lambton’s final weeks have been promising, keeping three clean sheets and scoring a bagful of goals to build a platform to bounce off into the 2020 season.
The youthful Eagles will be jubilant by their consistency but left questioning what could have been while coach Jim Foley said it was enjoyable to put together complete performances.
“Like the first round, our win over Singleton came at a price, however it was pleasing to produce the consistency in our final three games that had eluded us previously,” Foley said.
“Our first team final placing fell short of what I’d hoped, and if it wasn’t for some careless lost points in winnable games, our first team would be taking part in the finals series.
“We’ll be better for the experience and look forward to 2020.”
Kahibah F.C 0 def. by West Wallsend 3 (Sam Holt, Mitch Kramer, Brendan Frost)
Sunday 18 August, Kahibah Oval
West Wallsend have produced a dominant 3-0 win over Kahibah to put the other top four teams on notice ahead of a mammoth semi-final series.
The result moved the Bluebells back into third to book a date with rivals Belmont-Swansea next week.
Brendan Frost and Sam Holt put the Bluebells on the road to victory with a goal each before Mitch Kramer capped of the performance with a strike to put an exclamation point on the victory.
After a strong month of football, Kahibah will be disappointed by their final result, but remain in fifth spot.
The Rams have shown real development and improvement in 2019, after finishing 10th in the previous season, Kahibah have built a resilient squad that has healthy potential.
As for West Wallsend, they will now look forward to another semi-final series and a showdown against Belswans.
The squad will have the chance to avenge last season’s grand final defeat when they collide with the yellow and green over two legs.
The Bluebells will also be content with their form leading into the big games, winning three out of their last four matches.
Thornton Redbacks 1 (Kyle Williams) drew with Cessnock City Hornets 1 (James Tassell)
Sunday 18 August, Thornton Park
Thornton and Cessnock have played out an evenly-matched 1-1 draw at Thornton Park, to complete their seasons.
Kyle Williams scored the goal for Thornton while James Tassell continued to show he’s been a quality pick up for the Hornets, putting away a goal.
After being one game away from a grand final last campaign, the Redbacks will miss out on finals football, finishing in seventh.
Thornton will be disappointed by their placing in the end, but have also been hampered by injuries along the way.
The Hornets showed real promise in 2019, knocking on the door of the top four for long periods, although eventually fell short to finish in eighth.
Cessnock have already looked to keep a hold of their squad for season 2020, and will hope to continue and grow combinations and their style of playing.
The result completed a poor end to the season for both outfits as both failed to win a game in their last four outings.
The Redbacks will take the result and try to re-cooperate for the 2020 season and coach Gary Wand said the side hasn’t been able to find the consistency they have wanted.
“The season as a whole has been disappointing, we had some injuries but we are still plagued by inconsistency,” Wand said.
“Both teams had chances to win the game, a draw was a fair result, it was two teams that hadn’t won in a while so I think both of us were happy enough with the draw.
“We turned up for the big games, (but) don’t for ones where we should get a result, we need to change our mentality or we are continually going to be underachievers.”
Wallsend F.C 1 (Tom Adams) drew with Toronto Awaba Stags 1 (Jarrod Purcell)
Sunday 18 August, The Gardens
Wallsend and Toronto have played out a 1-1 draw in the battle of the cellar dwellers at the Gardens.
The result means the Stags finish with the wooden spoon for the second year in a row.
Tom Adams scored the lone goal for the Red Devils while Jarrod Purcell notched an effort for Toronto, but it wasn’t enough to keep them off the bottom placing.
Both sides have had tough seasons, and will now try and put their 2019 seasons behind them and look towards the future.
The result kept Wallsend in tenth, but with only 15 points from their 20 games.
The Red Devils coach, Jesse Pryce said the side did enough to get the job done and avoid the wooden spoon.
“Very happy to get the job done and is good to avoid the spoon,” Pryce said.
“It is such a great turnaround from the guys to be able to finish how we did, considering the position we put ourselves in and all the changes throughout the year, we are definitely a better team after everything that went on.
“From about Round 14, the squad turned around and finally showed what he had. We’re always optimistic leading into the next season, learnt some lessons and looking forward to the challenge that next year will bring.”