HUNTER SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHY
Match of the Round
Belmont Swansea United 1 (Corey Wilson) def. New Lambton 0
Sunday, April 28th, Blacksmiths Oval
Belmont-Swansea has returned to the winner’s circle with a hard-fought 1-0 victory over New Lambton at Blacksmiths Oval.
The reigning champions came into this fixture of the back of two draws and a loss while the Eagles were coming off a win with both sides eager to consolidate on their high ladder position.
The home side would start the stronger with Cameron Lodge creating chances up front but couldn’t find the back of the net while defender Corey Wilson went close off a cross.
Belswans have lacked their usual spark in front of goal in recent weeks and this would continue as the opening half finished at 0-0.
New Lambton would hit their straps in the second half and have their own chances as Riley Taylor and Harry Benbow looked dangerous up top.
However, Belswans would soon break the deadlock with Wilson finding some space in the box after clever work from Reece Newton, to bury his chance and give the home side a 1-0 lead.
Belswans would hold onto their one-goal advantage to record a crucial victory and move back into second spot on the ladder.
The side now sits five points behind leaders Cooks Hill while coach, Mick Stafford, was pleased with how his team stuck to the task.
“We were very dominant in the first half and wasteful with our chances, but we stuck with it so credit to the boys on getting the three points,” Stafford said.
“We just tweak a few things every week and I wouldn’t change any of our players as I think we’re going really good.
“We’ll just take it week by week and try to work more on our finishing.”
New Lambton has slipped back to the 6th with coach, Jim Foley, adamant his side can play better.
“It wasn’t at a level we were hoping for, credit to Belswans as they made it very difficult as they have quality experienced and younger players,” Foley said.
“They were better on the day but we certainly held our own.
“I would love to be more advanced in our development but we’ve had a few interruptions and the club, as a whole, is in a very strong position with our junior base and men and women’s teams in particular.”
Thornton Redbacks 2 (Sam Rossi, Wade Attewell) def. Toronto Awaba Stags 0
Saturday, April 27th, Thornton Park
Thornton has recorded their third win of the campaign with a solid 2-0 victory over Toronto Awaba at Thornton Park.
The win was the first victory for the Redbacks on home soil while the Stags have now lost their fourth game this season to be sitting in 9th.
Sam Rossi and Wade Attewell grabbed the goals for the home side as the winners also recorded their first clean sheet this campaign while the goal for Attewell moves him to three for the season.
The Stags will serve the bye next round and will have two weeks to prepare for their clash against New Lambton while the Redbacks will also look to next weekend’s fixture against the Eagles away from home.
Thornton now sits just outside the top four on ten points and coach Gary Wand is happy with his team starting to find some consistency.
“We’re doing okay, two wins in a row now which is always good and it was probably our best defensive performance of the season so far as we had to be good in that area,” Wand said.
“Toronto kept coming and they’re a really good side so we had to be on our game.
“We’ve also picked up some injuries with Jye McKellar and Dan Toohey and we probably don’t have enough depth as we are missing a few experienced players.”
Kahibah F.C 2 (Jamie Hadlow, Matt Lee) def. Singleton Strikers 1 (Joe Civello)
Sunday, April 28th, Kahibah Oval
Kahibah has come from behind to down Singleton 2-1 and record their first home win since the back end of the 2017 season.
The Strikers started the better of the two and were gifted a goal when Joe Civello tapped home his fourth of the campaign and give his side a 1-0 lead.
Civello could’ve had a second minutes later, but the score would remain 1-0 at the break.
Kahibah were rejuvenated in the second half and started to apply their own pressure on the Singleton goal before Jamie Hadlow found the equaliser to make it 1-1.
The home side continued to probe for that elusive second goal and the winner would come through skipper, Matt Lee, who blasted home a stunning free-kick to hand Kahibah all three points.
The victors now sit on eight points in 7th and have critical games coming up against Cessnock and Cooks Hill to try and re-emerge into the top four.
As for Singleton, the Strikers have now slipped to a third straight loss to be sitting in 8th although the side have been battered by injuries and will look to try and turn their form around when they host Belswans in Round 9.
Wallsend F.C 2 (Wez Pryce, Trent Richards) drew Cooks Hill 2 (Jarryd Johnson, Jack Wilkinson)
Sunday, April 28th, The Gardens
Wallsend is now the first team to take points off ladder leaders Cooks Hill, after salvaging a dramatic 2-2 draw at the Gardens.
Both sides sit at the opposite ends of the table and the Red Devils were coming in as massive underdogs after some heavy defeats while the Cookers had won six games on the bounce.
The home side dug deep in front of their faithful at the Gardens with Wez Pryce and Trent Richards notching the goals while Jarryd Johnson and Jack Wilkinson scored for the black and white.
The draw will undoubtedly lift the spirits of the Wallsend camp and coach Jesse Pryce was delighted with the turnaround.
“We could have won the game as well as we had two one on ones but result-based it was great as it’s been a tough week so I couldn’t have asked any more from the boys,” Pryce said.
“Very pleased to take a point of the leaders, the guys should know now that we do have the ability to match it.
“It was getting a bit toxic, a few questions were being asked of us, but I think we can move past that and start to play the way we want to.”
Cooks Hill remains in first spot, although their lead is now reduced to five points and they’ve now got a tough run of fixtures coming up highlighted by this weekend’s massive showdown with the in-form South Cardiff.
Cookers coach, Graham Law, said they would take the draw but was full of praise for his opposition.
“Wallsend battled really hard, we had more than enough chances but were very wasteful, but Wallsend’s effort and work rate was commendable,” Law said.
“We’ve still got nineteen points from seven games and teams are entitled to defend, and we didn’t defend well so we’ll take the point.
“We know every game is tough and we’ve got a hard run of games coming up against South Cardiff, Kahibah and then Belswans so we’ll be focused on those games.”
South Cardiff Gunners 6 (Sam Ford x3, Aaron Gunn, Riley Taylor, Own Goal) def. Cessnock City Hornets 0
Sunday, April 28th, Ulinga Oval
The final game of Round 8 saw South Cardiff score their biggest win of the season as they eased to a 6-0 victory against Cessnock City on their Old Boys Day at Ulinga Oval.
The win sends an ominous warning to the rest of the competition as the Gunners have now started the find their stride with three successive victories.
Sam Ford was the star of the show as he picked up the match ball with a hat trick while Aaron Gunn and Riley Taylor also hit the back of the net.
The loss is a reality check for the young Hornets side after last week’s stunning win, as the team now sits in 10th spot on the ladder although they will have a chance to redeem themselves when they take on Kahibah at Turner Park next round.
The Gunners would have been jubilant with their impressive showing and captain-coach Denis Fajkovic said the players are starting to fulfil their objectives.
“We do really work hard to improve, the win is another where we proved to ourselves that if we do what we work so hard on, there are rewards in it for us, “Fajkovic said.
“The Hornets was an important win and the scoreline blew out a bit but the most pleasing thing was we stuck to our game plan for an even longer period of time.”