Match of the Round
South Cardiff Gunners 1 (Dino Fajkovic) def. by Kahibah F.C 3 (Rhys Tippett x2, Jye Hodgson)
Sunday 24th March, Ulinga Oval
Kahibah F.C has kicked off their season with a major upset, knocking over South Cardiff on their home turf, 3-1.
The Gunners got the ball rolling early when new signing Dino Fajkovic scored his first goal of the season to give South Cardiff the lead.
However, it was all one-way traffic from there as Kahibah fired in the goals with Rhys Tippett scoring twice while Jye Hodgson scored a stunning goal from distance.
South Cardiff now sit in sixth with a win and a loss while the green and black have now jumped up to fifth.
The young Kahibah side have certainly fired a warning shot to the rest of the competition while experienced coach Andre Gumprecht said he was very proud of his players’ outstanding performances.
“I can’t be more pleased with the boys, we fell behind early, but I was delighted with the defence after that,” Gumprecht said.
“It’s important to show enthusiasm in these games, and we handled what South Cardiff threw at us.
“The boys delivered and the workload was enormous,” Gumprecht continued.
South Cardiff Player-coach, Denis Fajkovic, said Kahibah were deserving of their victory.
“Kahibah executed their game plan, we will learn from this, and we will regroup and prepare for arguably the best side in the comp in Belswans,” Fajkovic said.
“Teams are preparing for us but I can’t take anything away from Kahibah.”
Belmont-Swansea United 4 (Joel Nicholson, David Swain, Clayton Poole, Own Goal) def. Wallsend 1 (Wez Pryce)
Saturday 23th March, Blacksmiths Oval
Round 3 kicked off with Belmont-Swansea claiming an emphatic 4-1 victory over Wallsend at Blacksmiths Oval.
The 2018 grand final winners were back at their home ground for the first time in the new season and were given a penalty early with Clayton Poole stepping up, however he put his effort wide.
Soon after, the home outfit would take the lead through a headed own goal from a corner to open the scoring.
Belswans were without a number of first-grade regulars in Mitch Cook, Corey Wilson, Chris Gazzard and Steele Harvey but manage to secure all three points.
Clayton Poole would later find the back of the net while youngsters Joel Nicholson and David Swain both grabbed their first goals in the top grade.
Wallsend’s Wez Pryce would grab the only goal for the Red Devils while Jesse Pryce’s squad have now conceded eight goals in two games to linger at the bottom of the ladder.
The defending-premiers are now two wins from two to start 2019, and coach Mick Stafford said his players showed great energy but still have room for improvement.
“It was a good performance, but a long way off being great, hopefully over the next few weeks our football can show more fluidity,” Stafford said.
“I’m really happy with how the boys managed to get the result.
“You’re always happy with maximum points, the most pleasing thing is the younger boys showing their quality and the depth in the club with a few senior players out.”
Cooks Hill United 2 (Jarryd Johnson, Alex Gillespie) def. Singleton Strikers 1 (Jake Barner)
Saturday 23th March, Fearnley Dawes Athletic Field
Cooks Hill United have continued their impressive start to the 2019 season with a 2-1 win over Singleton in a close battle at Fearnley Dawes Athletic Field.
Singleton got off to the best possible start against the league leaders with Jake Barner opening the scoring to grab his second of the campaign.
The Strikers were missing six key players to the Singleton Cricket grand final but still showed a lot of quality to match it with Cooks Hill.
The black and white kept on persisting and grabbed the equaliser through Jarryd Johnson before Tyler Curran was sent off.
Singleton couldn’t take advantage of the man advantage as Cooks Hill secured the winner through Alex Gillespie to remain undefeated.
Cookers Coach, Graham Law, said his players showed great determination to pick up the three points.
“I’m very pleased with how the boys dug deep after the sending off to Tyler Curran,” Law said.
“We were up against a very well organised and energetic Singleton side, but the red card must have given them hope as they seemed to attack more which gave us the space we had been searching for.
“No injuries and very happy to have nine points from three games,” Law continued.
The Strikers have now had a few mixed results to sit in fourth, however, Coach David Willoughby said his side certainly tested out the competition heavyweights.
“Our performance was excellent, we executed our game plan very well, and we asked some good questions of Cooks Hill considering the amount of players unavailable for the game,” Willoughby said.
“Two defensive lapses in concentration allowed the two goals, but we can be competitive with the league’s benchmark.”
West Wallsend 3 (Josh Knight x2, Bryson Cox) def. by New Lambton 4 (Riley Taylor x2, Jack Wetnew, Dominic Smith)
Sunday 24th March, Johnston Park
New Lambton have asserted themselves as a side to be wary of after knocking over West Wallsend 4-3 in a seven-goal thriller at Johnston Park.
West Wallsend kicked off the day by remembering Jaryd ‘Humbo’ Hayter with a touching balloon release in his honour, while Energy Australia also have set up a memorial fund in Jaryd’s name to help support his beloved club.
The match kicked off with West Wallsend getting off to a strong start to lead 2-1 at one stage in an intense opening half.
New Lambton then kick-started a spectacular comeback to lead 4-2 with Riley Taylor scoring a double, while Jack Wetnew and Dominic Smith also found the back of the net before West Wallsend scored a late consolation goal.
The Eagles now sit in third with two wins from three and Coach Jim Foley said his players showed great character to come from behind and claim a triumphant victory.
“I was extremely pleased with our ability to respond with three goals to lead 4-2 before conceding a late third goal,” Foley said.
“I was equally pleased with our discipline and determination to control our emotions under trying circumstances.
“Taking three points away against a very good Westy team is terrific, but it is still very early days in our development, and there is much to improve upon.”
Cessnock City Hornets 2 (Tom Stewart, Jayden Ziernik) drew with Toronto Awaba Stags 2 (Jarrod Purcell, Nick Roberts)
Sunday 24th March, Turner Park
An enthralling Round 3 culminated with Cessnock City fighting back to share the points in an entertaining 2-2 draw with Toronto Awaba at Turner Park.
Toronto got off to a fantastic start with Jarrod Purcell and Nick Roberts scoring early to lead 2-0 and put Cessnock on the back foot.
The Hornets Tom Stewart got on the score-sheet to start the comeback before a 90th-minute equaliser from Jayden Ziernik dramatically sealed the draw.
The result is the Stags’ first point of the campaign and they’ve now had two promising performances to show they’re a different side in 2019 after having a horror record against Cessnock last season.
Cessnock are still yet to register a win in the current season, however, Coach Arthur Hodgetts said his players deserved something out of the game after their great fightback.
“They caught us napping and got two early goals, but the boys dug deep and clawed their way back,” Hodgetts said.
“Tough game without injury and Klaudon got 20 minutes off the bench, but the boys scrapped well to get the draw.”