Match of the Round
Belmont Swansea United 3-0 West Wallsend
A Joel Nicholson hat-trick inside the opening 25 minutes handed Belmont Swansea United an impressive 3-0 victory over West Wallsend on Sunday.
The reigning champions backed up their win over premiership rivals New Lambton with a strong first half effort at Blacksmiths Oval, highlighted by Nicholson’s treble.
The 20-year-old striker opened the scoring when he kept his nerve after being played through one on one with the Bluebells’ goalkeeper.
Nicholson doubled his tally shortly after thanks to good work from Clayton Poole, who squared for Nicholson to finish a counterattack.
Nicholson completed his hat-trick inside the opening 25 minutes with a neat tap in from a corner to give the hosts a 3-0 lead, an advantage they would not relinquish.
“[Nicholson is] a BelSwans junior. He’s been at the senior club for five or six years now. He’s scored a bucketload of goals in the lower grade and now he’s finally getting his chance in the top grade,” Belmont Swansea coach Mick Stafford said.
“He’s showing the true potential that we’ve known he had. He’s a good kid with a good attitude and the kind of thing we want to see more of, bringing through these talented young local guys.
“He wants to be here for the right reasons. There’s plenty more to come from him.”
Already 3-0 down approaching half-time, it was always going to be difficult for the Bluebells to mount a comeback. But the task became even more difficult when West Wallsend’s Tye Jones was shown a straight red card for a challenge just before the break.
Stafford was delighted with the result having nominated West Wallsend as one of the best three teams in the competition prior to the game.
But he was less than pleased with the overall performance of his side, which Stafford said still had plenty of improvement in it.
“It was a good win without us being great,” Stafford said.
“I thought we were at our best at times. Early on we were good. But in the end I thought we just did what we had to at the right time to get the result.
“In that context [given how highly I rate West Wallsend] I would have taken that result any day of the week. But they lost a player at about the 40th minute. To not roll on with the job in the second half was pretty disappointing.
“I know we’ve got more in us.”
BelSwans did suffer a blow of their own with Poole suffering a potentially serious quadriceps injury.
The result saw Belmont Swansea climb to second place, level on points with New Lambton at the top of the table.
West Wallsend meanwhile slipped to eighth after the defeat.
BelSwans will now turn their attention to Saturday’s clash against Kahibah. West Wallsend face a tough trip to Cessnock to face the Hornets in their rescheduled round five fixture on Wednesday night before backing up to host Toronto Awaba on Sunday.
Thornton 3-2 Wallsend
Thornton earned their first win of the season on Saturday, coming from behind to score a last-gasp 3-2 victory over fellow strugglers Wallsend at Thornton Park.
The Redbacks trailed 2-0 inside the opening 15 minutes before pulling a goal back just before half-time when Patrick Wand scored from the penalty spot.
The hosts then equalised with five minutes to play when Jake Millsteed headed home.
But just when it appeared the teams would have to share the points, Zac Skippen converted from a goalmouth scramble following a corner to give Thornton a thrilling victory and break Wallsend hearts.
Thornton coach Gary Wand gave credit to Wallsend and said his side had enjoyed a much-needed change in fortune to get back into the game.
“We were 2-0 down early on and got a lucky penalty. It was pretty dubious but we’ll take it. But as I said to the guys at half-time, maybe it was the change of luck we needed,” Wand said.
“If we had conceded [that penalty] I would have thought it was tough.
“The game was two bottom teams playing each other desperate to win. We conceded early goals again and full credit to Wallsend they did well. And they kept trying to play. Our guys fought very hard.”
Having lost key players Ryan Broadley (injury) and Jye Mackellar (unavailable) from their squad, Thornton were desperate for something to go their way.
And while it was a great moment for the Redbacks, Wand couldn’t help but feel for Wallsend and opposing coach Craig Tslembis.
“You would have thought we’d won the comp [the way we celebrated],” Wand said with a laugh.
“But automatically you wear your coach hat. I felt for them. Wallsend are a good young side that are building. As soon as we scored our second it had draw written all over it.
“It was unfortunate for Wallsend that we scored again and then it was basically full-time. But I spoke to Craig after the game and he just said ‘that’s football.’”
The result lifted Thornton to ninth, while Wallsend remain at the foot of the table having suffered four defeats from as many games.
Wallsend will have another chance to get their season kickstarted when they host South Cardiff at The Gardens in their rescheduled round one fixture on Thursday night.
The Red Devils will then make the tough trip to Turner Park to face Cessnock City on Sunday.
Thornton face a tough away test themselves against Cooks Hill United on Saturday.
Toronto Awaba 2-0 Cessnock City
Toronto Awaba have climbed into the top five after producing an impressive 2-0 win over Cessnock City on Saturday.
The defeat was Cessnock’s first of the season, with the loss seeing the high-flying Hornets slip from a share of first to fourth.
The Stags, fresh from their first win of the season against Thornton, built on that momentum with their second win in a row to sit in fifth place.
Steve Piggott’s side travel to Johnston Park on Sunday, looking to make it three consecutive wins when they take on West Wallsend.
Meanwhile, Cessnock will look to bounce back with a tricky double header at Turner Park.
The Hornets host West Wallsend in their rescheduled round five clash on Wednesday night before backing up to welcome a desperate Wallsend on Sunday.
Kahibah 0-7 New Lambton
New Lambton launched themselves to the top of the NEWFM Northern League One table with a 7-0 thrashing of Kahibah at Kahibah Oval on Saturday.
Josh Williams opened the scoring for the visitors after four minutes before Riley Taylor doubled the advantage midway through the half.
Williams had his second on 34 minutes before a Heath Kepreotes own goal five minutes before half-time gave the Eagles a 4-0 lead at the break.
Luke Jovcevski made it 5-0 midway through the second half before a late Kallum Garbett own goal made it 6-0.
New Lambton weren’t done though, with Taylor adding his second and the Eagles’ seventh in added time.
The dominant victory saw New Lambton climb to first, ahead of Belmont Swansea United on goal difference.
The Eagles host Singleton in their round seven clash on Saturday, while Kahibah will look to bounce back when they host BelSwans on Saturday.
South Cardiff 0-2 Singleton
Singleton climbed to third with a 2-0 victory over South Cardiff at Ulinga Oval on Sunday.
The Strikers are in sight of the competition lead thanks to another impressive three points away from home, while the defeat saw the Gunners slump to 10th.
Singleton will face a test of their credentials when they travel to Alder Park to face league leaders New Lambton on Saturday.
South Cardiff have the chance to get their season back on track when they play Wallsend at The Gardens on Thursday night in their rescheduled round one fixture.