Tuesday, 31 March 2015

New-FM 1st Division Tips-Round 5

1st Grade: West Wallsend (1st) v Wallsend (5th)
Kickoff: 2:30pm

A smart move by the federation scheduling New-FM games on Good Friday and even smarter to make it the Wallsend derby. The ladder-leaders play hosts to their arch rivals and are the favourites but the Red Devils are in some form after winning their last two games.

The history between these two sides should be enough to spur the teams into putting on an entertaining, physical match-up. This will be the biggest test yet for the newly-promoted Wallsend side. West Wallsend got a big 4-1 win over Belswans last week and I think they should get the job done on Good Friday.

Under 23's: West Wallsend (11th) v Wallsend (10th)
Kickoff: 12:45pm

The Under 23's match could very well be the opposite of the first grade. Both these teams are struggling after the first four rounds. Westy were unlucky not to get anything out of a 3-2 loss to Belswans last week whilst the Red Devils have conceded nine goals in two weeks. I think it'll be a draw here.

Under 19's: West Wallsend (6th) v Wallsend (7th)

Looking at the table, the Under 19's clash looks like it could be a tight one and a crucial one at that. Both sides are mid-table and need three points to avoid falling too far behind the top four. Westy got beaten by a very strong Belswans 19's side last week whilst the Red Devils beat Thornton. My tip here is a win for the away side.

Under 17's: West Wallsend (6th) v Wallsend (3rd)

The 17's clash could very well be a high scoring one as two teams that scored a combined 11 goals last weekend clash in the opening match of the day. I'm not really sure which way to go here but I'll go for a West Wallsend win.

My Tips:
1st Grade: West Wallsend 3-1 Wallsend
Under 23's: Draw 1-1
Under 19's: West Wallsend 1-2 Wallsend
Under 17's: West Wallsend 3-2 Wallsend

1st Grade: Lake Macquarie City (3rd) v Belmont-Swansea (4th)
Kickoff: 2:30pm

Another big clash, this time at Macquarie Field where Lakes take on the visiting Belswans. It's third vs fourth in the 1st Grade and after having the bye last week I think the home side will be fired up and hopeful of adding onto their tally of 17 goals in three games. 

Belmont-Swansea met their match against West Wallsend last week and they'll need to raise their game if they want a result against Lake Macquarie City. If current form rings true, this should be a high-scoring game. Lakes are a strong outfit that are early season favourites for promotion and I can see them overcoming Belswans on Friday.

Under 23's: Lake Macquarie City (4th) v Belmont-Swansea (2nd)
Kickoff: 12:45pm

Belswans are above Lakes on the Under 23's table and managed to keep their unbeaten start alive last week against West Wallsend with a 3-2 victory. A week earlier Lakes beat Westy 3-0 at the same venue so with that in mind I'm backing the home side to get the job done and jump Belswans on the table.

Under 19's: Lake Macquarie City (4th) v Belmont-Swansea (1st)
Kickoff: 11:00am

Belswans Under 19's squad are the best team in the whole of the New-FM competition based on the league table. They're the only team to have won four from four. Lakes are in fourth position and won their last game 3-1 but I can't see them getting past a strong Belswans side.

Under 17's: Lake Macquarie City (2nd) v Belmont-Swansea (9th)
Kickoff: 9:15am

I can think of better places to be at 9:15am on a Autumn Friday morning than Macquarie Field but I guess for the 17's it'd beat a day at school. Lakes have the chance to temporarily jump Cooks Hill into top spot with a win and I'm backing them to get over the line.

My Tips:
1st Grade: Lakes 6-2 Belswans
Under 23's: Lakes 3-1 Belswans
Under 19's: Lakes 2-4 Belswans
Under 17's: Lakes 3-0 Belswans

1st Grade: Singleton (8th) v Valentine (2nd)
Kickoff: 2:30pm

 The biggest road trip in the entire New-FM competition is the one between Singleton and Valentine. This Sunday the Phoenix make the 83.7km trip from their home of Cahill Oval to Singleton's Howe Park. Singleton have not played at home so far due to the final weeks of the cricket season and open their campaign at Howe Park with this match-up.

Road trip aside, Valentine should get the three points. They couldn't get past Kahibah last weekend and probably won't do it with ease against Singleton but I was on hand to watch the back end of Singleton's game last week and they didn't look that good to be honest. They may fire up and get a home win but Valentine is my tip.

Under 23's: Singleton (9th) v Valentine (6th)
Kickoff: 12:45pm

Singleton are yet to register a win in the 23's whilst Valentine have been indifferent in their four matches. The Phoenix 23's were superb in round 1 but fell to losses against Cooks Hill and Thornton. They bounced back to form with a 4-1 victory over Kahibah last week and they're my tip to do the same this time round.

Under 19's: Singleton (11th) v Valentine (2nd)
Kickoff: 11:00am

Singleton's 19's are the worst of the Strikers' New-FM sides so far and sit last on the league table. To be fair they did concede only twice last week after letting in 11 during their opening two matches before the bye. I can't go past the Phoenix here. It's a tight top five in the 19's and three points can keep Valentine in good form.

Under 17's: Singleton (8th) v Valentine (7th)
Kickoff: 9:15am

I feel sorry for those Valentine 17's that have to make the long trip up to Singleton on Sunday morning. Personally I'd rather be at home smashing open some easter eggs than having to get up at the crack of dawn to make the 80km trip to "Singo" but at least it's to play a soccer match.

Onto my prediction and this game is a very tough one to call looking at recent results. Valentine have a huge junior base and their 17's would be expected to do well but that hasn't been the case. It took them four weeks to record their first win of the season. 

Singleton on the other hand put six past a hapless Cessnock but were beaten last week by top of the table Cooks Hill. I'm going to back a draw here. I simply can't split them.

My Tips:
1st Grade: Singleton 0-3 Valentine
Under 23's: Singleton 1-3 Valentine
Under 19's: Singleton 0-2 Valentine
Under 17's: Draw 1-1


1st Grade: Kahibah (10th) v Cessnock City (7th)
Kickoff: 2:30pm

This game will be played at Belmont-Swansea's home ground of Blacksmiths Oval due to Kahibah Oval receiving some treatment to the turf. Off topic a little I actually played on Kahibah's field last year and was impressed and I'm playing there again this year too so I'm looking forward to that trip.

Onto this game and Cessnock gained a much-needed win against lowly Toronto-Awaba last weekend and can maybe steal a spot in the top four with a win here barring other results. Kahibah on the other hand kept Valentine to a 2-2 draw last week and will be hungry to record their first New-FM division win.

I'm going to back the home side. A lot of things were said about Kahibah in the pre-season. They've recruited well and will surely start picking up some wins sooner rather than later. I think win number one is coming this week.

Under 23's: Kahibah (7th) v Cessnock City (1st)
Kickoff: 12:45pm

This one should be routine for Cessnock's Under 23 side. They're in good form, on top of the table and facing a side that conceded four last week against Valentine. Kahibah's 23's have lost their last two on the trot and I think a third straight defeat might be upon them at Blacksmiths Oval.

Under 19's: Kahibah (10th) v Cessnock City (3rd)
Kickoff: 11:00am

Cessnock's Under 19's have scored nine goals in their last two and face a struggling Kahibah side who are without a point from three starts. Looking back on past results, Kahibah were smashed 7-3 by Belmont-Swansea at Blacksmiths three weeks ago and I'm predicting another tough day for them this Sunday at the same venue.

Under 17's: Kahibah (5th) v Cessnock City (10th)
Kickoff: 9:15am

Kahibah's 17's are the only Kahibah team sitting above the Hornets on the league table and if not for a 2-1 loss to Valentine last week they'd be occupying  a spot in the top four. Cessnock on the other hand have spiraled out of control over the last two weeks. 

If memory serves me correctly I remember hearing that some of Cessnock's 19's stepped up to 1st grade a few weeks back. That could mean the best 17's are playing up in the 19's leaving the 17's to struggle. All that aside, getting smashed for 14 goals in two games isn't the best look and hopefully for their sake the Hornets can bounce back a bit this week. I'm tipping Kahibah though.

My Tips:
1st Grade: Kahibah 2-1 Cessnock City
Under 23's: Kahibah 0-3 Cessnock City
Under 19's: Kahibah 1-4 Cessnock City
Under 17's: Kahibah 3-1 Cessnock City

1st Grade: Thornton (9th) v Cooks Hill United (6th)
Kickoff: 2:30pm

I'll be trying my best to get out to Thornton Park to watch this game. I may even get there a tad earlier and watch some of the lower grades but I'm looking forward to supporting my club away from home. 

Onto the game and Thornton are coming off the back of two straight losses away from home. This is their first home game of the season and I can only imagine that being due to the cricket (I may be wrong though). 

The Redbacks need to pick up some points but they face a Cooks Hill side that recorded their first ever 1st Division win last weekend. Based on recent form I'd back Cooks Hill but being a Thornton home game I'm a bit cautious of going against the Redbacks. That being said I'll take the plunge on Cooks Hill.

Under 23's: Thornton (5th) v Cooks Hill United (3rd)
Kickoff: 12:45pm

After a first up loss to Cessnock in Round 1, the Cookers 23's have fired themselves into some form. Three straight wins and averaging three goals a game in that time. However the Redbacks 23's are unbeaten in three starts and coming off a 4-2 victory at the Gardens last weekend.

It's a tough one to call but I'm going with the home side. Cooks Hill did win last week but it was against a winless Singleton and they only scored one goal. Thornton on the other hand are coming off wins over Wallsend and Valentine. It could go either way, it could go down the middle but I'm backing the Redbacks here.

Under 19's: Thornton (8th) v Cooks Hill United (5th)
Kickoff: 11:00am

The gap between the top half of the table and the bottom half is really evident on the New-FM Under 19's table. Cooks Hill are six points ahead of Thornton and have won three straight going into this match. The Redbacks have lost two on the bounce and haven't registered a goal in over 180 minutes of football. I'm going to back the away side here.

Under 17's: Thornton (11th) v Cooks Hill United (1st)
Kickoff: 9:15am

The only first v last clash of the entire round will open proceedings at Thornton Park. The Redbacks did draw with in-form Wallsend but it was the only success they've tasted this year in the U17's comp. They were smashed for five last week and copped four in their opening match.

Cooks Hill on the other hand are leading the way in 1st place albeit due to Lakes having the bye the last week but the Cookers have done very well to find some early season form. One goal was enough to get the job done against Singleton last week but I think they'll need a couple to get past Thornton. The Redbacks have not been kept scoreless yet in three games.

I'm confident Cooks Hill will win but I'm not sure how many they'll win by. Bagging a few would great going into next weekend's top of the table clash with Lakes.

My Tips:
1st Grade: Thornton 1-2 Cooks Hill United
Under 23's: Thornton 3-2 Cooks Hill United
Under 19's: Thornton 0-2 Cooks Hill United
Under 17's: Thornton 1-4 Cooks Hill United

*P.S, I made a new little tips/predictions graphic. I'm considering doing this sort of thing for the AFL and some other comps where I don't really want to write full previews at the moment.

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