PHOTO: Valentine Sports Photography
Cooks Hill United 6 (Gallagher 16’, 32’, Ashton 44’, 84’, 90’, Cook OG) defeated Belmont Swansea 2 (Lodge 7’, Hall 55’)
Newcastle Athletics Field
Saturday 25th March, 2:30 pm
Both Cooks Hill and Belmont Swansea were coming off big wins in round one and despite the week off were both keen to show the rest of the competition they were the real deal.
It was Belswans who came out of the blocks firing, with Cameron Lodge going close early on before putting his side ahead in only the seventh minute – youngster Jayden Nakhoul doing the hard work and teeing up Lodge to give his side an early 1-0 lead.
Keen not to let Belswans hold a lead for too long, Cooks came back firing and took only nine minutes to level things up courtesy of a Calum Gallagher strike in the 16th minute.
The midfielder doubled his tally in the 32nd minute to fire Cooks Hill ahead, despite Belswans working hard and performing well without reward across the park. Former Weston man Lee Ashton struck a killer blow for Cooks Hill on the stroke of half-time, finishing well past Belswans keeper Ben Parmenter and made it 3-1 at the break.
Cooks Hill were taking their chances well after the break. Despite Belswans performing well in the first half, it was calamity at the back as Belswans’ Mitchell Cook turned the ball into his own net and made the score 4-1 to Cooks Hill.
Josh Hall pulled one back for Belswans in the 55th minute to make it 4-2 and give his side a sniff, but Cooks Hill proved too strong throughout the remainder of the second half. It took until the 84th minute to extend their lead and the fifth Cooks Hill goal of the day came courtesy of Ashton who snagged his second.
Belswans were no doubt down and out, but Ashton put the nail in the coffin with his third goal in the 90th minute to make the final score 6-2.
Cooks Hill coach Graham Law was pleased with the way his side were ruthless in the victory.
“A better performance (than the Toronto game)… I’ve heard a few people say Belswans deserved to win the game, but we won both halves 3-1,” Law said.
“It did show that if you take your chances games can be different, Belswans had us pinned down in the first ten minutes and if they’d taken their chances it might have been more difficult to get back into the game.”
Belmont-Swansea coach Josh Rufo said there were no excuses for his side’s heavy defeat.
“Cooks Hill were pretty clinical and we have a lot to work on, a hard day at the office but still a lot of positives to work on at training and we’ll look to get back on the right track,” Rufo said.
The coach was also critical of his side’s execution in front of goal.
“There’s plenty of potential in our team and in time we’ll get better, we need to work on being more clinical and ruthless in the final third.
“They had five chances and scored five goals plus the own goal, we had about twenty shots in the first five minutes and only had two goals.”
Cooks Hill are away to Wallsend next weekend, while Belswans will play their first match of the year at Blacksmiths when they take on Cessnock.
West Wallsend 4 (Andrews 17’, Cole 24’, 65’, Marshall 85’) defeated Toronto Awaba 1 (Roberts 13’)
Saturday 25th March, 4 pm
Both West Wallsend and Toronto came into this one knowing they needed to drastically improve on their round one performances, the two sides having shipped eleven goals between them in the first round.
West Wallsend opened this game the better of the two sides, with some sustained possession in the opposition half without any early reward.
Against the run of play, it was Toronto who opened the scoring in the 13th minute, a Michael Bru free kick from just over halfway found the head of Nick Roberts. The Toronto captain made no mistake in popping the ball over Zac Parks in the Westie goal and making it 1-0 Toronto.
The Bluebells were fired up and keen to cut down Toronto’s advantage – and it only took them 4 minutes. Bru gave away a free kick just outside the Toronto area and a Brad Andrews rocket found its way past Jed Partridge in the Toronto goal and made the score 1-1.
A heavily rain-affected pitch was showing signs of wear and tear as the first half wore on, bobbles and dodgy touches making it hard for both sides to hold onto the ball. It wouldn’t trouble West Wallsend too much, though – Jarrod Olivieri found Ryan Cole from the midfield in the 24th minute, who made no mistake in sliding past the Stags keeper and making it 2-1.
Both sides continued to threaten as the half wore on – Olivieri headed over from six yards out while Toronto had been sparked by a very early tactical substitution, and it was only the post that prevented the Stags’ Bru from making it level as the Bluebells went into the sheds ahead.
The game restarted in a frantic manner, with rough tackles flying in everywhere and the referee not afraid to dish out a couple of yellow cards accordingly.
The game was to and fro in the early stages of the second half, and Blake Glennie managed to turn in a Nick McKay through ball in the 54th minute however the linesman had his flag up, much to the dismay of the travelling Toronto support.
West Wallsend extended their lead in the 65th minute after a cross hit the arm of Caleb Prebble and despite his protestations, a penalty was rewarded. Cole stepped up and confidently slotted home from the spot for his second and made the score 3-1.
Sam Holt went close to putting the game beyond doubt for the Bluebells when he hit the crossbar in the 81st minute, but it was Bronson Marshall who made sure of the win in the 87th minute when he finished past Partridge in goals to make it 4-1.
West Wallsend coach Gary Rowe was in a good mood following his side’s big win.
“Happy with the win but not particularly with the performance… I didn’t think we executed what we’d been working on for weeks,” Rowe said.
“Our defensive structure was poor and our application when we got opportunities wasn’t great, so we’ve got a couple of things to work on.
“Ty Jones was awesome today, he caused trouble all day so he was very good and Bryson Cox was good too.”
West Wallsend travels to face Kahibah next Sunday, while Toronto faces Thornton in Round 4’s NEWFM Northern League One Match of the Round.
Wallsend FC 3 (Hinchcliffe 3’, Williams 32’, 48’) defeated Singleton Strikers 1 (Hall 82’)
Sunday 26th March, 2:30 pm
Wallsend were looking to bounce back from a tough-fought defeat at the hands of South Cardiff in their Sunday afternoon kick off while Singleton knew they needed to improve on their round one defeat at Belswans.
Wallsend got off to a dream start at the Gardens after Matt Williams was tripped up by Singleton’s Jackson Hough to give the Red Devils a penalty. Mal Hinchcliffe stepped up and made no mistake from the spot, giving Wallsend an early 1-0 lead.
The grass was unusually long and it was affecting the style of football each side was trying to play, neither able to settle comfortably into the match. Wallsend coped the better of the two sides, Trent Milton had a shot cleared off the line in the 13th minute.
Singleton’s Sam Ford fired wide from a long way out not long after and Milton had another shot pushed away in the 18th minute, before the number 10 turned provider in the 32nd minute – a tight ball through to Williams allowed the youngster to get a thunderbolt away and past the outstretched hand of Stuart Plant in goals to give Wallsend a 2-0 lead.
Brad Millar snuck one past Wallsend keeper James Wand, but the linesman’s flag was up and the score remained 2-nil at halftime.
The Red Devils started the second half the same as they started the first – at pace and with intent. It only took two minutes for Wallsend to extend their lead; Singleton conceded a free kick out wide and Cameron Tapp stepped up to take it. The free kick swirled in and was well met by Williams who turned in his second and made it 3-0.
The game again settled and Wallsend were looking to further their advantage, Milton and Trent Richards were running riot up front for the Red Devils and causing all sorts of issues for the young Singleton defence.
The game was turned on its head in the 66th minute when Tapp came in hard from behind on Singleton youngster Nathan Hall, who was uprooted and flipped through the air. The referee had no hesitation in showing Tapp his second yellow card, and Wallsend were down to ten with just over 25 minutes to play.
Singleton began to push and make the most of their man advantage, but it took until the 82nd minute for the Strikers to score their first goal of the season. Joe Civello chased down what looked like a lost cause to the byline and cut it back in for Nathan Hall who was in acres of space and finished into an empty net to make it 3-1, and that’s how it finished.
Wallsend coach Chris Gallagher was happy with the victory, but not completely satisfied with the performance.
“It was a good win but I think there are better opposition out there, so we have to be better, there’s a few things we didn’t do well and it isn’t exactly where I want to be,” Gallagher said.
“Into next week we work on our defensive structure and our finishing, it wasn’t good enough and we should’ve had five or six.”
Gallagher also praised the performances of a number of players from both sides.
“James Wand in goals had a decent game, his distribution and communication was really good… Matty Williams was really good for us, and young Ty Cousins made his first-grade debut at Wallsend at 16 which is a pretty decent thing.
“I thought Singo had some good young kids, too.”
Singleton coach Dave Willoughby was disappointed with the result after the match.
“We were second best with the ball, without the ball, we didn’t put our best foot forward today, that’s for sure.”
Willoughby also thought the long grass at The Gardens played a part in the result.
“We had to revert back to playing long balls like everyone else in the competition… there was no playing out from the back today from Wallsend, they don’t try to play but they got the result, so credit to them.”
“We were playing poorly before we gave possession up cheaply, today we didn’t have our minds on the job and I don’t know why.”
Wallsend face high-flying Cooks Hill at home next weekend, while Singleton has the bye.
Kahibah FC 2 drew New Lambton FC 2
Lake Macquarie Regional Football Facility
Sunday 26th March, 7:15 pm
Kahibah finally got their season off to a start at a home away from home, while New Lambton were looking to keep the good times rolling in their second match in the second tier.
The Black and Green came out of the blocks firing in their first match of the season and had New Lambton in all sorts of trouble. The Eagles were unable to settle into the game early and looked thoroughly uncomfortable and struggled to counter Kahibah’s domination of possession.
It took until halfway through the first half for Kahibah to make the breakthrough and it came courtesy of Jamie Hadlow, the attacker put the Black and Green ahead going into the break.
New Lambton equalised not long into the second half from a set piece, former Singleton man Zane Hand rising above the pack to finish from the corner to make the score 1-1.
Ash Illfield was crucial to everything Kahibah were doing and he popped up to score the second and give his side the lead once again. Illfield went off injured midway through the second half and Kahibah were visibly weakened by his loss.
Kahibah were dealt a further blow when Matthew Grey was sent off in the second half, after a second bookable offence.
With fifteen minutes left on the clock, it was the captain who stepped up for the Eagles. Dan Luther rose and headed home from the corner to level things up.
The last fifteen of this one was frantic, to and fro football but neither side could find a way through, and 2-2 is how it finished.
Kahibah coach Andre Gumprecht had mixed feelings following the result.
“It was our first game and we were looking very much forward to it, overall we were very happy with the game, we started very well and had a very good first half,” Gumprecht said.
“We changed a few things due to injury and red cards… have to be okay with the draw, but we conceded two goals from set-pieces which I think is down to a lack of concentration.
“So I was very frustrated with the type of goals we conceded, and that sort of put a dent in the result.”
New Lambton’s Andrew Packer was satisfied his side took a point from a hard-fought match.
“Kahibah dominated possession for most of the match and we tried to counter what they were doing, we didn’t get it right in the first half but we came out and did a lot better in the second,” Packer said.
“We came back from a goal down on two occasions… we actually had some half decent chances (to win it) but didn’t score, but ended up getting a result after not playing very well at all.”
Kahibah host West Wallsend next Sunday, while New Lambton will travel to South Cardiff.
Match of the Round – South Cardiff vs Cessnock was washed out, and Thornton had the bye