PHOTO: Valentine Sports Photography
Match of the Round
New Lambton FC 2 (Casey 75’, Benbow 80’) defeated Wallsend FC 1 (Williams 51’)
Sunday 22nd April, 2:30 pm at Alder Park
It was better late than never for New Lambton as they came from behind in a stirring victory over Wallsend at Alder Park on Sunday afternoon.
Wallsend’s Kyle Macorig fired the first chance of the match over the bar in the 5th minute, before a Nic Pepper ball into the box at the other end that was nearly turned in by Wallsend defender Rowan Davison – his header had to be dealt with by James Wand in goal.
In a game played in the midfield, much of the half was devoid of chances. Pepper fired a chance over the bar on the 38th and Wallsend’s best opportunity of the half came just four minutes later. A good run in behind and a cut back from Trent Milton found Jackson Pett at the top of the box, but he screwed his shot wide.
New Lambton had an opportunity to go ahead just before the break; a Matt McLure ball over the top found Luke Maloney, but the striker couldn’t control his shot and it was dealt with by the Wallsend defence to leave the two sides level at the break.
New Lambton captain Dan Luther didn’t return for the second half – reportedly due to respiratory problems in the half time interval that left him gasping for air. An ambulance took Luther from the ground and he appeared to be in a slightly better shape as he left.
The situation in the New Lambton sheds evidently had their minds elsewhere and it only took Wallsend six minutes to take advantage – Matt Williams turned in a Wallsend foray forward to make it 1-0 to the Red Devils.
This sparked the Eagles into action – Riley Taylor and Zane Hand both put chances over the bar, and New Lambton dominated possession as they searched for an equaliser.
Justin Maddalena almost put the ball in directly from the corner and he played a huge part in the next passage of play. The substitute hit a sweetly struck ball from 25 yards out which thundered into the crossbar and Josh Casey was on hand to turn in the rebound and level the scores at 1-1 in the 75th minute.
New Lambton were ploughing forward in search of a winner and they found success in the 80th minute. The ball reached full back Harry Benbow who drove a speculator at goal from 40 yards out – and with the help of the underside of the bar, crossed the line and put the Eagles up 2-1.
Wallsend began to bomb on in search of an equaliser, but it was New Lambton with the better of the chances in the final ten minutes – Maddalena put a shot over the bar, Wallsend ‘keeper James Wand nearly fumbled one over his own line and Matt McLure couldn’t control his shot. In the end, the missed opportunities didn’t matter as the Eagles secured all three points at home.
Eagles coach Andrew Packer was pleased with the come-from-behind victory.
“We knew it was going to be tough, the boys showed some good character,” Packer said.
“I felt like at home, we should be going forward and being very direct and that’s what we did… we just overplayed it in the first half.
“Harry’s strike was great, he can knock them in and he scores a lot of them at training… the great thing about it was we made sure of it, we turned it in despite the refs call.”
Wallsend coach Chris Gallagher wasn’t downtrodden despite the result.
“Disappointed, we played well in the first half but we lapsed in concentration… a bit of consistency from everybody on the park would’ve been good,” Gallagher said.
“We sat back a bit after the first goal but it wasn’t a tactical thing, it was the boys’ mindset… every time we get a goal we seem to sit back rather than going for the throat.
“There’s a bit of fire in the belly in the sheds, so hopefully we can start getting some of that out on the park.”
Cooks Hill United 4 (Gallagher 22’, 49’, Lewis 57’, Ramspott 81’) defeated Thornton Redbacks 2 (Subat 15’, McAllister 17’)
Saturday 22nd April, 2:45 pm at Lake Macquarie Regional Football Facility
It was a real Jekyll and Hyde performance from Thornton on Saturday, as they blew an early lead to crash to defeat against an inspired Cooks Hill.
Thornton have been without a start in eleven days, and they came bounding out of the blocks in this one, dictating much of the play. Nathan McAllister fired two early shots at the goalkeeper and turned provider soon after. A tricky flick found Jamie Subat in behind the defence and Subat made no mistake in finishing past Jake Hamilton in the Cooks Hill goal – it was 1-0 to Thornton just fifteen minutes in.
The Redbacks doubled their advantage just two minutes later after some good work down the right-hand side. Winger Jack Halverson, who made space for himself and fired in a cross. The ball wasn’t dealt with by the Cooks Hill defence, and Nathan McAllister pounced to score his seventh of the season and make the score 2-0 Thornton.
The game was almost put beyond the Cookers’ reach in the 20th minute after some good hold up play from Subat helped him reach Halverson, who blazed his shot over the bar.
Cooks Hill would make them pay two minutes later when a deep Nick Russell cross found the head of captain Cal Gallagher, who directed his header into the far corner of the goal to make it 2-1.
The game began to even out after Gallagher’s goal, as Cooks Hill started to come back into the fold. Daniel Johnson fired his shot over in the 24th minute, while Nick Russell flashed a chance wide in the 29th minute.
Daniel Clements had a golden opportunity in the 41st minute to square the ledger before halftime, but he couldn’t find a finish past Drew Olsen in the Thornton goal and the score remained 2-1 at halftime.
Cooks Hill were on the up toward the end of the first half, and drew level just four minutes into the second half. Cal Gallagher seized on an opportunity after Thornton failed to deal with a corner and finished emphatically to bring the score to 2-2.
It was a different Cal who’d put the Cookers into the lead just eight minutes later, but without the work of Gallagher it wouldn’t have happened. The captain found Callan Lewis with an insightful ball, who worked hard and finished well to make it 3-2 and give his side the advantage for the first time in the match.
Lewis turned to villain in the 65th minute after an off the ball incident with Thornton’s Josh Benaquista, which left the centre back crumpled in a heap on the synthetic and earned Lewis a straight red and left his side a man down.
Thornton looked to push high to make the most of their man advantage, and they nearly pulled level in the 72nd minute – a Liam Penglaze cross found McAllister in the box, whose shot beat Hamilton but thundered into the bar and was cleared away.
Nick Russell fired a golden opportunity to put the game out of reach straight at the ‘keeper in the 76th minute, but it was Jonas Ramspott who’d put the game out of Thornton’s reach. The big German rose at the back stick from a corner and headed home to give Cooks Hill an unassailable 4-2 lead. Thornton pushed hard, but couldn’t find a way through, and 4-2 was how it finished.
Cooks Hill coach Graham Law was delighted after his side’s come from behind win.
“It’s all the boys, we’re really happy with that result,” Law said.
“I said to the boys at halftime we’re the better team, but once we worked out how Thornton were playing they just did their jobs.
“Once we went down to ten, the game didn’t change and the way we played didn’t change… that’s a good result for me because that shows how deep my squad is, I had four players out that would usually start today.”
Thornton boss Darrel McAllister was disheartened after his side blew the chance to maintain their perfect record.
“Disappointed to lose that one, we had a good chance to go three ahead early on and then conceded a bit of a soft goal,” McAllister said.
“We spoke at half-time about some of the dramas they were causing us but we weren’t able to fix them, and within nine minutes (into the second half) we’ve lost our lead.
“Mentally, our enthusiasm wasn’t there and we have to ask the boys to have a think about their performance and where the issues are, but it’s a major concern.”
West Wallsend SFC 1 (Andrews 66’) defeated Singleton Strikers FC 0
Saturday 22 April, 2:30 pm at Johnston Park
West Wallsend rained down on the Singleton goal and got the one that counted to hand them their second win of the 2017 season.
The Bluebells started the better of the two sides, Ryan Cole flashed a shot wide in the third minute he was found with a nice ball through from Jared Olivieri in the midfield.
Some trickery from a free-kick in the sixth minute ended with West Wallsend’s fullback Brad Andrews flashing his attempt over the wall and just wide; a surging run into the box just three minutes later from Andrews seen him unleash a furious shot toward goal, but not close enough.
Olivieri was doing all he could to get his name on the assist list, swinging in a nice ball from Cole in the 15th minute but Cole again fired his shot wide.
Some sloppy passing from Singleton’s Jackson Skinner allowed Dom Langowski to intercept and find Sam Holt in between the Strikers defence, however, he too fired wide.
West Wallsend continued to push throughout the rest of the first half and into the second and enjoyed the majority of the possession and the chances into the second half also.
Brad Andrews had two chances to put his side ahead in the first half, and in the 66th minute had another – this time he made no mistake. A one-two in his own half and a surging run past a handful of Singleton defenders followed up by a strike that worked its way under Stuart Plant in the Strikers goal and nestled itself in the back of the net to give West Wallsend a deserved 1-0 lead.
A Brad Millar ball over the top shortly after found Bowen Bagnall, who directed his pass to Michael Bruzzese but a tricky bounce meant he couldn’t get his shot under control, and it dribbled harmlessly into the side netting.
Some intense pressing from Bruzesse almost paid dividends in the 79th minute, he hassled the West Wallsend defence and a deflection from him found the feet of Joe Civello, but some proactive goalkeeping from Zac Park denied last week’s hat-trick hero a chance to level the scores.
A Tyler Felsch cross-cum-shot almost found its way into the side of the net in the 89th minute, but ultimately Singleton couldn’t find their way into the back of the net and West Wallsend stuck it out to claim a much needed 1-0 victory at home.
With Gary Rowe serving a suspension for a sideline outburst in his side’s round six loss to Thornton, assistant coach Jason Taylor ran the Bluebells on the day.
“It was a good all-round effort from the boys, to grind out a good hard win,” Taylor said.
“I was mostly pleased with their attitude, commitment and discipline… that’s something (discipline) that’s gotten us into trouble, but on Saturday it was pleasing to see they played the whole 90 minutes.
“Of course we’re disappointed we weren’t able to capitalise on our early chances, we made the game harder than it had to be but in saying that, it’s good that we created those chances and if we can work on converting them, I think we’ll be okay.”
Singleton coach David Willoughby believed that the boys kept “the ball reasonably well but didn’t move it well enough to generate any scoring opportunities.”
“West Wallsend had a number of chances but they weren’t necessarily good chances… they got themselves into good areas, but only had two opportunities where they should have scored – we had three.
“We didn’t deserve to win, but I don’t think we deserved to lose either,” Willoughby concluded.
Kahibah FC 0 defeated by South Cardiff FC 1 (Tapp 4’)
Sunday 23rd April, 2:30 pm at Kahibah Oval
There were chances aplenty but there was only one that counted at Kahibah Oval on Sunday afternoon when South Cardiff shot into second place with a win over Kahibah.
Southy made the early breakthrough in this one – a Zac Tapp goal in the fourth minute put the Gunners ahead 1-0.
Both sides had a swag of chances throughout this one, and despite the close scoreline, each side had more than one opportunity to change the result.
Most notably was a glaring miss from Jamie Hadlow in the 71st minute, blowing the opportunity to get his side back into the contest. It proved costly, as the game finished 1-0 in the Gunners’ favour.
South Cardiff player-coach Denis Fajkovic was stoked with the victory after the match.
“Pretty happy with the result, away matches are never easy and Kahibah is quite a big field to play on,” Fajkovic said.
“We battled, stuck to our game plan and got an early goal with plenty of more chances to get another goal… it was impressive to see the boys hold on for the whole game, that doesn’t happen often.
“The boys keep on proving they’re a pretty resilient bunch and at times we had to dig deep, it wasn’t a pretty win but overall we stuck to our game plan, Kahibah do try to play football… I think we nullified them pretty well.”
Kahibah coach Andre Gumprecht was frustrated his side failed to capitalise on the chances they created.
“Disappointed with the loss, but have to congratulate Cardiff because they were very well organised and they were hard to break down,” Gumprecht said
“Their early lead obviously helped them because it meant we had to chase the game… we created enough chances but we were evidently denied through some good defensive work and a bit of luck that went against us.
“We haven’t got long to dwell on the result, we have a match on Wednesday night so it’s difficult because we can’t go out and train and work on what we have to improve on…but we have the opportunity to redeem ourselves and get ourselves back on track.”
Toronto Awaba 4 (Roberts 41’, 58’, Davis 62’, McKay 71’) defeated Belmont Swansea FC 3 (Marcus 54’, 68’, Perry 92’)
Sunday 23rd April, 2:30 pm at Lyall Peacock Oval
It was a shock victory for Toronto at home on Sunday afternoon as they battled and took all three points in a high scoring affair against Belswans.
It was Toronto who’d strike first through captain Nick Roberts, after a handball on the goal line seen Belswans defender Steele Harvey sent from the park and a penalty awarded in Toronto’s favour. The tall centre-forward converted a penalty to give his side the lead in the 41st minute.
Belswans got one back shortly after half time through striker Tega Marcus in the 54th minute, but Toronto won another penalty and captain Nick Roberts stepped up one again and made no mistake from the spot, to put his side back in front with a 2-1 lead in the 58th minute.
Josh Davis gave his Toronto side a two-goal buffer four minutes later, scoring to take the score to 3-1. Belswans managed to nab a goal back in the 68th minute through Tega Marcus and make it 3-2, but winger Nick McKye popped up to score the sixth goal of the afternoon in the 71st minute and put Toronto back out in front by two goals – 4-2.
Belswans grabbed a third goal in the 92nd minute to make it a nervy finish for the Stags, but they held firm to claim a famous 4-3 victory and their second of the season, which lifts them five points clear of Cessnock in last place.
Toronto coach Adam Rutledge was ecstatic with his side’s second win of the year.
“Very happy at the moment, we did really well and I think it was the second or third time we’ve played out the full 90 minutes,” Rutledge said.
“Never good to leak three goals, we’ve been leaking way too many goals which is definitely a problem for us at the moment but we scored more and missed a handful of one on ones.
“We did well, it got to 1-1 after halftime, we’re getting good at giving away goals lately but the boys dug deep and got the job done, which was good.”
A notable absence for the Stags was playmaker Michael Bru – on the bench across town for Charlestown City Blues in their Playstation®4 National Premier Leagues clash with Lambton. Rutledge was disappointed but understanding of Bru’s departure.
“Bruey left… he wanted to play first division, it’s disappointing to lose him because he’s a good fella and a fair player too, but I wish him the best of luck.”