Thursday, 16 July 2015

PREVIEW: New-FM 1st Division Round 19


Newysports.com's Match of the Round
1st Grade: Lake Macquarie City (1st) v Valentine F.C (2nd)
Kickoff: Sunday 19/7 2:30pm
Last Time They Met: Valentine 3-2 Lakes

This week's Match of the Round could very well be the Match of the Year in the New-FM 1st Division as top of the table and promotion-chasing Lakes and Valentine clash in what is the biggest match of the season for both clubs. A spot in the National Premier Leagues could very well be decided by this match.

I've seen both these teams play a few times this season and more in particular, I've seen Lakes play three times in the last week and a half so I think I know their side fairly well now. Last night's 1-1 draw at Kahibah was lucky )to say the least for the Roosters. Kahibah missed a couple of crucial chances and in my opinion should have won the game. Lakes will know that improvement will be needed against Valentine.

The Phoenix have been chipping away all season and unlike Lakes, they haven't been required to play many mid-week games in recent times. Valentine have scored 12 less goals than their promotion rivals but they have conceded eleven less goals. Something's got to give on Sunday.

In my opinion this won't be a high-scoring match up and I think defence may just win it. As for my prediction, I've thought long and hard and decided to go with the home side. Lakes lost to Valentine earlier this season so they'll be keen to avenge that and in my opinion, the winner of this match will go a long way towards promotion.

My Tip: Lakes 2-1 Valentine 


Under 23's: Lake Macquarie City (2nd) v Valentine F.C (1st)
Kickoff: Sunday 19/7 12:45pm
Last Time They Met: Valentine 6-2 Lakes

On paper this looks like a Grand Final preview and I certainly wouldn't be surprised if that was the case come mid-August. The reason this didn't get my Match of the Round status is due to the fact that the result isn't important for both sides. 

It is important for Lakes as it would prove them as a threat to Valentine but the Phoenix are eleven points clear with four games to go so a loss here wouldn't hurt their minor premiership charge whatsoever. That being said, the Phoenix were heavy winners when these sides met back in Round 9 and I wouldn't be surprised to see the visitors leave with the three points on Sunday.

My Tip: Lakes 2-4 Valentine


Newysports.com's Under 19 Match of the Round
Under 19's: Lake Macquarie City (3rd) v Valentine F.C (2nd)
Kickoff: Sunday 19/7 11:00am
Last Time They Met: Valentine 2-1 Lakes

This is a finals preview between second and third on the table as Lake Macquarie City host Valentine F.C. Valentine are still technically the minor-premiership favourites as they do have a game in hand on top of the table Belmont-Swansea so a win here could see them leapfrog the Swans into top spot.

Lakes on the other hand were frustratingly held to a draw by Cooks Hill United last week and will be keen to pick up a win on Sunday to send a message to the Phoenix and the other top four sides ahead of the finals. 

Lakes stunned the Belswans not that ago and if they can beat Valentine on Sunday then they'll be very confident of causing some trouble in the finals. I'm going to tip the Roosters to get a tight win in this game.

My Tip: Lakes 2-1 Valentine



Under 17's: Lake Macquarie City (2nd) v Valentine F.C (9th)
Kickoff: Sunday 19/7 9:15am
Last Time They Met: Valentine 1-8 Lakes

I finally got to see the Lakes' 17's play last week and they looked like a quality football side to say the very least. The minor-premiership is still up for grabs and Kahibah are still above Lakes on the table, although the Roosters do have a game in hand.

Valentine have a couple of decent players in this grade but have struggled as a team to produce results. Last time they met Lakes they were smashed 8-1 and I'm sure the score will be a bit more favourable for the Phoenix this time round. I still think it's going to be a loss though.

My Tip: Lakes 4-0 Valentine



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1st Grade: West Wallsend (9th) v Cessnock City (11th)
Kickoff: Sunday 19/7 2:30pm
Last Time They Met: Cessnock City 0-2 West Wallsend

Whilst it's an important clash at the top of the table between Lakes and Valentine, it's also a fairly important match up at the opposite end of the day as West Wallsend do battle with Cessnock City in a match that could go along way towards determining who is handed the wooden spoon this season.

West Wallsend's season has spiraled out of control and a loss on Sunday to Cessnock City would see the Bluebells hit rock bottom so they'll be intent on avoiding a loss in front of their home fans. Cessnock on the other hand are coming off a 1-1 draw with the Belswans last week and will be desperate to get a result in this one.

I really don't know which way to go in this one. West Wallsend came to mind and if they can get things together they can win this game but as mentioned, they've been severely lacking in recent times and I'm not too sure they'll get the job done on Sunday. Still, I'll stick with the Bluebells to pick up a very important three points on Sunday.

My Tip: West Wallsend 2-1 Cessnock City



Under 23's: West Wallsend (11th) v Cessnock City (3rd)
Kickoff: Sunday 19/7 12:45pm
Last Time They Met: Cessnock City 2-0 West Wallsend

Cessnock City's Under 23's are the Hornets' best New-FM side this season and the only Hornets' side remaining in the race for finals football. They're in some decent form and a win over cellar-dwellers West Wallsend on Sunday could very well all but cement a finals spot depending on other results.

Last time these sides met, Cessnock were 2-0 winners and considering West Wallsend are coming off an 8-0 smashing last week at the hands of Valentine, I think this one is going to end with the visitors taking three points back up the Hunter Expressway.

My Tip: West Wallsend 1-4 Cessnock City



Under 19's: West Wallsend (5th) v Cessnock City (8th)
Kickoff: Sunday 19/7 11:00am
Last Time They Met: Cessnock City 1-3 West Wallsend

The Bluebells' 19's are sitting fifth, just one spot outside the top four but considering a ten point gap separates them and Cooks Hill in fourth, it would be a monumental effort for them to make the playoffs. Their focus will be on Sunday's game and securing a win against Cessnock City.

The Hornets' went down to ladder-leaders Belmont-Swansea last week but will be happy to take to the road as they've only lost one of their last four away games and that was against a quality Lakes outfit. The Hornets have amassed a decent points total and sit well clear of the two bottom sides in Singleton and Toronto-Awaba.

As for my prediction here I'm going to tip the Bluebells to get a win in front of their home fans. They were 3-1 winners at Turner Park earlier this season so i may stick with that scoreline. 

My Tip: West Wallsend 3-1 Cessnock City



Under 17's: West Wallsend (6th) v Cessnock City (10th)
Kickoff: Sunday 19/7 9:15am
Last Time They Met: Cessnock City 2-4 West Wallsend

Cessnock City come into this game on the back of four straight losses and considering three of those losses came at home (two of them by six or seven goals margin) I'm sure the Hornets will be happy to take to the road and try and take three points away from Johnston Park.

West Wallsend are a quality side in the 17's though and if results had of gone their way on a couple of different occasions throughout the season, they may have been sitting inside the top four as we speak. They aren't though and it's unlikely they'll get a finals spot.

Still, I'm tipping the Bluebells to win this one and with the goalscoring talent they have, it may be a goalfest.

My Tip: West Wallsend 5-1 Cessnock City




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1st Grade: Kahibah F.C (4th) v Thornton Redbacks (8th)
Kickoff: Sunday 19/7 2:30pm
Last Time They Met: Thornton 1-3 Kahibah

After missing a few decent chances to put Lakes away last night, Kahibah will go into this game knowing a win will take them four points clear of Belmont-Swansea and after beating Thornton earlier in the season, I think the Green and Blacks will go into this game as the favourites.

Thornton's away record this season has been fairly poor but a 2-1 win over Toronto-Awaba last time out was their second-straight win following a gutsy 1-0 win over Wallsend before that. Winning against a desperate Kahibah side on the road will be a tough ask though and the Redbacks defence will need to be prepared for a real fight on Sunday.

Kahibah are a very well-drilled side and the inclusion of Andre Gumprecht last night made all the difference as the commanding defender put in a strong effort and more importantly kept communicating with his side. A quality centre back goes a long way in this competition and Kahibah's done well with Gumprecht in the side. Their attackers are quality as well.

Thornton are an unpredictable side on some days but the fact is they don't have too much riding on the result on Sunday. Kahibah need to win this game to put one foot in the finals and in my opinion they'll do it.

My Tip: Kahibah 3-0 Thornton



Newysports.com's Under 23 Match of the Round
Under 23's: Kahibah F.C (5th) v Thornton Redbacks (4th)
Kickoff: Sunday 19/7 12:45pm
Last Time They Met: Thornton 1-1 Kahibah

If there's a tough one to predict in the New-FM 1st Division this week it's got to be this one. These sides are locked in a fight to make the finals and both are in decent form. On top of all of that, they drew 1-1 when they met earlier in the season so something's got to give on Sunday.

I saw the back end of Kahibah's 3-1 win over Lakes last night and the side looked well-drilled and one that could trouble a team like Valentine or Lakes in the playoffs. The Green and Blacks have risen up the table and a win in this one would take them into the top four.

Thornton though will provide a stiff opposition and are coming off an 8-0 smashing of struggling Toronto-Awaba last weekend. The Redbacks though haven't hit great form in the second half of the season and it's shown by their fall away from the top two.

The Redbacks have an extra game up their sleeve against Singleton next week so Kahibah really have to win on Sunday to avoid falling away from the top four spots. I'm tipping the home side to get the job done but it's certainly not going to be an easy one.

My Tip: Kahibah 2-1 Thornton



Under 19's: Kahibah F.C (6th) v Thornton Redbacks (7th)
Kickoff: Sunday 19/7 11:00am
Last Time They Met: Thornton 1-2 Kahibah

I'm not the biggest fan of writing previews for mid-table games towards the end of the season where neither team have too much riding on the result. Still, I think there is a difference in finishing in sixth and finishing in seventh as the top six in my opinion is the top half and seventh and below is the bottom half. 

Thornton come into this game on the back of a big win over Toronto last weekend and considering Kahibah aren't in the best of form as of late, I might tip the Redbacks to avenge the Round 9 loss and pick up a decent win at Kahibah Oval.

My Tip: Kahibah 1-2 Thornton



Newysports.com's Under 17 Match of the Round
Under 17's: Kahibah F.C (1st) v Thornton Redbacks (11th)
Kickoff: Sunday 19/7 9:15am
Last Time They Met: Thornton 0-8 Kahibah

It's not very often I give my Match of the Round status to a game between first and last on the league table and a game that ended 8-0 last time the two sides met but this for me is the most important match in the Under 17's this weekend. Kahibah need to win to keep their top spot alive and with 2nd-placed Lakes having a game in hand, the Green and Blacks know a slip up could cost them the minor premiership.

Thornton's 17's I've wrote about a few times in recent memory as they are one of just two sides in all four grades without a win in season 2015. I think they've got some decent players from the game I saw them play not that long ago and I think this match will end closer then 8-0 this time round.

The main reason I named this as Match of the Round is due to the importance of the match for Kahibah. They can't really afford any slip ups and if Thornton can sense a victory or even a draw, I'm sure they'll throw everything they have at Kahibah. Still, it's Green and Black all the way for me in this one.

My Tip: Kahibah 4-1 Thornton 



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1st Grade: Toronto-Awaba (10th) v Cooks Hill United (7th)
Kickoff: Sunday 19/7 2:30pm
Last Time They Met: Cooks Hill United 6-1 Toronto-Awaba

Toronto-Awaba's season started horribly and they've never really recovered from such a poor start. A crucial 2-1 win over Cessnock City two weeks back took them away from bottom spot but a loss by the same scoreline to Thornton put them right back in the wooden spoon battle.

Cooks Hill United on the other hand have seen their season fall to pieces in the last few weeks. A 4-1 loss to Kahibah was followed by a loss by the same scoreline at Singleton. Last week's game against Lakes was an improvement but they still went down 3-0 to the Roosters. A frustrating form slump for a side that were aiming for finals football.

Last time these sides met Toronto-Awaba were embarrassed. I know it's a harsh word but they were awful on that day and it's not a reflection of their side losing 6-1 to a mid-table side. They'll be keen to get some revenge on an out of form Cookers side on Sunday.

There's not too much riding on this result and as a result I may end up ducking out of Toronto and going to the Lakes 1st grade match instead but I'm sure this game will be entertaining between two sides that will be desperate for a win. As for a prediction, I'm going to tip a 2-2 draw. Why, because it's the first thing that came to mind.

My Tip: Toronto-Awaba 2-2 Cooks Hill United



Under 23's: Toronto-Awaba (10th) v Cooks Hill United (7th)
Kickoff: Sunday 19/7 12:45pm
Last Time They Met: Cooks Hill United 4-1 Toronto-Awaba

Cooks Hill's 23's have been irregular throughout the season and it's due to that up and down form that they currently sit seventh. On their best day they stunned what was at the time top of the table Thornton with a massive three goal turn-around. Their last two games have been fairly decent as well so they'll be confident against lowly Toronto.

The Stags' reserves have been smashed for sixteen goals in their last three outings and I wouldn't be surprised at all to see them on the back end of another defeat in this game. They're one of only a few sides not to have drawn a game this season so tipping the Cookers is what I'll do in this game. 

My Tip: Toronto-Awaba 0-3 Cooks Hill United



Under 19's: Toronto-Awaba (11th) v Cooks Hill United (4th)
Kickoff: Sunday 19/7 11:00am
Last Time They Met: Cooks Hill United 2-0 Toronto-Awaba

The Under 19's match-up on Sunday at Lyall Peacock I feel is going to go the way of the away side. Toronto-Awaba are one of two winless teams in the four grades of New-FM this season and looking at recent form, I just cannot see them getting much out of this game at all.

The Stags 19's have been held scoreless in four of their last five outings and the one time they weren't held scoreless, they were able to field a full squad due to the game being played on a Thursday night and no players having to fill in for 23's or 1st Grade.

Cooks Hill's 19's are in my opinion the club's best side in the New-FM 1st Division and they've proven it as of late with some quality results. Holding a strong Lakes side to a scoreless draw last week proved that the Cookers will be a chance of making it past the Semi Finals. Firstly though is making it past Toronto-Awaba and I feel like they'll do it style.

My Tip: Toronto-Awaba 0-4 Cooks Hill United



Under 17's: Toronto-Awaba (8th) v Cooks Hill United (3rd)
Kickoff: Sunday 19/7 9:15am
Last Time They Met: Cooks Hill United 4-0 Toronto-Awaba

I almost named this game as Match of the Round as it's a fairly important game for Cooks Hill United. The Cookers' form as of late has been shaky and losses to the top two sides has seen them fall out of contention for the minor premiership. A confidence-boost is needed to prove that they won't be making up the numbers in the finals.

Toronto-Awaba have a lot to play for as well in this one. Their final hopes are all but over but they can still mathematically finish inside the top half of the table with a few more wins. Most importantly, they were beaten 4-0 by Cooks Hill earlier in the season and I'm sure they'll be keen to gain some sort of revenge for that on Sunday morning.

I feel as though this will finish closer than the four-goal margin seen in the last match as Cooks Hill aren't quiet in the best of form and they aren't hitting the heights they hit earlier in the season when they scored around 16 goals in four games. I'm going with the Cookers in this one as they look to bounce back into some form.

My Tip: Toronto-Awaba 1-4 Cooks Hill United



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1st Grade: Wallsend F.C (3rd) v Singleton (6th)
Kickoff: Sunday 19/7 2:30pm
Last Time They Met: Singleton 2-3 Wallsend

After Kahibah drew with Lakes last night, suddenly the Singleton Strikers may see a small light at the end of the tunnel in the race for finals football. A win in next Wednesday's catch-up game with Thornton will bring Singleton to within three points of Kahibah and in my opinion, they've got an easier run-in than the Green and Blacks. Anything can happen if Singleton win this game.

Wallsend's premiership-tilt has fallen to pieces in recent weeks and it honestly wouldn't surprise me to see them go down to a resurgent Singleton side on Sunday. Last week's loss to Lakes all but ended any hope of Wallsend finishing top and this week's result will leave them in third place regardless of the outcome.

A lot of times I'll simply tip the higher placed side but this week I'm going out on a limb and tipping the visitors in this game. Sure, this is a Wallsend home game and they'll be desperate to get back into the winners' circle but there's a lot more to gain in this game for Singleton and they're my tip to win it.

My Tip: Wallsend 1-2 Singleton



Under 23's: Wallsend F.C (8th) v Singleton (9th)
Kickoff: Sunday 19/7 12:45pm
Last Time They Met: Singleton 0-2 Wallsend

Wallsend's 23's have been in decent form as of late. Their last outing was one I caught the back end of as they drew with Lakes 2-2. Unfortunately for the Red Devils they conceded late on in that game if memory serves me correctly. Looking at recent form they'll be confident of seeing off Singleton on their home turf at The Gardens.

Singleton just can't get going in the 23's this season and coming off a 3-1 loss to Kahibah last week, a win would certainly be greatly appreciated. I'm going the way of the home side though.

My Tip: Wallsend 2-0 Singleton



Under 19's: Wallsend F.C (9th) v Singleton (10th)
Kickoff: Sunday 19/7 11:00am
Last Time They Met: Singleton 1-4 Wallsend

These sides are only separated by one spot on the league table but they're separated by eight competition points. The Strikers have had a horror year in the 19's and it's exampled by their very lopsided goal difference. Wallsend were the 4-1 victors last time these sides met and they're my tip to win again on Sunday. Singleton did pick up a confidence-boosting 1-1 draw with Kahibah last week so they may not go down as easily as one would think.

My Tip: Wallsend 3-0 Singleton


Under 17's: Wallsend F.C (4th) v Singleton (7th)
Kickoff: Sunday 19/7 9:15am
Last Time They Met: Singleton 0-2 Wallsend

With a couple of catch-up games up their sleeves, Wallsend's Under 17's look destined for a finals spot but they can't let up and they won't. Sitting fourth, it's sill possible that the Red Devils can jump Cooks Hill into third and avoid having to play the minor premiers in the Semi Finals. That's a realistic goal for Wallsend.

Singleton's Under 17's have recorded some decent wins in the second half of the season but aren't a realistic chance of making the finals. This game is important for the Strikers though as they're looking to avenge a 2-0 loss at home and a win here could see them go a long way towards finishing in the top half of the table.

As for my prediction, I think the home side will get over the line. The Red Devils will be keen to get on the park after having the bye last week and their game against Lakes washed out.

My Tip: Wallsend 4-1 Singleton


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