Thursday, 7 May 2015

PREVIEW: New-FM 1st Division Round 10

Kickoff Times: 17/s: 9:15am-19/s: 11am-23/s: 12:45pm-1st: 2:30pm

1st Grade: Lake Macquarie City (3rd) v Singleton (9th)

This could be Singleton's toughest test of the season as they come against a very dangerous Lake Macquarie City side that have had a few weeks off and coming off the back of their first loss of the season to promotion rivals Valentine last time out. The Roosters will no doubt be keen to get back into form.

Singleton have lost their last four in a row, including three at home but they weren't too far off the pace in a pair of recent 3-2 losses to both Wallsend and Kahibah. Whether or not they can keep Lakes to within one goal is a different story as the Roosters have been in superb goalscoring form at home this year.

Lakes have scored 22 goals in four home games this season and only the most one-eyed Singleton supporter would back against the 3rd-placed team here. Lakes should be too strong as they look to re-enter the promotion race.

Under 23's: Lake Macquarie City (3rd) v Singleton (11th)

I don't think I need to go on too much about this one. Singleton's 23's have just one point to their name in 2015 and it came all the way back on the opening day. Since then they've lost five in a row and now have to meet a Lakes side that are aiming to bounce back from a heavy 6-2 loss to Valentine a few weeks back.

The Roosters' 23's should be too strong, despite the fact that they lost their last match. The Singleton 23's haven't shown enough this season to allow me to confidently back them on Saturday.

Under 19's: Lake Macquarie City (4th) v Singleton (11th)

Lake Macquarie's Under 19 side won their first three games of the season but since then have gone through over a month and a half of frustrating draws, losses and wash-outs. They'll be very keen to get back on the park on Saturday and do battle with an out-of-form Singleton side.

The visitors haven't won in six outings this year and unless something changes, they'll most likely be on the end of another loss this weekend. Lakes need this win to consolidate their spot inside the top four and I can see them getting over the line without much trouble.

Under 17's: Lake Macquarie City (1st) v Singleton (7th)

The Under 17's are the only Singleton side that have won more than one game this season but it still doesn't change the fact that they've lost two of their last three and are up against the only side in all four grades of the New-FM competition that have won every game this season. 

Lakes' 17's put eight past Valentine last time out and put five past an in-form Cooks Hill side and it wouldn't surprise me at all to see them put a half-dozen or so past Singleton on Saturday morning. Harsh prediction yes but can't go past the ladder leaders.

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

Kickoff Times: 17/s: 9:15am-19/s: 11am-23/s: 12:45pm-1st: 2:30pm

1st Grade: Belmont-Swansea (7th) v Cooks Hill United (5th)

A few people are calling this the match of the round and looking over the other fixtures, I can't help but agree. This should be an entertaining clash between two sides that are looking to boost themselves up the table with a crucial win in Round 10.

I've enjoyed watching Cooks Hill play throughout the season and it's certainly great to see the club I play for finding success in the New-FM competition. This will be my first away New-FM game and I'm keen to see what these two sides can produce at Blacksmiths on Sunday.

This will be my second trip to Blacksmiths after watching a late night State Cup clash between Magic and the Jaffas two years ago. It was freezing that night so I'm hoping Sunday will produce a nice clear sunny day. 

Anyway onto the actual match now and the Belswans are a very dangerous side at the moment. They're out of form and winless since Round 3 but unlike a couple of the other teams that are letting in four goals every week, the boys from Belmont-Swansea have only conceded three in their last two games.

In the only match played in Round 8, Belmont-Swansea went down 2-1 to Wallsend and whilst it was another loss, they did manage to keep one of the competitions form teams within one goal. 

As for my prediction I can't go past a Cooks Hill side that put Toronto-Awaba to the sword in their last outing. I read a piece yesterday where Cooks Hill coach Warren Spink was showing high-praise for his side's top goalscoring threat Peter Pryce.

I've been to a few games at the Athletics Track and Pryce has been super impressive in front of goal. After a slow first couple of games, the Cookers seemed to have changed their style a little bit and are now playing a very entertaining and pacey game. The wingers got the best of Toronto last time out and if they do the same on Sunday it'll be another win. Cookers for mine.

Under 23's: Belmont-Swansea (5th) v Cooks Hill United (6th)

This is a very crucial game for both sides as a win could take either team into the top four on the Under 23's table. Cooks Hill's 23's put four past Toronto last time out but a facing a Belswans side that put two heavy 5-2 losses behind them with a 1-1 result against Wallsend last time out.

This one is a tough one to predict but going on their last few results, Cooks Hill are probably the team to back here. Beating Toronto 4-1 is better than drawing with Wallsend 1-1. I wouldn't be surprised by anything in this game but it's the visitors I'm backing for the win.

Under 19's: Belmont-Swansea (2nd) v Cooks Hill United (3rd)

A top four clash between two decent sides could very well be the match of the day in the lower grades on Sunday. Belmont-Swansea's Under 19's have been super impressive this season and hold the record for biggest victory of the season with an 11-1 victory over a lacklustre and depleted Cessnock a month or so ago.

Cooks Hill will be no easy test for the 2nd-placed Belswans. The Cookers' 19's have not lost since the opening round and they're the only team to beat the ladder-leading Valentine so far in 2015. Whether or not they can hand the Belswans their first loss is another question. I'm going to go for the draw here in what should be an entertaining clash.

Under 17's: Belmont-Swansea (8th) v Cooks Hill United (2nd)

Belmont-Swansea's Under 17's were gallant in defeat last time out against Wallsend but face a tougher test this weekend when 2nd-placed Cooks Hill visit Blacksmiths Oval. The Cookers' 17's have only lost one game this season and that was against the ladder-leading Lakes side.

One thing Cooks Hill will need to overcome is their away form. They're winless in two away matches this year but honestly the only thing that's stopped them from winning an away game has been the weather. I'm pretty confident they'll get their first away win of the season this weekend.

Cooks Hill's 4-0 win over Toronto sent the Stags crashing out of the top four and they need a win here to stay in touch with Lakes at the top of the table.

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

Kickoff Times: 17/s: 9:15am-19/s: 11am-23/s: 12:45pm-1st: 2:30pm

1st Grade: West Wallsend (4th) v Thornton (10th)

I had a few doubts about West Wallsend after their 6-0 hammering at the hands of Valentine a few weeks back which of course followed a Good Friday loss to arch rivals Wallsend the week before. To their credit they bounced back with a 2-0 result on the road at Cessnock last time out.

Thornton still have some wash out games up their sleeve and would have been disappointed not to be able to take the field against Cooks Hill mid-week. They've got a huge test on the weekend and whilst I can't tip them to win it, I think they'll put on a decent display.

West Wallsend can consolidate their spot inside the top four with a win and could potentially re-enter the race for the top spot depending on other results. This is an important match for the Bluebells and I think they'll get the points.

Under 23's: West Wallsend (10th) v Thornton (4th)

The Under 23's at Thornton are getting the job done compared to the other sides and they're up against a struggling West Wallsend side on Sunday. The Bluebells have just one win to their name all year and it was only a 2-1 win over fellow strugglers and arch rivals Wallsend.

Thornton were held to a disappointing draw last time out against Kahibah but I believe they'll bounce back to winning form against Westy this weekend. They'll need all three points if they want to stay inside the top four.

Under 19's: West Wallsend (7th) v Thornton (8th)

It's the time of year when wins for mid-table teams really start to affect the shape of the season. Both these sides need to start building some form and there's no better time to start that than their clash on Sunday morning at Johnston Park.

West Wallsend's last outing was an impressive win over Cessnock whilst Thornton were outdone by Kahibah at home. With that in mind I'm going to back to home side to get the job done. They seem to be in slightly better form and being a home game they'll be keen not to drop points to a team below them on the table. 

Under 17's: West Wallsend (5th) v Thornton (11th)

In what could very well be the most one sided match of the day, the struggling Under 17's side from Thornton will clash with West Wallsend in the opening match of the day at Johnston Park. Westy's youngsters have won three straight games and they should be making it four straight on Sunday.

Thornton copped an eight goal defeat by Kahibah last time out and whilst I don't think this match will produce a goalfest like that one, I still can't see the Redbacks getting anything out of it on the weekend.

My Tips:
1st Grade: West Wallsend 3-1 Thornton
Under 23's: West Wallsend 0-2 Thornton
Under 19's: West Wallsend 2-1 Thornton
Under 17's: West Wallsend 4-0 Thornton

Kickoff Times: 17/s: 9:15am-19/s: 11am-23/s: 12:45pm-1st: 2:30pm

1st Grade: Toronto-Awaba (11th) v Kahibah (6th)

First of all, Toronto-Awaba played a catch-up game against Valentine last night and I still haven't received word from that result. I may or may not add something to this preview depending on that result when the scores filter through.

Anyway, the Stags aren't hitting the heights they should be in 2015 and are up against a Kahibah side that have found form on the road over the last month and are still yet to play on Kahibah Oval after their mid-week game with Cessnock was cancelled due to the state of the pitch.

I've decided it's about time to give Kahibah a nickname as I always use team's nicknames in my previews. I'm going to call them the Greens. That works. Anyway the Greens have pulled off away wins at Singleton and Thornton over the last month and will be keen to continue that good form.

Toronto-Awaba are in the exact same boat as the teams from both Singleton and Thornton so it's not too hard to put my money on Kahibah here. The Greens are starting to gel and a win here would take them closer to a spot in the top four and could even see them leapfrog fellow promoted side Cooks Hill.

Update: Toronto lost their catch-up game with Valentine 3-1.

Under 23's: Toronto-Awaba (8th) v Kahibah (7th)

Another Toronto side that played last night against Valentine and again I may change my preview depending on that result. As it stands Toronto's last win in the 23's competition came all the way back in Round 2 and against a Kahibah side that are unbeaten in their last two, this will no doubt be another tough test for the Stags reserve side.

This one is a hard one to call but going off the last few results, it's tough to go past the visitors. Toronto were ordinary in a 4-1 loss to Cooks Hill a few weeks back and unless something changes they'll probably be on the end of another defeat this Sunday.

Update: Toronto's 23's lost their catch-up game with Valentine 3-1.

Under 19's: Toronto-Awaba (10th) v Kahibah (9th)

The Under 19's match at Lyall Peacock on Sunday is not a very tough one to predict. Toronto's 19's have not scored in their last two and have let in five goals in that time whilst Kahibah have won two straight away games over the last month. Those stats give me enough reason to back the away side here.

Under 17's: Toronto-Awaba (6th) v Kahibah (4th)

Two sides that will be keen to get back out on the field after a a few weeks of wash-outs will meet in what should be an interesting clash on Sunday morning. The Stags 17's have led the way for their club this season so far and were in good form until they went down 4-0 to  Cooks Hill in their last outing.

Kahibah's 17's will provide another tough test for the young Stags and with a defence that's only conceded three goals in five games and an attack that's averaging four a game, I can't see the Stags getting over the line against the visiting Kahibah side. 

My Tips:
1st Grade: Toronto-Awaba 1-3 Kahibah FC
Under 23's: Toronto-Awaba 1-2 Kahibah FC
Under 19's: Toronto-Awaba 1-2 Kahibah FC
Under 17's: Toronto-Awaba 0-3 Kahibah FC

Kickoff Times: 17/s: 9:15am-19/s: 11am-23/s: 12:45pm-1st: 2:30pm

1st Grade: Cessnock City (8th) v Wallsend FC (2nd)

I'm not sure on the ruling if Wallsend can be promoted to the NPL or not (I believe they can't) but their a serious threat to Valentine at the top of the table. The Red Devils have won five straight games and if they can overcome the Phoenix and perhaps Lakes as well in the return games in the next few months, they could potentially finish on top.

I'm jumping the gun a bit but five wins in a row says a lot about the Wallsend football club. They recruited some big names locally, including Dave Hodgson and Chris Gazzard and with Hodgson and Paul Wheeler finding some goalscoring form recently, the Red Devils are without doubt the most successful of the three promoted clubs so far.

As for my prediction for this game, the Hornets lost their last game at home to West Wallsend after pulling off an upset win on the road at Blacksmiths the week before. I can't see Cessnock troubling the 2nd-placed Wallsend side too much on Sunday. Defence will be key in what should be a low scoring clash.

Under 23's: Cessnock City (2nd) v Wallsend (9th)

It's essentially a reverse of the first grade fixture as 2nd placed Cessnock clash with 9th placed Wallsend in the Under 23's competition. The Hornets' 23's have only failed to win once all year and that was a 2-2 draw against fellow top four side Thornton in Round 2.

Wallsend have found their feet in recent outings, a 2-0 win over Singleton was followed with a 1-1 draw with Belmont-Swansea. I can't see the Red Devils' 23's getting over the line on Sunday however. Cessnock have been strong all year and I expect that to continue.

Under 19's: Cessnock City (5th) v Wallsend (6th)

It's very hard to make a call on this game as Wallsend's only played once in five weeks and Cessnock have had two draws and an 11-1 defeat. Crazy form to make a prediction on but I'm going to have a crack at it anyway.

The 11-1 loss was not a true reflection of Cessnock's side and I'm confident they would have had players out or injured or something. You don't just suddenly cop a 10 goal hiding and then bounce back the week after. Wallsend on the other hand were impressive in their last outing which was a 4-1 win over Singleton.

I'm going to split the two and go for the draw. I'm not confident enough to tip either team to win so the stalemate sounds like a good prediction. Hopefully a few goals as well.

Under 17's: Cessnock City (10th) v Wallsend (3rd)

Wallsend's Under 17's would have been disappointed to let Belmont-Swansea get without a goal of them in their last but will be full of confidence going into this clash against a struggling Cessnock side. The young Hornets did stem a bit of bleeding on their goal difference in a 4-2 loss to West Wallsend but a win against Wallsend is not something I'm confident in tipping.

Wallsend have a stronger junior base than Cessnock and it's obvious on the league table. The good news for Cessnock though is that they've essentially got no pressure on them. All the pressure is on Wallsend with a top four spot potentially their's if they win it which I'm backing them to do.

My Tip:
1st Grade: Cessnock City 0-2 Wallsend
Under 23's: Cessnock City 3-1 Wallsend
Under 19's: Cessnock City 1-1 Wallsend
Under 17's: Cessnock City 1-5 Wallsend

Still To Come:



NRL, A-League and AFL Tips Also Tomorrow

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