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Match of the Round
Cessnock City 1-0 Thornton Redbacks
Cessnock City coach Michael Gatt believes his side have what it takes to win the NEW FM Northern League One competition after beating Thornton 1-0 in their return to action on Sunday.
A Zachary Kronholm goal after 45 seconds gave Cessnock the perfect start at Turner Park as the Hornets held on to secure a vital three points to help maintain their perfect start to the season.
The NEW FM Northern League One competition resumed after a four-month suspension due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
And Cessnock flew out of the blocks to remain undefeated and set up a clash against 2019 grand final winners Belmont Swansea United next weekend.
“It was a good solid game. Hard fought, a real cracker, a slugfest more than anything. [The early goal] made for a very lively 90 minutes,” Gatt said.
“It was difficult to get it all back. We had a first round win and then the bye. So we played one match and then had three months off, with one month to try and get them back ready to go.
“The team still isn’t 100 per cent yet but one thing I’ve instilled in them is that we play with heart and passion for each other. As soon as we cross that line we go together and today was a prime example of why I believe we will be a title contender this season.
“Obviously next week will be the tell-tale sign. It will be a good indication of exactly where we’re at, BelSwans down there. But I’ve got no doubt in my heart of hearts that this squad can go all the way. It will take a very good side to beat us.”
Cessnock sit equal second on the table after three rounds, level on points with New Lambton and Belmont Swansea. While the defeat for Thornton leaves the Redbacks without a point after two matches.
“We had to come back out of this break and show what we are made of and how important those three points were,” Gatt said.
“We’re not going to be taken lightly. We wanted to go full steam ahead. The boys were primed to the best fitness levels we could get them to. I tried to get them to spike at the right time and today showed that. It was very important for us to come out of the break and get the three points and make it two[wins] from two.”
The Hornets travel to Blacksmiths Oval to face Belmont Swansea in their round four clash on Sunday, while Thornton host West Wallsend at Thornton Park.
Singleton 5-1 Toronto Awaba
Singleton coach Brendan Slade has a drought-breaking finals appearance on his mind after the Strikers thrashed Toronto Awaba 5-1 at Howe Park on Saturday.
Singleton took a 2-0 lead to half-time thanks to captain Hayden Nichol’s double.
Tristian Muir glanced the Strikers into a 3-0 advantage from a corner early in the second half before Joel Barner added a fourth.
Toronto Awaba scored a consolation from a corner before Joseph Civello completed the rout for Singleton.
It was an impressive result for the Strikers after four months out of action due to the suspension of football. But it was one that has Slade dreaming of making 2020 a year to remember.
“We’ve never played in the finals in 28 years I don’t think. Traditionally we’ve started well but then dropped off later in the season,” Slade said.
“When I coach I try to get my side as fit as I can. If fitness levels are up then everyone does those extra little things.
“I’m hoping to make that top five this season and play in the finals.”
Slade was delighted with the way his side flew out of the blocks to put themselves in a strong position, with Singleton sitting fifth on the table after three rounds.
“It’s so important to get early wins. I wanted us to get off to a flying start to boost the confidence,” Slade said.
“You want to climb the table and see those points next to your name. It’s a shortened season and I’ve said to the boys we don’t want to lose three games. If you lose three games it’ll be hard to make the finals.
“That’s one thing we’re aiming for and we don’t want to drop our standards.”
Singleton will look to build on their momentum when they host struggling Wallsend at Howe Park in their round four clash on Saturday.
Toronto Awaba will have some extra time to lick their wounds thanks to the fourth round bye. The Stags will return to action in round five when they host Thornton at Lyall Peacock Field.
Cooks Hill 1-2 New Lambton
New Lambton came from behind to secure an impressive 2-1 victory over last season’s premiers Cooks Hill on Saturday.
The Eagles trailed midway through the first half before equalising through Riley Taylor from a set piece early in the second half.
Joel Caldwell then notched the winner for New Lambton to see them leave Fearnley Dawes Athletics Field with a valuable three points to maintain their perfect start to the season.
Eagles coach Tom Davies said it was an impressive result for his young side given Cooks Hill’s efforts in recent seasons.
“Considering Cooks Hill as a club and what they’ve done the last couple of years and, especially playing at their home ground as well, in terms of that it’s a really good result,” Davies said.
“We’ve obviously got a really young squad. So we worked really hard before [and through the suspension of football]. Conditioning is a key thing from my point of view as a coach. It’s a key aspect and the aim this year was to be one of the fittest teams in the league.
“You look at the draw and the games come quick and fast. We knew we had some key games to start off with so we had to be as fit as possible. It was good to see towards the end of the game how strong we looked. We could have finished them off as well. But it was a tough hit out and I’m happy.”
Davies said while his side still had plenty to work on he was delighted with their application against the 2019 premiers.
“We’ve worked really hard to build something good for ourselves this season,” Davies said.
“I think the two teams almost cancelled each other out on that first half. But I think the boys stepped it up in the second half and we sort of ran over the top of them in the end which was really pleasing.
“We’ve still got a lot of work to do from our point of view. But the attitude of the players and the way they are trying to execute our game plan is really encouraging.”
New Lambton will look to build on their undefeated start when they host South Cardiff at Alder Park on Saturday. While Cooks Hill face a tough away day against top of the table Kahibah.
Wallsend FC 1-5 Kahibah FC
Kahibah remain top of the NEW FM Northern League One table, while Wallsend remain rooted to the foot of it, after Kahibah scored a convincing 5-1 victory at The Gardens on Sunday.
Kahibah lead the way after three rounds with seven points from their opening three matches, one point clear of New Lambton, Cessnock City and Belmont Swansea United in the chasing pack.
Wallsend meanwhile saw their disappointing start continue, with the Devils now conceding 11 goals – and scoring just once – in their opening two fixtures.
Kahibah will look to maintain their place at the summit when they host 2019 premiers Cooks Hill at Kahibah Oval on Saturday. While Wallsend will be desperate to bounce back when they travel to Howe Park to face high-flying Singleton.
South Cardiff 0-2 Belmont Swansea United
Belmont Swansea United maintained their perfect start to the campaign with an impressive 2-0 victory over South Cardiff on Sunday.
The victory at Ulinga Oval keeps BelSwans a point behind Kahibah at the top of the table after three rounds, while the defeat sees the Gunners slip to sixth.
The 2019 grand final winners, who have won their opening two matches, will look to keep up their momentum when they host fellow unbeaten side Cessnock City at Blacksmiths Oval in their round four clash on Sunday.
South Cardiff travel to Alder Park to face the high-flying New Lambton Eagles on Saturday.
West Wallsend had the round three bye.