Thursday, 4 June 2015

PREVIEW: New-FM 1st Division Round 14


1st Grade: Singleton (8th) v Cessnock City (11th)
Kickoff: Saturday 6/6 2:30pm
Last Time They Met: Cessnock City 1-2 Singleton (Round 3)

A big weekend of New-FM 1st Division kicks off at Howe Park with the Singleton Strikers hosting the Cessnock City Hornets. Singleton's lone win of the season until they hit their recent purple patch was a 2-1 away win at Cessnock.

It's an important time for the boys from Singo as they're coming off the back of a two week break and with two home games within the next seven days, they really need to pick up all six points if they want to put themselves in the race for finals football. After losing their last home game to Toronto-Awaba, the Strikers will be intent on not dropping points against cellar-dwellers Cessnock City.

The Hornets last outing was a 2-2 draw with fellow strugglers Thornton last week and before that was a horror 5-1 loss to Cooks Hill. If the Strikers have their full team available then they should be able to complete the double and keep Cessnock on the bottom of the table.

My Tip: Singleton 3-1 Cessnock City


Under 23's: Singleton (11th) v Cessnock City (2nd)
Kickoff: Saturday 6/6 12:45pm
Last Time They Met: Cessnock City 2-0 Singleton (Round 3)

Singleton's reserves picked up a satisfying first win of the campaign in their last outing against Toronto-Awaba but beating a Cessnock side that have lost just once all season is a very tough ask for the Strikers. The Hornets' reserves looked like a quality side when I watched them play the other week and they need to pick up all three points on the weekend if they want to close the gap to top of the table Valentine.

My Tip: Singleton 1-3 Cessnock City


Under 19's: Singleton (10th) v Cessnock City (9th)
Kickoff: Saturday 6/6 11:00am
Last Time They Met: Cessnock City 6-2 Singleton (Round 3)

This is a tough one to predict at the Hornets' 19's have had a fair share of players missing games this season and if I'm correct, the 6-2 victory they picked up the last time these sides met was with a full-strength side. 

Singleton picked up their only points of the season with a 2-1 win over Toronto-Awaba last time out but Cessnock I believe are a step up from the last-placed Stags. It'll be an interesting clash but one I expect Cessnock to get the points out of. I doubt it'll be 6-2 this time though.

My Tip: Singleton 1-2 Cessnock City


Under 17's: Singleton (7th) v Cessnock City (10th)
Kickoff: Saturday 6/6 9:15am
Last Time They Met: Cessnock City 1-6 Singleton (Round 3)

The Hornet 17's have also been without a few players this season and the results have shown as they've been on the receiving ends of some heavy defeats. Without knowing if Cessnock will be full strength on the weekend or not, I'm going to tip the home side to get the points. 

My Tip: Singleton 2-0 Cessnock City



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Newysports.com's Match of the Round
1st Grade: Cooks Hill United (5th) v Wallsend F.C (2nd)
Kickoff: Saturday 6/6 2:30pm
Last Time They Met: Wallsend F.C 3-1 Cooks Hill United (Round 3)

Wallsend's spectacular eight-game winning streak started with a 3-1 victory at home over Cooks Hill United. Now they face the Cookers again with the confidence of eight-straight wins behind them. Make no doubt, this will push the Cooks Hill side to the limits on Saturday.

I haven't managed to catch a Wallsend match yet in 2015 but if Cooks Hill play like they did in last night's shaky 2-1 win over West Wallsend, the Red Devils will get the points in my opinion. After Valentine's shock mid-week loss, the Red Devils are now the form side of the New-FM 1st Division.

Cooks Hill will need to produce one of their best performances of the season if they want to stop the runaway train that is Wallsend F.C. I'm a Cookers man through and through and will be ecstatic if they pull it off but I can't tip against Wallsend at the moment. They've got the players to win this competition and with the form they've got not many would tip against them.

*Update: I've heard Wallsend will be without Winstone Oku who was red carded in the win over Kahibah and on reflection I think I might change my tip here. If Cooks Hill play to their potential I think they can end Wallsend's winning streak.

The Red Devils have been super impressive but this Cookers side can take it to even the best team on their day and across all four grades, the Cookers have won 12 straight home games. Three clean sweeps in a row is very impressive for a side that's turning the Athfield into a fortress of sorts.

The Cookers will need to keep Wallsend's main man David Hodgson quite. The former Hamilton Olympic captain has eight goals to his name this season and will be looking to continue that on Saturday.

My Tip: Cooks Hill United 2-1 Wallsend F.C


Under 23's: Cooks Hill United (6th) v Wallsend F.C (9th)
Kickoff: Saturday 6/6 12:45pm
Last Time They Met: Wallsend F.C 2-5 Cooks Hill United (Round 3)

These sides are just three spots away from each other on the league table but the Cookers have won four more games than the Red Devils in reserve grade. The last time they met, Cooks Hill picked up a comfortable 5-2 victory away from home so I can see them going into this one as favourites.

Cooks Hill's 23's have been decent as of late, taking it to teams in the top four and they'll be confident after seeing off West Wallsend last night. 

My Tip: Cooks Hill United 3-1 Wallsend F.C


Under 19's: Cooks Hill United (4th) v Wallsend F.C (8th)
Kickoff: Saturday 6/6 11:00am
Last Time They Met: Wallsend F.C 2-3 Cooks Hill United (Round 3)

Cooks Hill United picked up an important victory over 5th-placed West Wallsend last night to keep their spot in the top four alive. It wasn't the most convincing display up front as the Cookers didn't create too many chances but their defensive display was fantastic.

Wallsend went down to Kahibah and could be up to 14 points outside the top four if they can't pick up anything at Cooks Hill on Saturday. I think this Cookers side can push for a top two spot if they can keep their form together. I'm thinking a repeat of Round 3's result is on the card.

My Tip: Cooks Hill United 2-0 Wallsend F.C


Newysports.com's Under 17 Match Of The Round
Under 17's: Cooks Hill United (3rd) v Wallsend F.C (4th)
Kickoff: Saturday 6/6 9:15am
Last Time They Met: Wallsend F.C 1-1 Cooks Hill United (Round 3)

This is a good match-up to open the day at the Athfield on Saturday as 3rd-placed Cooks Hill meet 4th-placed Wallsend. The Red Devil 17's weren't good enough to overcome Kahibah last night and away from home on a field that Cooks Hill have won every game on this season.

The Cookers' 17's have been impressive as of late but in my opinion last night's win was extremely helpful to their cause because they had to dig deep and hold onto a tight lead. Good teams need to know how to win ugly and defence was key last night for the Cookers as they tried to hold out a decent West Wallsend attack.

I'm tipping Cooks Hill to continue their good form and make it five straight victories on Saturday.

My Tip: Cooks Hill United 2-1 Wallsend F.C



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1st Grade: Toronto-Awaba (9th) v Belmont-Swansea (6th)
Kickoff: Sunday 7/6 2:30pm
Last Time They Met: Belmont-Swansea 4-0 Toronto-Awaba (Round 3)

Two sides who are coming off the back of big wins will face off at Lisle Peacock Field on Sunday. Toronto-Awaba jumped off the bottom of the table with a 2-1 victory at West Wallsend on the weekend whilst Belmont-Swansea scored their biggest win of the year, knocking off top of the table Valentine 3-1.

The Belswans are still a hope of making the finals and a win here could see them jump above Cooks Hill and put the pressure on Kahibah in fourth. A Toronto win would take the Stags up to four points clear of bottom spot so there is certainly a lot on the line on Sunday.

As for my prediction I'm not really confident going either way but after winning two straight games on the road, I think I might back the Stags to pick up their first home win of the campaign.

*Update: I've been told that Belmont-Swansea were unlucky not to grab more than 3 goals against Valentine so on that thought I'm changing my tip. Sorry Stags!

My Tip: Toronto-Awaba 1-3 Belmont-Swansea


Under 23's: Toronto-Awaba (8th) v Belmont-Swansea (7th)
Kickoff: Sunday 7/6 12:45pm
Last Time They Met: Belmont-Swansea 1-0 Toronto-Awaba (Round 3)

This is a tough one to predict as neither of these teams are setting the world on fire at the moment. Belmont-Swansea won the first clash between the sides back in Round 2 but Toronto will have fresh legs after not playing mid-week. I think I might split the sides and back the draw.

My Tip: Toronto-Awaba 1-1 Belmont-Swansea


Under 19's: Toronto-Awaba (11th) v Belmont-Swansea (1st)
Kickoff: Sunday 7/6 11:00am
Last Time They Met: Belmont-Swansea 2-1 Toronto-Awaba (Round 3)

I know I'm leaving my 19's and 17's previews until after tonight's game but this one I think can be done now. This is a huge mismatch and that's with all due respect to Toronto-Awaba. No way can I see Belmont-Swansea not winning this one. They're undefeated (depending on tonight) going into this and in all honesty it should be a routine win for the Belswans here.

My Tip: Toronto-Awaba 1-4 Belmont-Swansea


Under 17's: Toronto-Awaba (8th) v Belmont-Swansea (6th)
Kickoff: Sunday 7/6 9:15am
Last Time They Met: Belmont-Swansea 1-5 Toronto-Awaba (Round 3)

I'm feeling confident that Lakes, Kahibah and Cooks Hill will all make the finals in the 17's and in my opinion there's only one spot still left for a few teams to fight over. Belmont-Swansea picked up a win over Valentine last night but need to continue that form before they fall too far away from the top four.

This Belswans side can create a result on their day. They recorded a clean sheet against Cooks Hill not that long ago and have a decent record against the lower-table sides. The first match between these two was completely one-sided but Toronto's 17's haven't hit too many great heights as of late. Belswans for me here.

My Tip: Toronto-Awaba 1-3 Belmont-Swansea



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1st Grade: Lake Macquarie City (3rd) v West Wallsend (7th)
Kickoff: Sunday 7/6 2:30pm
Last Time They Met: West Wallsend 2-2 Lake Macquarie City (Round 3)

I saw West Wallsend play last night at Cooks Hill and thought they were just lacking a little in the final third, they couldn't make the most of their chances and paid the price against a ten-man Cooks Hill side. Travelling to Macquarie Field will no doubt be a tough test for the 7th-placed Bluebells.

Lakes need to be all business over the next month or so. With a backlog of catch-up games on the road and of course a few weeks worth of normal weekend matches, the Roosters must keep winning if they want to secure promotion back in the Northern NSW NPL.

The Roosters were clinical against Thornton last night and put six past the hapless Redbacks. They should be able to overcome the Bluebells on Sunday and keep moving towards the top of the table.

My Tip: Lakes 4-1 West Wallsend


Under 23's: Lake Macquarie City (3rd) v West Wallsend (10th)
Kickoff: Sunday 7/6 12:45pm
Last Time They Met: West Wallsend 0-3 Lake Macquarie City (Round 3)

Lakes' reserve grade side picked up a tight 1-0 win over a decent Thornton side last night and moved into 3rd place with the victory. West Wallsend meanwhile were outdone 3-1 by Cooks Hill United and unless they can turn things around rapidly, I don't like the chances of the Bluebells' 23's in this one. Lakes can start to build towards cementing a finals spot.

My Tip: Lakes 3-0 West Wallsend


Newysports.com's Under 19 Match of the Round
Under 19's: Lake Macquarie City (3rd) v West Wallsend (5th)
Kickoff: Sunday 7/6 11:00am
Last Time They Met: West Wallsend 1-3 Lake Macquarie City (Round 3)

I thought West Wallsend showed some decent play in the Under 19's last night but I'm not sure I like their chances against 3rd-placed Lakes on Sunday. The Roosters put four past Thornton last night and have lost just one game all season. West Wallsend's got to score the first goal in my opinion and try and not let Lakes get the fast start. I'm liking the chances of the home side here.

My Tip: Lakes 4-1 West Wallsend


Under 17's: Lake Macquarie City (1st) v West Wallsend (5th)
Kickoff: Sunday 7/6 9:15am
Last Time They Met: West Wallsend 1-3 Lake Macquarie City (Round 3)

Lakes' Under 17's are the only side with a perfect record at the half-way point of the season and really can do no wrong at the moment. Last night they picked up a 3-0 win over Thornton which took them to 30 points on the league table. As I mentioned in my review of last night's game, I think Westy have a couple decent players up front in the 17's and they'll need to be firing on Sunday.

In all honesty I can't see Lakes dropping this one. They've been so good all season and won 3-1 when these sides met back in Round 3. Why not tip them to continue their good form.

My Tip: Lakes 4-2 West Wallsend



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1st Grade: Thornton (10th) v Valentine F.C (1st)
Kickoff: Sunday 7/6 2:30pm
Last Time They Met: Valentine F.C 6-1 Thornton (Round 3)

This could be a tough day at the office for a Thornton side that went down 6-1 to Lakes last night. The last time they met Valentine they were also on the end of a 6-1 scoreline and it certainly wouldn't surprise me if Valentine get a big win considering they'll be intent on bouncing back from a shock loss to Belmont-Swansea last night.

Thornton are a side that can be decent from time to time but for the majority of the season and against the top four sides they haven't been very impressive at all. Valentine need this win to keep themselves in line for promotion or else the door will creak open for a Lakes side that have two games in hand.

As mentioned in the first line, I think it'll be a tough day at the office for Thornton. They'll need to turn a big loss to Lakes around and I'm not certain they can do that. A Redbacks win would shake up the competition but I have my doubts. Sorry Redbacks but that 6-1 score is in my head now.

*Update: I've received updated words about last night game and Valentine were apparently very poor so I'm bumping my tip back from 6-1 to 4-1. Still 6-1 wouldn't surprise me.

My Tip: Thornton 1-4 Valentine F.C


Newysports.com's Under 23 Match of the Round
Under 23's: Thornton (4th) v Valentine F.C (1st)
Kickoff: Sunday 7/6 12:45pm
Last Time They Met: Valentine F.C 2-3 Thornton (Round 3)

Valentine's 23's did just enough to overcome Belmont-Swansea last night and stretch their lead atop the reserve grade table. Thornton offer a lot in the 23's but have been lacking in their last few appearances. It'll be a very tough ask for the Redbacks against a Phoenix side that have lost just once this season, ironically to the Redbacks back in Round 3. All the other games Valentine have won so it's an interesting clash.

As for my prediction I think Thornton will be focused on avoiding another loss and potentially slipping out of the top four. I'm going to back the draw here as I think these sides are evenly matched. I was going to back Valentine but away from home I think Thornton could get a point out of this one.

My Tip: Thornton 1-1 Valentine F.C


Under 19's: Thornton (7th) v Valentine F.C (2nd)
Kickoff: Sunday 7/6 11:00am
Last Time They Met: Valentine F.C 4-0 Thornton (Round 3)

Valentine slumped to just their second loss of the campaign last night to top of the table Belswans and will be intent on bouncing back against out-of-form Thornton on Sunday morning. The Redbacks were outclassed 4-0 by Lakes last night and unless they produce a stunning turn-around I can't see them getting past Valentine on the weekend.

My Tip: Thornton 1-3 Valentine F.C


Under 17's: Thornton (11th) v Valentine F.C (9th)
Kickoff: Sunday 7/6 9:15am
Last Time They Met: Valentine F.C 1-1 Thornton (Round 3)

This is a tough one to predict as two lower-table sides meet in the opener at Thornton Park. The Redbacks are still winless this season but one of their three draws came against Valentine back in Round 3. The Phoenix were close in their 1-0 loss to Belswans last night and will like their chances on the weekend. A draw is a possibility but tipping the Phoenix was my first thought.

My Tip: Thornton 1-2 Valentine F.C



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