Thursday, 23 July 2015

PREVIEW: New-FM 1st Division Round 20


Newysports.com's Match of the Round
1st Grade: Singleton (6th) v Lake Macquarie City (2nd)
Kickoff: Saturday 25/7 2:30pm
Last Time They Met: Lake Macquarie City 1-3 Singleton

Make no doubt about it, this is the biggest game of the season for both Singleton and Lake Macquarie City. It's do or die for Singleton's finals hopes as they look to make ground on fourth-placed Kahibah whilst Lakes' promotion dream will surely be over if they're unable to get maximum points at Howe Park.

Singleton's 4-1 mid-week win over Thornton took them to within three points of Kahibah and considering the Green and Blacks have a game in hand, I believe Singleton have to win this game to have a real chance of making the playoffs. Looking at their remaining games, it's certainly not impossible.

Lakes on the other hand have seen their season fall apart with a sloppy 1-1 draw at Kahibah followed by a 4-0 defeat at the hands of Valentine last weekend. They need to turn it around on Saturday or they'll face another season in the New-FM 1st Division.

This is a very tough one to predict as Singleton did beat Lakes earlier this season and that was when Lakes were in superb home form. I'm going to back the Strikers to get the job done again. I can't see Valentine dropping too many points so Lakes' promotion hopes in my opinion are slimmer than Singleton's finals hopes. It's with that in mind that I tip Singleton to win this and record their biggest win of the season.

My Tip: Singleton 2-1 Lake Macquarie City


Newysports.com's Under 23 Match of the Round
Under 23's: Singleton (9th) v Lake Macquarie City (2nd)
Kickoff: Saturday 25/7 12:45pm
Last Time They Met: Lake Macquarie City 2-1 Singleton

This one is an interesting one as Lakes are coming off the back of a 6-0 horror show against Valentine last weekend. The Roosters aren't exactly safe of making the finals just yet. They've still got to win one or two more games to assure themselves of a finals spot and I believe they'll be keen to finish inside the top four. Lakes for my money here.

My Tip: Singleton 1-2 Lake Macquarie city


Under 19's: Singleton (10th) v Lake Macquarie City (3rd)
Kickoff: Saturday 25/7 11:00am
Last Time They Met: Lake Macquarie City 7-0 Singleton

This could have the potential to get very ugly for Singleton. Lakes stunned previous ladder-leaders Valentine last week with an emphatic 7-0 victory and considering they won by that same scoreline last time they met out of form Singleton, I certainly wouldn't be surprised to see this extend past five goals. Sorry Singleton for the harsh prediction.

My Tip: Singleton 0-7 Lake Macquarie City


Under 17's: Singleton (7th) v Lake Macquarie City (2nd)
Kickoff: Saturday 25/7 9:15am
Last Time They Met: Lake Macquarie City 6-1 Singleton

Singleton's Under 17's will be up against it when Lakes come to town on Saturday morning. The Roosters will be intent on victory as a loss could see their minor-premiership hopes begin to fade away. Singleton were winners against lowly Thornton on Tuesday but I feel this one might be out of their reach.

My Tip: Singleton 0-4 Lake Macquarie City




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1st Grade: Cooks Hill United (7th) v Belmont-Swansea (5th)
Kickoff: Saturday 25/7 2:30pm
Last Time They Met: Belmont-Swansea 0-1 Cooks Hill United

My first away trip of the year was the one to Belmont-Swansea and it was a decent away trip to Cooks Hill United as they recorded a gutsy 1-0 victory thanks to a superb free kick from captain Jono Mitchinson. The Cookers were denied a second goal due to an incorrect offside but the 1-0 scoreline was enough to overcome a decent Belswans outfit.

Belmont-Swansea have found some form as of late and are on the verge of making the playoffs. Cooks Hill on the other hand have seen their form go the opposite way and with their finals hopes over and the squad plagued with injuries, I have it on good authority that they'll be playing one or two younger players on the weekend which in my mind is good to see as the club has some decent depth.

The announcement of Joel Griffiths' Aussie Home Loans franchise jumping on board as Cooks Hill sponsor was good to see and who knows, maybe the Griff could be wearing the black and white stripes one day. If Kahibah can have Andre Gumprecht, why can't Cooks Hill have Joel Griffiths?

Anyway onto my tip for this game, I've tipped Cooks Hill a lot this year as obviously I play for them and support them. This isn't a game I can see Cooks Hill winning. The Belswans have too much on the line and with the form Cooks Hill are in, I'm tipping them to get over the line and build on their finals hopes.

My Tip: Cooks Hill United 1-3 Belmont-Swansea


Under 23's: Cooks Hill United (7th) v Belmont-Swansea (6th)
Kickoff: Saturday 25/7 12:45pm
Last Time They Met: Belmont-Swansea 4-1 Cooks Hill United

Neither of these sides can realistically make the finals but I'm sure both will be keen to get a win on the board. The Cookers' 23's have been in decent form as of late and if they can play to their best potential, I think they can overcome the Belswans. Belmont-Swansea won 4-1 last time these sides met but I'm sure Cooks Hill will look to get some revenge this time round.

My Tip: Cooks Hill United 2-0 Belmont-Swansea


Newysports.com's Under 19 Match of the Round
Under 19's: Cooks Hill United (4th) v Belmont-Swansea (2nd)
Kickoff: Saturday 25/7 11:00am
Last Time They Met: Belmont-Swansea 4-1 Cooks Hill United

This is an intriguing match-up as second-placed Belmont-Swansea travel to fourth-placed Cooks Hill United. The Belswans need to keep winning to keep their minor premiership hopes alive and will be looking to inflict a second victory on the Cookers this season. Cooks Hill have a strong side in the 19's and it's evident by the fact that two or three of the 19's were included in Warren Spink's first grade line-up last week. I'm hoping for a Cookers win as it's my club but honestly, the Belswans are a very good side in this grade and I think they'll get the win.

My Tip: Cooks Hill United 1-2 Belmont-Swansea


Newysports.com's Under 17 Match of the Round
Under 17's: Cooks Hill United (3rd) v Belmont-Swansea (5th)
Kickoff: Saturday 25/7 9:15am
Last Time They Met: Belmont-Swansea 2-0 Cooks Hill United

Belmont-Swansea ended a hot-streak for Cooks Hill's 17's when they beat them 2-0 earlier this season and will be looking at pouncing on an out-of-form Cookers outfit on Saturday morning. I'll try my best to get to this one but considering I'll be flying in from Melbourne at 8am it might be a struggle!

The Belswans need a win to keep their already slim finals hopes alive, depending on tonight's Wallsend result. I doubt they'll make the playoffs but if they lose this one then they'll definitely be no hope of finals football. It's essentially all or nothing for the young Swans.

Cooks Hill are assured of finals football but their last few games have left a lot to be desired and I feel they need to bounce back into form with a win here. They're my tip to get the job done against the Belswans.

My Tip: Cooks Hill United 3-1 Belmont-Swansea



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1st Grade: Kahibah F.C (4th) v Toronto-Awaba (9th)
Kickoff: Sunday 26/7 2:30pm
Last Time They Met: Toronto-Awaba 1-2 Kahibah F.C

Kahibah F.C really need to produce the goods on Sunday or face falling as low as sixth if other games go against them. Andre Gumprecht and his men were unlucky not to secure all three points in last Wednesday's catch-up game with Lake Macquarie City. On top of that, their game against Singleton on the weekend was called off. 

Now the Green and Blacks have a very busy fixture going into the finals, although it's not all bad news as three of their four remaining games are at home, starting this Sunday with a match against a very dangerous Toronto-Awaba side.

The Stags have troubled some of the top teams at various points this season and they'll be no doubt keen to win this one and continue to move away from the bottom of the table. Last time these sides met, Kahibah were 2-1 victors so this one could end up being a close affair.

I have belief in Kahibah making the finals and I know that they'll know just how crucial this match-up is. Green and Black to get over the line for my money.

My Tip: Kahibah 2-0 Toronto-Awaba


Under 23's: Kahibah F.C (5th) v Toronto-Awaba (10th)
Kickoff: Sunday 26/7 12:45pm
Last Time They Met: Toronto-Awaba 1-2 Kahibah

Kahibah's loss to Thornton really dented their finals hopes last week and if they can't overcome lowly Toronto-Awaba in this game, their hopes of playing finals will be all set and done. Kahibah were 2-1 winners last time these sides met and I think they'll get the job done against Toronto on Sunday.

My Tip: Kahibah 2-1 Toronto-Awaba


Under 19's: Kahibah F.C (7th) v Toronto-Awaba (11th)
Kickoff: Sunday 26/7 11:00am
Last Time They Met: Toronto-Awaba 2-5 Kahibah

Now looking at the ladder, you could be forgiven for thinking this will be a stroll in the park for Kahibah but it isn't. I saw this Toronto side play last week and credit has to go to the Stags' 19's as they didn't play like a side destined for the wooden spoon. I think it will end closer than the original 5-2 victory for Kahibah last time they met but I still think it'll be Kahibah winning on their home turf.

My Tip: Kahibah 2-0 Toronto-Awaba


Under 17's: Kahibah F.C (1st) v Toronto-Awaba (8th)
Kickoff: Sunday 26/7 9:15am
Last Time They Met: Toronto-Awaba 1-5 Kahibah

Toronto-Awaba put on a very steely performance against Cooks Hill last week but it will no doubt get a lot tougher when they take on ladder-leaders Kahibah. The Green and Blacks are a very serious side in this competition and will no doubt be looking at staying on top of the table with a win here.

Last time they met, Kahibah were easy 5-1 victors but from what I saw last weekend, Toronto I feel will keep it a bit tighter this time round. Still, it's Kahibah for my money.

My Tip: Kahibah 3-1 Toronto-Awaba



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1st Grade: Wallsend F.C (3rd) v Cessnock City (10th)
Kickoff: Sunday 26/7 2:30pm
Last Time They Met: Cessnock City 0-3 Wallsend F.C

After last night's tight loss to Valentine, Wallsend's chances of finishing anywhere but third-place are very slim. It's bad news as I can't see them finishing in the top two but it's good news too as I think they're far enough ahead to avoid slipping into fourth or potentially further down the table.

Cessnock City on the other hand are well out of finals contention but importantly still neck-deep in the fight to avoid the wooden spoon. Last week's win over West Wallsend was their most important of the season and they'll be keen to make it two-straight.

Wallsend though will be no doubt keen to win this one as it's their third annual Charity Day. They will be selling beanies for $20 and wearing a special purple kit for the match as well as using the hashtags #beaniesforbraincancer & #WallsendFC4aCure. Credit to the Red Devils for getting behind a great cause and I'm definitely going to put a few dollars into their cause over the course of the weekend. 

For those who can't make it to The Gardens on Sunday then you too can get involved and donate at this link: http://www.curebraincancer.org.au/my-fundraising/9491/wallsend-fc-charity-match-day.

My tip for this match is going to be a win for the home side. I feel like a few more decent touches at the attacking end of the ground would have helped their cause last night and I think they'll be able to overcome Cessnock in this one.

My Tip: Wallsend 3-0 Cessnock City


Under 23's: Wallsend F.C (8th) v Cessnock City (3rd)
Kickoff: Sunday 26/7 12:45pm
Last Time They Met: Cessnock City 2-2 Wallsend F.C

Cessnock City can go a long way towards securing a finals berth if they win the Under 23's clash on Sunday. I saw Wallsend play minor premiers Valentine last night and they were no match for the dominating ladder-leaders. Cessnock drew with Wallsend last time they met and I don't think this'll be easy but I'm tipping the Hornets to get over the line.

My Tip: Wallsend 1-2 Cessnock City


Under 19's: Wallsend F.C (9th) v Cessnock City (8th)
Kickoff: Sunday 26/7 11:00am
Last Time They Met: Cessnock City 1-1 Wallsend F.C

It's another game that doesn't have much baring on anything at all. Regardless of that, I'm sure both Wallsend and Cessnock will be keen to win this one. The Hornets have lacked for numbers on some days in the 19's but last time they met Wallsend they produced a respectable 1-1 draw and that's what I'm going to go with in this one.

My Tip: Wallsend 1-1 Cessnock City


Under 17's: Wallsend F.C (4th) v Cessnock City (10th)
Kickoff: Sunday 26/7 9:15am
Last Time They Met: Cessnock City 0-7 Wallsend F.C

Wallsend F.C's 17's play tonight and that result against lower mid-table Valentine could go a long way towards securing a finals berth. If they win tonight and then win this game against Cessnock City, which they should, I can't see them dropping out of the top four.

Cessnock City have struggled for numbers this season and will no doubt improve next campaign. For now I think they could be on the end of another tough defeat against a strong Wallsend side.

My Tip: Wallsend 6-1 Cessnock City




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1st Grade: Thornton Redbacks (8th) v West Wallsend (11th)
Kickoff: Sunday 26/7 2:30pm
Last Time They Met: West Wallsend 3-3 Thornton

West Wallsend's season has taken a turn for the worse and now they sit at the bottom of the table and it's not somewhere where'll they'll be wanting to finish. I'm confident they'll throw all they've got at Thornton on Sunday to try and get three valuable points.

Thornton's match last week was called off but they were in action on Wednesday night, going down 4-1 to Singleton so both these teams will be desperate for a win on Sunday afternoon, so I might split them and tip a draw for the second time this season between these sides.

My Tip: Thornton 1-1 West Wallsend


Under 23's: Thornton Redbacks (4th) v West Wallsend (11th)
Kickoff: Sunday 26/7 12:45pm
Last Time They Met: West Wallsend 2-3 Thornton

With Thornton in good form and West Wallsend sitting bottom of the table, it seems pretty academic that the Redbacks will secure a finals hopes-boosting victory on Sunday afternoon in the Under 23's. Last time they met, Thornton won a thriller 3-2 but looking at their recent form, I wouldn't be surprised to see that stretched out a bit.

My Tip: Thornton 3-0 West Wallsend


Under 19's: Thornton Redbacks (5th) v West Wallsend (6th)
Kickoff: Sunday 26/7 11:00am
Last Time They Met: West Wallsend 2-1 Thornton

With Cooks Hill United sitting too far ahead to realistically catch, this game isn't exactly important for the finals race but I feel like both teams will be keen to win as this is still the New-FM 1st Division and no game is a dead rubber. West Wallsend were winners last time they met but Thornton have better form going into this match-up so I'll go with the home side here.

My Tip: Thornton 2-1 West Wallsend


Under 17's: Thornton Redbacks (11th) v West Wallsend (6th)
Kickoff: Sunday 26/7 9:15am
Last Time They Met: West Wallsend 2-2 Thornton

I feel like West Wallsend's 17's are the best team at Johnston Park and are only outside the top four due to a couple of poor performances. They would have been disappointed to be held 2-2 by Thornton at home earlier this season and will be keen to get some revenge on Sunday morning.

Thornton I feel will be in good position to develop their players for next season and beyond. I'm not sure of their exact ages but a couple of their 17's looked a more 15 than 17 when I saw them play. Now that the 17's competition is established, I feel Thornton will try and prep their Interdistrict teams for 2016 and beyond.

As for this game, West Wallsend are my tip to get the points. Expect Josh Knight to score a goal or two as well. The exciting striker bagged a hat-trick last week to stretch his season tally past 20 and I wouldn't be surprised to see his name pop up on the scoresheet.

My Tip: Thornton Redbacks 1-5 West Wallsend



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