Thursday, 14 May 2015

REVIEW: Wednesday's NPL & New-FM Catch-Up Games

Lambton recorded their second win of the season on Wednesday night with a convincing 3-1 victory over Charlestown City at Arthur Edden Oval. The visitors lacked for firepower with Scott Smith missing from the line-up. Tom Smart put the home side ahead in the first half after a defensive slip-up.

Daniel Bird put Charlestown back on level terms in the 36th minute but it wasn't long until the home side capitalised on more poor defending with Alex Palozzi scoring just moments after the equaliser.

The Jaffas controlled most of the second half and sealed the three points with a Riley McNaughton goal just before full-time. Charlestown remain seventh whilst the Jaffas climb to within a point of the top four. The Blues I think are one of three teams who'll be fighting to avoid the drop to New-FM (along with South Cardiff and Maitland). They're not showing too much right now but honestly it's early days and things can change. 

The Jets Youth's impressive start to the 2015 season continued on Wednesday night with a 4-2 victory over Maitland at Cooks Square Park. Doubles to Radovan Pavicevic and Antonee Burke helped fire the young Jets into second place on the table whilst it's another home loss for a Maitland side that will certainly be starting to worry about their chances in this competition.

The Magpies are yet to record a win in four starts, including three home matches and with a game against Adamstown this weekend, it's hard to see Maitland hoisting themselves from the bottom of the table at the moment. It's still very early in the season but they certainly can't keep losing.

It was a chilly night at Kahibah Oval for this one but I was excited to see two promoted sides go head to head. The 23's match saw Cooks Hill go down 1-0 to a Kahibah side that got the best of the visitors in the second half. Kahibah built on their recent form and did enough to get over the line. The Cookers showed some good signs but ultimately couldn't scrape a result.

In 1st grade I thought the home side were outplayed in the first half. Cooks Hill were fluent and controlled possession. Both sides had chances to score but it would remain scoreless at half-time. Kahibah came out stronger in the second half and began to create a few more chances than the visitors.

Kahibah were trying to go long a few times during the game and eventually pulled off the perfect long ball. Their wide attacker broke away from Cooks Hills' right back and slotted it past the keeper. The visitors pushed for an equaliser but couldn't make the most of their chances during the match.

I was impressed with the class of Andre Gumprecht in the centre of Kahibah's defence. The big German was commanding, physical and very audible as he helped steer his side to a clean sheet. Having players like that in Newcastle's 2nd tier is only going to help boost the standard in the competition.

The visitors were gallant but were unable to string passes together in the second half. Missing top goalscorer Peter Pryce played a part but ultimately Kahibah made the most of their chances. I thought Jackson Pett was decent tonight on the wing and young Kaia Roth was strong again between the sticks. 

Cooks Hill will now take the weekend off with the bye whilst Kahibah host Lakes in a big clash on Sunday afternoon.

It was a mixed night at Macquarie Field on Wednesday with a goalless draw in the Under 23's being followed by a goalfest in 1st grade. The 23's result didn't do any favours for either teams as they both missed a good chance to heap some pressure on Valentine at the top.

Lakes bounced back to form in both the winning department and the goalscoring department as they hoisted themselves into third position. Conceding three goals at home isn't something that's normally acceptable but when you put six in the net I guess it isn't really a problem.

Lakes are now four off the top spot and firmly back in the promotion race after a shock loss to resurgent Singleton on the weekend.

Thursday Fixtures:
Under 17's: 6:15pm
Under 19's: 8pm

Singleton's first home win of the season was an emphatic one as they brushed aside Thornton 5-nil at Howe Park. The Strikers backed up from a huge win over Lakes on the weekend and in the space of five days have now picked up six valuable points and wiped away a minus seven goal differential.

It's a great time to find some form with a backlog of catch-up games taking place and if the Strikers continue this form a finals spot could be on the cards with half a season still to play. It's a different story for the Redbacks though who now fall to one win from seven starts.

Thursday's Fixtures:
Under 17's: 6:15pm
Under 19's: 7:50pm

A 2-2 draw in the Under 17's for Toronto-Awaba and Valentine didn't do much to help either side on the league table but a 2-1 win for Valentine's 19's was enough to take them back to the top of the table after eight games played. 

Valentine will host Cessnock on Saturday and on Sunday, Toronto-Awaba will travel to the Gardens to tackle Wallsend FC.

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