It was a long-awaited win for Singleton's Under 19's as they overcame fellow winless side Toronto-Awaba 2-1 in a bottom-of-the-table clash at Howe Park on Thursday night. The Strikers' 19's obviously won't make the finals as it's a long way to the top four but at least they've broken their winless streak. The same can't be said for the Stags who are now 0 from 10 for the season.
Toronto-Awaba's form slump in the Under 17's continued with a 6-2 loss to a resurgent Singleton at Howe Park. The Strikers have picked up wins over Thornton and now Toronto in recent times and a finals spot certainly isn't off the cards just yet if they can start stringing some results together.
*Note: Let me know if any of the ladders on the 'Ladders Newcastle Football' page aren't correct as it's very hard to keep up with all the catch-up games. Fox Sports Pulse are missing a fair few fixtures across the New-FM 1st Division so my site is the only place to find a correct ladder at the moment.
NNSW NPL Results (Thursday Night)
Under 22's: Hamilton 1-1 Lambton
Under 19's: Hamilton 3-1 Lambton
Zone League Three
1st Grade: Mayfield 2-2 Edgeworth
The points were shared in what was a high-profile clash at Darling Street. The refereeing I've heard was questionable for both sides but the teams couldn't be split. Jobe Wheelhouse scored his second goal in a week to send the visitors to half-time with a one goal lead. Kane Goodchild found the back of the net again for Hamilton and from the report I heard the home side were unlucky not to get more than a draw out of this one. Olympic will be disappointed as a win would have seen them potentially steal top spot from Magic.
This was built as an important game for both these sides and it was the Gunners who came out victors as they fired themselves to their maiden win in 2015. The 3-1 result lifts South Cardiff above Charlestown on the table and the Blues should now be a bit concerned about their poor form.
It's a hugely important game on the weekend for Charlestown as they meet bottom-side Maitland in what is essentially a 'six-pointer' by all means. More on that in the NPL preview either tomorrow or Friday. A big win tonight though for South Cardiff.
I'm going to be a bit harsh here, I predicted Edgeworth to win this game four-nil so this scoreline comes as no surprise. To Maitland's defence, Edgeworth are a decent side but the Magpies must turn things around and soon if they're to avoid dropping back to the New-FM competition next season. I'll go into more detail in the weekend's preview.
I'm not going to lie, as a Cooks Hill player and supporter it was tough seeing the 1st grade boys go down 4-1 at Thornton Park but full credit to the home side who made the most of their chances and came away with a very important victory after a late loss on the weekend to the Belswans.
Cooks Hill came out firing and could have easily been up 1 or 2-nil within the first few moments if not for poor finishing. Thornton struck not too long into the game against the run of play and took a vital early lead. It wasn't a confident lead as the Cookers dominated the majority of play in the opening half-hour.
The return of main man Peter Pryce added to the already pacey Cooks Hill attack and Pryce was unlucky not to put his name on the scoresheet, creating a few chances throughout the match. The equaliser came from a skillful Jackson Pett run and a neat finish. The left winger rounded two defenders and slotted home a much-needed goal for the visitors.
Thornton struck again just before half-time and I'll be honest I think it came from a foul throw-in. The linesmen on the near-side to the benches had a shocking night and was letting a few players slip offside and the throw-in in question was just a poor decision.
Cooks Hill's players stopped for a short moment to dispute the throw-in and that's when Thornton would strike. A through-ball to a player I think was maybe a tad offside created a one-on-one chance and gave Thornton a 2-1 lead going into the break.
The second half was a much different story to the Cooks Hill-dominated first half. The home side began to create more pressure and it paid off as they were rewarded a penalty. The penalty-taker (sorry for not being able to get a hold of the names for the Redbacks) slotted it home past Cooks Hill keeper Kaia Roth and put the Redbacks up 3-1.
Cooks Hill threatened a few more times but fell apart late on as they realized the game was slipping away from them. Thornton scored a fourth which all but ended the game. The visitors created one or two late chances which forced Thornton's keeper to pull off two fine diving saves.
A big win for Thornton and I can say their defending was top-class once they grabbed a two goal cushion. 'Parking the bus' may not be everyone's favourite tactic but the Redbacks starved Cooks Hill of any real meaningful space and it seemed for every black and white shirt there were three or four red shirts around that area.
Cooks Hill will bounce back though and they'll like their chances against an out-of-form Cessnock on the weekend. If one or two more passes would have stuck tonight I think the Cookers would have scored a couple more goals but it wasn't to be. Thornton are now 9th and will have the weekend off with a bye.
In the 23's, Cooks Hill pulled off what was arguably their biggest win of the season as they ended the only undefeated streak left in the Under 23's competition, defeating Thornton in a seven-goal thriller. I got to the game a tad late and didn't really catch any of the first half but the second half was very fun to watch.
Thornton had a 3-1 lead at the break but were stunned by a spirited Cooks Hill comeback during the second half. The visitors started to get the best of Thornton's defence and Adrian Higgins made the Redbacks pay as he buried three goals to seal an unlikely victory (apologies if it wasn't Higgins that got a hat-trick but I'm pretty sure it was).
One of the goals came from a goalkeeper assist. Darren Gledhill booted the ball downfield and found Higgins who brought the ball down, shrugged away the Thornton defender marking him and slotted the ball into the net. Very enjoyable goal to watch from the sidelines.
A big win and a much-needed win for Cooks Hill's 23's whilst Thornton will be wondering where it all went wrong and will no doubt look to utilize the bye-weekend to rest up and prepare for their next outing.
On a personal note I was impressed with the ground and the people at Thornton. The volunteers working there were friendly and the ground itself was in top-notch condition. I've been to Blacksmiths and Kahibah in recent weeks and Thornton is my pick of the bunch, a really nice ground with trees all round providing a nice backdrop and 10/10 for the old school picket fence.
I can't go on enough about how big this victory is for the Toronto-Awaba side. After just one win all season, the Stags travelled to Howe Park and faced an in-form Singleton side and won. They're still last but the win at least gives them some joy and some hope before what is a huge test against Lakes on the weekend. For Singleton it's a bit of a comedown after what has been an impressive run over the last few weeks. They'll like their chances against Belmont-Swansea on the weekend though.
Talking about much needed wins, Singleton's Under 23's finally recorded their maiden win of the season on Wednesday night. After coming close in recent weeks to snagging a couple of draws, the Strikers' 23's stepped it up a notch and recorded a 3-1 win over Toronto. Suddenly the Strikers can see a chance to lift themselves off the bottom of the table.
Another Wednesday night, another big victory for the Kahibah football club, this time a convincing 3-0 result against struggling Cessnock City. The Greens and Blacks were too good for the Hornets and now overtake Lakes into the third position.
I'll let you take that in for a moment, a promoted side that finished 9th in the ZPL last season is now 3rd in the New-FM 1st Division. Yes I know it's good recruitment that has gone a long way but full credit to Kahibah and Wallsend. Two promoted sides in the top four in any competition is impressive.
With a catch-up game in hand and if Valentine slip up on the weekend, Kahibah could soon be pressuring for top spot with the form they're currently in. They've still got to play their washed-out fixture against Lakes which I still think is a test I'm not sure they'll be able to handle. Good job Kahibah nonetheless.
In the 23's, Cessnock City remained in 2nd position with a 2-1 victory over a decent Kahibah side. The Hornets kept pressure on Valentine at the top of the table with their sixth win of the season whilst Kahibah see their recent purple patch halted and remain in sixth position.
Finally a goal for Barnsley! And not just a goal but a 2-2 draw with Garden Suburb in their catch-up game on Wednesday night. No it's not a win but it's a confidence-booster for Barnsley and it helps get them off of the big fat zero in the competition points column.
After a shock loss on the weekend to Warners Bay, Cooks Hill's ZL1 team bounced back to form with a 2-0 win over the Stockton Sharks in Wednesday night's catch-up game. A lot of people were tipping this Cookers side to win the comp and until last weekend it was looking a possibility. This result proves that this team are a real chance of finishing top.
The Cookers ZL1 side have a top-four clash with Kotara South on Saturday afternoon and I may try and make the second half as I finish my game around 3:30. I wouldn't mind catching some Zone League football.
*There was a Zone League Two game tonight between University and Muswelbrook that ended three-nil to University. Apologies for not having the graphic ready or a proper review but the result moves Uni up to 2nd place ahead of a trip to Medowie on the weekend.
It was a goalfest at Wallsend as the Red Devils' ZL3 side rocketed to a 7-2 victory over a lacklustre Jesmond side. The big victory lifts Wallsend to second ahead of a crucial trip to take on the RAAF side on the weekend whilst Jesmond will be pleased they have the draw this weekend as it gives them a chance to recalculate and come back bigger and better next time out.
No result yet for the Under 17's match-up but I was messaged the result for the 19's and wasn't going to write about it until tomorrow but another message from a player for Cessnock made me decide to put this review up tonight.
It was another heavy defeat for the Hornets' 19's but as I suspected they've been short of players and forced into having Under 17's step up to fill in the gaps. Backing up after a weekend match against a side that had the weekend off is not an easy task.
I think I read that only one of Cessnock's players was actually 19. It's not all bad for the Hornets as I think playing up a year or two can help build experience and despite having a struggle this season, the players who'll no doubt stick around and play 19's next season will be adapted well.
Make no doubt this was a big win by Kahibah. You could say they were ruthless and now as a result, suddenly find themselves just four points outside the top four.
It's not all doom and gloom for Cessnock as they did hold a very decent Valentine side to a draw on the weekend and will host Cooks Hill this Sunday, a side they've already beaten this year albeit back in Round 1.
Thornton's Under 19's pulled off a big upset over top four side Cooks Hill United, winning 2-1 and boosting themselves into seventh position with their fourth win of the campaign. Suddenly the Redbacks are potentially eyeing off a top four spot. They've got the bye this weekend whilst Cooks Hill travel to Cessnock.
Thornton's had a tough year in the 17's and it continued on Tuesday night with Cooks Hill easing to a 6-1 victory, their biggest of the season. After back-to-back losses, the Cooks Hill 17's are now back in the top four and importantly improved their goal differential.
Thornton have a week off to re-think their strategy (although like Cessnock they too might be short of numbers) whilst Cooks Hill will no doubt like their chances against the Hornets on Sunday.