Match of the Round
New Lambton 0-0 Thornton
Thornton co-coach Scott Winslade said Thornton’s 0-0 draw with New Lambton was one of their best performances of the season so far.
The Redbacks held the NEWFM Northern League One leaders scoreless at Alder Park on Saturday to secure their third match in a row unbeaten.
Thornton shuffled their deck against New Lambton, leaving Jake Millsteed on the bench as Winslade and co-coach Gary Wand came up with a tactical plan to blunt the high-flying Eagles.
Trent Partridge and Lachlan Webb impressed in the middle of the park for Thornton, as did their defence as they limited New Lambton’s chances in windy conditions.
“It was a really good point, actually,” Winslade said.
“The boys were given very specific jobs to do to try and stifle the way they play and they actually did it really well.
“We limited them to either shooting from distance or sort of half chances. It was a bit of a chess game. They were trying to push on and we played a bit more on the counter but we did it well.”
It was the Redbacks’ first point away from Thornton Park this season and it could have been more had Sam Rossi taken one of the best chances of the match, with the defender’s volley from a whipped free kick crashing into the crossbar after 10 minutes.
As well as extending their unbeaten run, Winslade was most pleased with the clean sheet. Thornton have now not conceded since the 30th minute of their win over Wallsend, about 240 minutes ago.
“We’re not too worried about the goals coming in because we’ve got players who can score and we feel like we’re working it out,” Winslade said.
“But that point keeps our momentum going. We’re consistently getting points again and the division is so close.
“It was a tough day. The wind was literally blowing straight across the pitch for most of it. Obviously we tried to keep it on the floor but it wasn’t easy. It’s about confidence and I think we’re the first team to stop [New Lambton] scoring all year. So that should give us plenty of confidence.”
New Lambton remain top of the table on goal difference despite the draw, with the Eagles still retaining two matches in hand on Belmont Swansea United.
The Eagles will look to get back to winning ways when they host Singleton in their rescheduled round seven clash on Wednesday night before traveling to Turner Park to face Cessnock City on Sunday.
It is also a big week for Thornton, who host Toronto Awaba on Wednesday night before backing up to welcome Kahibah to Thornton Park on Saturday.
Singleton 1-1 Belmont Swansea United
Singleton took another giant step towards finals football after securing a 1-1 draw with Belmont Swansea United on Saturday.
The Strikers fell behind to an own goal at Howe Park before Singleton captain Hayden Nichol equalised from the penalty spot with 15 minutes to play.
The point saw Singleton slip from third to fourth but, more importantly, the Strikers have added to their growing confidence having competed so well against the 2019 champions.
Singleton coach Brendan Slade set his team the goal of reaching the finals this season, the first time in more than 20 years the Strikers would have achieved the feat.
And another impressive result against BelSwans only added to his belief that the goal was attainable.
“I was most pleased that the boys stuck to our formation. We haven’t changed it all year and it has been working really good,” Slade said.
“What we work with is that we attack and defend as a team. It’s a pretty big workload for everyone to do but that has been our game plan.
“We’ll take a huge amount of confidence out of that. BelSwans have been really successful for a number of years. It was good that we competed so well especially in the second half. That was very pleasing as a coach.
“The confidence out of that game is going to help us a long way to try and make the semis. There’s still six or so games to play. As I said at the start of the year, now is the time to decide whether we are we going to be contenders or pretenders. Our focus has been on one game at a time all season and that will continue but hopefully come round 15 we are [in the finals places].”
Slade missed the game due to work commitments but paid tribute to Nichol and striker Joel Barner who were among Singleton’s best.
It was a particularly pleasing result for Slade who was Mick Stafford’s assistant coach at BelSwans last season after Slade had left West Wallsend.
The draw saw Belmont Swansea remain in a share of the lead with New Lambton, with BelSwans to look to get back to winning ways when they travel to The Gardens to face bottom of the table Wallsend on Sunday.
Singleton will turn their attention to their rescheduled round seven clash with New Lambton on Wednesday night before enjoying a bye in round 10.
Cooks Hill United 3-2 West Wallsend
Cooks Hill United produced one of the comebacks of the season so far, coming from two goals down to beat West Wallsend 3-2 at Fearnley Dawes Athletics Field on Saturday.
The Bluebells led 2-0 at half-time thanks to Joshua Carroll’s brace within six minutes midway through the first half.
But the hosts refused to quit, with captain Daniel Johnson pulling a goal back 10 minutes after half-time.
Nick Russell then equalised with 20 minutes to play before Russell scored the winner in the 86th minute.
It was a bitter blow for West Wallsend who could have climbed to third with a win.
For Cooks Hill, the 2019 premiers are now unbeaten in their last five matches and have climbed to sixth, one point out of the top five.
They also hold two matches in hand on the Bluebells and Toronto Awaba and one match on Kahibah in the battle for finals places.
Cooks Hill will now turn their attention to an away clash with the Stags on Saturday.
West Wallsend will look to pick themselves back up when they host South Cardiff at Johnston Park on Sunday.
Wallsend 2-4 Toronto Awaba
Toronto Awaba kept in touching distance with the top five with a 4-2 win over Wallsend on Sunday.
The Stags trailed 1-0 at half-time but four second half goals were enough to secure a valuable three points, leaving them one point outside the top five alongside Kahibah and Cooks Hill United.
The defeat for Wallsend left them rooted to the foot of the table.
Toronto Awaba will back up to face Thornton on Wednesday night before hosting Cooks Hill at Lyall Peacock Field on Saturday.
Wallsend host Belmont Swansea United in their round 10 clash on Sunday.
South Cardiff 1-3 Cessnock City
Cessnock City climbed to third with a 3-1 victory over South Cardiff on Sunday.
The Hornets took advantage of Singleton’s draw with Belmont Swansea United to consolidate their place in the top five as they look to make a charge towards the finals.
It was the start of a busy week for Cessnock, who host West Wallsend on Wednesday night before welcoming top of the table New Lambton to Turner Park on Sunday.
South Cardiff missed the chance to climb into the top five with a win, instead remaining two points out of the finals places in ninth.
The Gunners will look to bounce back when they travel to Johnston Park to face West Wallsend on Sunday.