Match of the Round
Wallsend F.C (11th) vs West Wallsend (3rd)
Sunday, May 5th, 5:15 pm, The Gardens
The NEWFM Northern League One is nearing the halfway point of the season, and this round is set to deliver some enormous fixtures that will have a flow-on effect towards the rest of the competition.
Round 9 is highlighted by another blockbuster edition of the Wallsend derby set to be hosted by the Red Devils under lights this Sunday.
Both teams sit at opposite ends of the table, however, the home side had a breakthrough performance against Cooks Hill last round to give them a new sense of confidence.
West Wallsend have been the form side of the competition in recent weeks with their latest victory a 7-0 thrashing of Singleton with striker Tye Jones sitting on top of the goalscorers list with nine goals to his name.
The Bluebells have won three of the past four derbies with Wallsend’s latest triumph against their arch-rivals coming at the back end of the 2017 season.
Both coaches will be undertaking their first derby while the Bluebells will also welcome back captain, Jarrod Olivieri for the match.
The Red Devils led twice against Cooks Hill in their previous game and coach Jesse Pryce is hoping for more of the same against West Wallsend.
“Expecting it to be a tough fight for 90 minutes, won’t be easy but if the boys can produce something very similar to the Cooks Hill game, I’ll be happy with that as we are striving for consistency,” Pryce said.
“The determination the guys showed and wanting to give everything we had is what we want.
“Few guys are 50/50 to play but I would love to play the same team.”
West Wallsend are a part of the chasing pack behind Cooks Hill at the top of the table and a win would seem them strengthen their position, however, coach Brendan Slade is wary of a motivated Wallsend side.
“Should be a great game, they (Wallsend) just had a great result and will be up for this one,” Slade said.
“We’re just going to take it one game at a time and work on improving those little things in training.”
Cooks Hill United (1st) vs South Cardiff (4th)
Saturday, May 4th, 2:30 pm, Fearnley Dawes Athletic Field
Round 9 kicks off with an absolute mammoth, top-four showdown between Cooks Hill and South Cardiff at the Fearnley Dawes Athletic Field this Saturday.
The result could have potential ramifications on the premiership with both side’s boasting two strong squads capable of inflicting damage while both firmly sit within the top four.
Cooks Hill picked up a draw in their latest result but are back at home where they haven’t dropped a point all season while the Gunners will be raring to go after their 6-0 demolition of Cessnock City in the previous round.
The Gunners, Sam Ford, has been in fine form after netting a hat-trick against the Hornets and is expected to be the danger-man while the black and white will be boosted by the return of pre-season signing, Martin Raines from injury.
The two clubs have had some intense battles over the years with the Cookers winning two of their last four against Saturday’s opposition while South Cardiff knocked over the minor premiers 2-1 at the start of last season.
A win for Cooks Hill could go a long way towards retaining the minor premiership, although, coach Graham Law said he’s preparing for another tough game.
“In the context of the league, it’s bigger for them then it is for us but they’ve got some dangerous players and it was only a matter of time until they clicked,” Law said.
“We’re very comfortable at home and we know our own strengths and we want to win every game.
“Everyone’s available for the first time this year as Martin Raines picked up some minutes against Wallsend.”
South Cardiff are on a hot-winning run at the moment and captain-coach, Denis Fajkovic said he expects this game to have a significant effect on the standings.
“The game is important as the competition is so tight, we know Cooks Hill well and their strengths but we have picked up good results in previous years against them,” Fajkovic said.
“Like all other teams that rise to another level to play us, Cooks Hill will be no different and they will be up for it and we expect them to be at their best.”
Singleton Strikers (8th) vs Belmont Swansea United (2nd)
Saturday, May 4th, 2:30 pm, Howe Park
Round 9 continues with another excellent match-up between Singleton and Belmont-Swansea at Howe Park.
The Strikers got off to a great start to season 2019 but have floundered in recent weeks to now be sitting in 8th while Belswans found their winning touch against New Lambton last round after a string of mixed results.
The defending premiers will come in as favourites due to boasting a superior defensive record having only conceded seven goals so far while the Strikers have leaked sixteen.
However, the Strikers have proven to be somewhat of a bogey side for Belswans in the past having knocked over the champions last year 1-0 at Howe Park before a 1-1 draw later in the 2018 campaign.
Injuries have tormented Singleton at times this season while coach David Willoughby is quietly confident of turning around their form.
“Expecting them (Belswans) to be very well organised, we will have to be at our best to get a result.
“We need to be more diligent in defence, we’ve conceded seven times from set pieces and we need to be stronger there but we’re looking forward and not back.
“Our players know their roles and we will be going for the three points.”
The win over New Lambton put Belswans back to within five points of Cooks Hill and they’ll be wanting to keep in touch with the leaders with a victory.
Coach, Mick Stafford, said he’s expecting a stern test against the Strikers.
“Always a tough away trip to Singleton, in my eyes they’re a quality side and the lads will be ready to roll up their sleeves to find a result.”
“We do have a few injuries out of the New Lambton game, which is unfortunate but our squad has good depth this year, so the young boys that get an opportunity know the expectations of the group and will add value on game day.”
New Lambton (6th) vs Thornton Redbacks (5th)
Saturday, May 4th, 4:30 pm, Alder Park
New Lambton will host Thornton Redbacks at Alder Park in what is expected to be another tight encounter.
The two side’s sit close on the ladder with only a point separating them while a victory for either side could potentially lift them into the top four.
Both teams are two sides who have had no trouble scoring goals in 2019 to set up a potentially thrilling encounter, with the Eagles scoring 12 so far while the Redbacks have knocked in 14.
The away side hold the edge over their upcoming opponent in previous fixtures with a 2-1 success at the back end of last season after a 1-1 draw earlier in 2018.
The Redbacks will be without a couple of key stars up front in Jye McKellar and Dan Toohey, however, Coach Gary Wand is aiming for another strong performance.
“We’ll give a couple of guys a go from our Under 23’s team including James Kymetyk who’s been the 23’s captain and deserves a chance,” Wand said.
“They’re a decent side New Lambton, they’re a younger side like us so it will be tough.
“We always want to be thereabouts and we also want to be peaking at the right time but I always look at being consistent and try and pick up another clean-sheet which I think will be massive for us.”
A win for New Lambton would see them leapfrog the Redbacks on the ladder although, Eagles coach, Jim Foley, said he knows it won’t be easy.
“Thornton will be a serious challenge for us at this time, as we search for some confidence boosting consistency,” Foley said.
“We will approach this game in a positive manner with minimal selection changes.”
Cessnock City Hornets (10th) vs Kahibah F.C (7th)
Sunday, May 5th, 2:30 pm, Turner Park
Cessnock and Kahibah will do battle this Sunday for a chance for both to move up the table with a win over a close rival on the standings.
The Hornets have only recorded the sole victory this season but will want to rectify their latest performance which was a 6-0 drubbing at the hands of South Cardiff, while Kahibah returned to winning ways in Round 8 with a 2-1 triumph over Singleton.
Both teams sit in the bottom half of the table however a win could propel either side up the ladder while installing much-needed confidence heading into the half-way point of the season.
Cessnock will take confidence due to winning the latest game held between the two at Turner Park with a 2-1 success after a 1-1 draw earlier in season 2018.
The home side has struggled in attack in 2019 with only five goals to their name while Kahibah is the next best with 11 goals, however, both teams will be determined to pick up a valuable three points.