PHOTO: Valentine Sports Photography
Match of the Round
Cooks Hill United 3 (Gallagher 11’, Russell 48’, Ashton 78’) defeated by Kahibah FC 4 (Hadlow 9’, 34’, Penfold 36’, Bramley OG 90’)
Newcastle Athletics Field
Saturday 8th April, 2:30 pm
Only five rounds in and this match proved to be a potential grand final preview with Kahibah putting their best foot forward taking the early bragging rights on Saturday afternoon.
It was Kahibah who took an early lead in the 9th minute, thanks to some pinpoint passing from Jarrod Penfold. The midfielder’s pass found a way through the Cooks Hill defence and to Jamie Hadlow up front, who timed his run well and finished past Jake Hamilton in the Cooks Hill goal to make it 1-0.
Cooks Hill haven’t spent much time trailing sides so far in 2017, and two minutes later they were level. Nick Hartnett spilt his lollies in the Kahibah goal right into the path of Calum Gallagher, who made no mistake in hitting the back of the net and making it one a piece.
Gallagher had a chance to put the home side ahead in the 15th minute but couldn’t beat the keeper, and a Penfold shot in the 24th minute was blocked by a swag of Cooks Hill defenders.
Just after the 30th minute, Hadlow would double his lead and put Kahibah ahead once again. Found superbly by Penfold in the midfield, Hadlow rounded the keeper and sent the ball goal bound, and it trickled over the line despite the best efforts of Daniel Clements to send Kahibah 2-1 up.
In the 36th minute, Penfold would turn from provider to scorer. Picking up the ball after Ash Ilfield won it well in the midfield, Penfold took a couple of touches and struck the ball beautifully. It sought out the cobwebs in the top corner and cast them all aside, and the Green and Black were up 3-1.
Kahibah had their chances to further extend their lead before half-time – Dave Hodgson fired straight at Hamilton and an Ash Ilfield free kick almost snuck in the near post, but it’d be 3-1 Kahibah at half time.
Cooks Hill were told in no uncertain terms to improve in the second half and they exploded back out of the sheds and took only two minutes to get back in with a shout. A Daniel Johnson ball over the top found Nick Russell, whose shot went across the ‘keeper and nestled in the far corner of the net.
Jonas Rampsott fired wide for Cooks Hill in the 55th minute, and Ash Balcomb and Russell also came close two minutes either side of the 60th minute but a resilient Kahibah were making it tough to find a way through.
It took until the 78th minute for Cooks Hill to get back on level terms, and it was through competition leading goal scorer Lee Ashton. The striker got in behind and seen the ball fall nicely for him, and made no mistake in firing into the back of the net and squaring the ledger.
Hadlow and Russell had chances for their respective sides to go ahead in the final ten minutes, Kahibah had a penalty shout turned down and Ashton had an opportunity to nab his second but couldn’t finish.
It was to be heartbreak for a resilient Cooks Hill side late on, a Jarrod Penfold ball over the top was intercepted by Stephen Bramley whose misdirected header was enough to wrong-foot his keeper and send the ball into his own net – 4-3 Kahibah.
Cooks Hill bombed on late in this one in an attempt to find an equaliser but couldn’t manage it, and it was Kahibah who took a vital win.
Cookers coach Graham Law was thinking positively following the result.
“It was a really good game, I’m not the type of coach to get upset if we lose but we play well,” Law said.
“A few individual errors cost us, but there was no guarantee either side was going to win that game… it was a very good, expansive and open game of football from both sides.
“But let’s be honest, if you concede four goals at home you don’t deserve to win… it was a fifteen-minute spell before halftime which lost us the game.”
West Wallsend 1 (Jones 22’) defeated by Thornton Redbacks FC 6 (Penglaze 31’, McAllister 36’, 73’, 82’, Subat 44’, Halverson 89’)
Saturday 8th April, 2:30 pm
Thornton worked hard to secure the three points in a topsy-turvy day against West Wallsend at Johnston Park on Saturday afternoon.
It started off with both teams evenly matched, fighting it out in the middle of the park. Jarod Olivieri headed wide for the home team early on, and Jamie Subat scuffed two chances.
The match turned on its head in the 21st minute, a ball from the deep found Westie’s Tye Jones up front who touched the ball around Drew Olsen. Olsen attacked the ball and missed – catching Jones inside the box and taking a boot to the face for his troubles. The referee adjudged the incident a yellow card to the keeper and a penalty to West Wallsend.
Jones stepped up to the plate and converted the penalty he won to make it 1-0 to the home side.
The goal put a rocket up Thornton, who responded in the 31st minute. Subat found Liam Penglaze, who fired a hard shot high into the back of the net to level the scores.
Only five minutes later, Thornton took the lead. Wade Atwell won the ball out wide on the left from Michael Baillie and whipped a cross in which found Nathan McAllister in the box who made no mistake in turning it in and making the score 2-1.
On the stroke of halftime, Thornton doubled their advantage through Subat. After a bit of interplay between McAllister and centre back William Whitelaw, the latter floated in a cross that evaded everyone and fell nicely to Subat, who finished well and made it 3-1.
Liam Penglaze had a golden opportunity to put the game to bed only moments after the two sides had come out from half-time but fired his shot wide of a gaping net.
Jesse Smith had a chance saved in the 52nd minute after some good build up play from Penglaze and Subat and Thornton were playing very much like a side with a two-goal buffer, full of confidence and flowing well.
There was to be drama in the 62nd minute, however. West Wallsend were growing frustrated with a number of decisions going against them throughout much of the early parts of the second half and coach Gary Rowe couldn’t help but voice his frustrations in the direction of the referee – and a bit of back and forth seen the coach sent from the bench.
It took Thornton more than ten minutes to take advantage of the chaos that’d be wrought, and it was McAllister who’d double his tally – taking full advantage of the afters of another Subat shot to make it 4-1.
McAllister would make it three and claim the match ball not long after, turning in a Wade Atwell cross in the 82nd minute and putting the game well out of reach for the Bluebells.
There was yet to be more drama just three minutes later – Tye Jones copped a yellow card for a push in the back after he was run down, and then just seconds later for pulling down an opponent outside the Thornton box. He was sent, and West Wallsend were down to 10.
Thornton took full advantage of their man advantage in the 89th minute – McAllister turned provider and found Jack Halverson making a darting run in behind the defence. The youngster was composed with a 1 on 1 and finished well.
Having had some time after the match to regain his composure, West Wallsend coach Gary Rowe had calmed down considerably following full time.
“Frustrated. I thought we did really well in the early stages, but we went to sleep and let them back in the game before half time and it sort of spiralled out of control,” Rowe said.
“We didn’t really get ourselves back into the swing of it [after halftime], we got caught up in drama and it impacted our end product.
“When things matter to people, they get frustrated… we’ve addressed the fact we need to try and keep our heads under duress, and we’ll try and do it better.”
Toronto Awaba FC 1 (OG 90’) defeated South Cardiff FC 0
Lyall Peacock Oval
Sunday 9th April, 2:30 pm
A dream result and first points on the board in 2017 for the Stags on Sunday afternoon when they knocked off an unconvincing South Cardiff at home.
The match started slowly in the warm Autumn sun; South Cardiff keen to kick on from last weekend’s dream result while Toronto were well up for it in captain Nick Roberts’ 100th match for the club.
With a number of chances in the first half, Antonio Atmataj had the first chance of the day for the Gunners but fired wide. Roberts had a header slam into the crossbar in the opening ten minutes and Brett Cowling and Denis Fajkovic had their opportunities too but were unable to find a way through early on.
South Cardiff were edging the first half, helped by some wayward passing from Toronto despite Blake Glennie and Roberts looking to make something happen. Troy Runge nearly fired the Gunners ahead late into stoppage time in the first half but fired wide and the two sides went in locked at nil all.
The two sides came out at halftime, and put on a delight of a second half – there were chances aplenty, and it really was end-to-end stuff. Roberts was on fire on the afternoon trying to get on the scoresheet to mark his 100th game appearance but missed two chances early in the second half, and Dan Morgan headed wide for the Stags.
Brett Cowling fired a header at the keeper and a well-struck half-volley went wide as the second half wore on, and Michael Bru and Roberts both fluffed 1 on 1 chances to put the Stags ahead in the 74th and 78th minutes.
Blake Glennie nearly finished off a chance right in front for the Stags, but it was a goalmouth scramble in the 90th minute that raised the roof at Lyall Peacock Oval. The ball, from a corner, fell nicely to Dan Morgan who rifled a hard shot into a mass of bodies in the box resulting in an own goal.
That wasn’t the end of the afternoon though – South Cardiff bombed back up the field and would win a penalty in the first minute of stoppage time much to the delight of the travelling fans. Denis Fajkovic stepped up and nearly fired a hole in the net with his shot – but the referee had adjudged one of his Gunners teammates to have encroached on the area.
Fajkovic stepped up again, and got under his penalty and watched it – and the match – fly over the bar. Heartbreak for the Gunners, but a well deserved and much-needed win for Toronto.
“I think we definitely deserve that win over the ninety, we were always worried but they’re [South Cardiff] are a good side and we’ll build from that,” Toronto Awaba coach, Adam Routledge said.
“Happy to get the win for Nick Roberts, he could have one or two himself… Robbo is what Toronto Awaba is all about, he’s a good competitor and a good club man.”
New Lambton FC 4 (Casey, McLure, Ihlow x2) defeated Singleton Strikers 2 (Luther OG, Hall)
Sunday 9th April, 2:30 pm
A ten-man New Lambton came from behind to steal victory from Singleton in their first match at Alder Park in 2017.
It took only eight minutes for Singleton to open the scoring away from home after Brad Millar rifled a low cross that didn’t pose a whole lot of danger, but a miscue from New Lambton skipper Dan Luther sent the ball into his own net and gave Singleton an early advantage.
Millar was looking dangerous for the Strikers, firing over and forcing a good save from Eagles keeper Keegan Pulik before Singleton had a golden opportunity to go ahead in the 24th minute.
Former Singleton man Zane Hand chopped down a defender in the box in a challenge adjudged cruel enough to warrant a red card and a penalty to Singleton. Youngster Nathan Hall stepped up to take the penalty but had his shot saved by Pulik in the New Lambton goal.
To add insult to injury, it was only four minutes later when New Lambton struck through Josh Casey to make it 1-1.
Both sides had their chances to take the lead as the first half wore on, Joe Civello for Singleton and Riley Taylor for the Eagles but neither could make it count and the two sides went into the sheds level.
Taylor nearly had a goal not long after half-time, but it was Nathan Hall who got the first goal of the second half – a low shot past Pulik in the New Lambton goal to return the advantage to Singleton.
A collision in the box just after the 60th minute earned New Lambton a penalty and the chance to square the ledger once more – converted well by Matt McLure to make the scores 2-all.
Not long after the Eagles would take the lead thanks to a well-struck set piece. A Nick Pepper corner floated into the box and was turned in by the head of Alex Ihlow, who made the score 3-2 with twenty minutes to play.
It was mostly New Lambton for the remainder of this one, and Ihlow put the nail in Singleton’s coffin with a goal in the 83rd minute to make the score 4-2 and securing a well fought victory for the Eagles.
New Lambton coach Andrew Packer was pleased following the result.
“It was great when you compare it to the week before, we needed a massive response and we got it,” Packer said.
“To get the result with 10 men is very important for us, one we know what we’re capable of with a man down and just belief within the group.
“Playing our first game at Alder Park was a part of it too, the ground looks great and the committee has done a fantastic job with the ground and to have it in that sort of condition is pretty good.”
Cessnock City 1 (Zechel) defeated by Wallsend FC 4 (Cousins, Milton x2, Coker)
Sunday 9th April, 2:30 pm
Wallsend bounced back to form with a resounding victory over a stuttering Cessnock side at Turner Park on Sunday afternoon.
Cessnock were asleep at the wheel throughout the first half and Wallsend had no hesitation in making them pay. Chris Gallagher handed 16-year-old Ty Cousins his starting debut and he repaid the faith early with the opening goal.
Trent Milton gave his side a two-goal buffer with a clinical finish later in the first half that gave Wallsend a 2-0 lead at halftime.
Cessnock coach Lino Gatti let his troops know how he felt at halftime, and they returned for the second half with a much-improved performance. Jason Zehcel nicked a goal early in the second half to halve the deficit, but it’d prove to be only a consolation.
Milton grabbed his second late in the game after some good work from substitute Ethan Coker. Coker managed a goal of his own after a spectacular solo effort – beating three players and placing his shot nicely into the top corner to make it 4-1 at full time.
Gatti was critical of his side’s efforts in defence following the result.
“We didn’t even turn up in the first half and we were poor from the start,” Gatti said.
“We struggled to defend, and all of the things I spoke about came home to roost right from the whistle… they needed my half time advice in the second half.
“Even though we conceded another two goals, the performance was a lot better and we actually competed rather than handing the ball over.
“We were the gift that kept on giving.”
Wallsend’s Chris Gallagher was pleased with the victory.
“The match went fairly well, Cessnock were a more experienced side to the one we played in the Heritage Cup,” Gallagher said.
“There were a couple of pretty decent players out there, but they just made a couple of crucial mistakes and we could’ve had a few more than the scoreboard showed.
“Discipline was a lot better than midweek, and overall a little less frustration from my end.”