Thursday, 30 July 2015

PREVIEW: New-FM 1st Division Round 21

*Note: You may notice my Under 17 previews are longer than the rest in some games. I went in the order of 17/19/23 and then 1st Grade. Probably not the best idea as by the time I started previewing 1st Grade, my mind was absolute tired. Good luck to all teams for a very important penultimate round of the season though!




Newysports.com's Match of the Round
1st Grade: Belmont-Swansea (5th) v Valentine F.C (1st)
Kickoff: Sunday 2/8 2:45pm
Last Time They Met: Valentine 1-3 Belmont-Swansea

What a crucial game this is for the Belmont-Swansea boys. It's win or go home for the Belswans and considering they beat Valentine at Cahill Oval, I'm sure the Blacksmiths-based squad will like their chances against the promotion favourites. 

Valentine in my opinion are safe at the top, barring a miracle eleven goal turnaround from Lakes. The only thing standing between Valentine and the 2016 NPL is the free-falling Newcastle Jets Youth side. Valentine will go up unless the Jets finish bottom which isn't impossible by any means.

This game I feel is one that the Belswans will give absolutely everything for. Kahibah aren't a sure thing of beating Wallsend or Lakes so that crucial fourth finals spot is by no means closed. Belswans must win this game and in my opinion, they will.

My Tip: Belmont-Swansea 2-1 Valentine


Under 23's: Belmont-Swansea (7th) v Valentine F.C (1st)
Kickoff: Sunday 2/8 12:45pm
Last Time They Met: Valentine 2-1 Belmont-Swansea

Runaway Under 23 minor premiers Valentine travel to Blacksmiths on Sunday to face an out-of-form Belswans side. Valentine had the week off last weekend but their previous game was a convincing 6-0 minor-premiership sealing win over Lake Macquarie City. I feel the Phoenix will be too strong in this one.

My Tip: Belmont-Swansea 1-3 Valentine


Newysports.com's Under 19 Match of the Round
Under 19's: Belmont-Swansea (2nd) v Valentine F.C (1st)
Kickoff: Sunday 2/8 11:00am
Last Time They Met: Valentine 1-2 Belmont-Swansea

One could argue that this is the biggest game across any New-FM grade this week as two premiership-chasing teams clash at Blacksmiths Oval. Valentine's last outing two weeks ago was an absolute horror show as they crashed to a 7-0 defeat at Lakes. I've been told they had a few out that day and they bounced back firmly by beating Wallsend 3-0 in a mid-week fixture.

Belmont-Swansea I saw play last week at Cooks Hill and I have to say, they were not as convincing as they were when I saw them play the Cookers in the reverse leg. They stumbled home for a draw and now they have to step it up if they want to overcome a keen Valentine side.

Lakes will be keeping a keen eye on this result and I feel like it'll swing their way as I'm tipping a 1-1 draw at Blacksmiths Oval. The minor-premiership race in this grade is set for a thrilling final day ending. Don't forget, Lakes still have a game in hand.

My Tip: Belmont-Swansea 1-1 Valentine


Under 17's: Belmont-Swansea (6th) v Valentine F.C (9th)
Kickoff: Sunday 2/8 9:15am
Last Time They Met: Valentine 0-1 Belmont-Swansea

Valentine's Under 17's have failed to match the result of their older squads but they've got a foundation for next season and of course will possibly be playing in the NPL come 2016. They've had a tough year but not as tough as a couple of the other Under 17 squads.

Belmont-Swansea got the job done at Cooks Hill last week and from the sideline, they looked like a quality defensive outfit and one that was quick to close down opportunities for the other side. The Belswans' 17's won at Cahill Oval earlier this season and I'm tipping them to do it again at Blacksmiths on Sunday morning.

My Tip: Belmont-Swansea 2-0 Valentine




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1st Grade: West Wallsend (11th) v Cooks Hill United (7th)
Kickoff: Sunday 2/8 2:30pm
Last Time They Met: Cooks Hill 2-1 West Wallsend

Cooks Hill United will most likely be happy to end their season on Sunday. The Cookers' maiden New-FM campaign started strongly but a poor second-half of the season and with five straight defeats going into this game, the Cookers will surely be prepped for a big effort on Sunday. In my opinion, they have to win, they simply have to.

With all due respect to West Wallsend, they've hit rock bottom and last week's heavy loss to Thornton was arguably their worst result yet. Both teams will be desperate for victory but I feel like Cooks Hill United have more riding on this than West Wallsend.

My Tip: West Wallsend 0-2 Cooks Hill United


Under 23's: West Wallsend (11th) v Cooks Hill United (6th)
Kickoff: Sunday 2/8 12:45pm
Last Time They Met: Cooks Hill 3-1 West Wallsend

With finals out of the question for both these teams, hopefully this will be a free-flowing and high-attacking game as Cooks Hill travel to Johnston Park. The Bluebells are dead last and will be fighting tooth and nail to get a win on the board but Cooks Hill's 23's have been in some decent form as of late and really showed some quality against Belswans last week. I'm tipping the visitors in this one.

My Tip: West Wallsend 0-2 Cooks Hill United


Under 19's: West Wallsend (6th) v Cooks Hill United (4th)
Kickoff: Sunday 2/8 11:00am
Last Time They Met: Cooks Hill 1-0 West Wallsend

Cooks Hill's 19's took it to Belswans last week and were perhaps unlucky not to leave the Athletics Field with all three points. Whilst the Cookers 17's have struggled recently, the 19's have been quality over the last month or so. There's some very decent players in that squad.

West Wallsend were big winners over Thornton last weekend and will be full of confidence in front of their home crowd. I feel like Cooks Hill will get the win though as they'll know this is the last chance to impress before the finals series. Going into the finals off the back of a loss is not good preparation.

My Tip: West Wallsend 1-3 Cooks Hill United


Under 17's: West Wallsend (5th) v Cooks Hill United (4th)
Kickoff: Sunday 2/8 9:15am
Last Time They Met: Cooks Hill 2-1 West Wallsend

West Wallsend have a rough brand of football that they're becoming very well known for. It's one that has ultimately seen them cop a lot of yellow cards and a few reds as well. This isn't just 17's, this is all four grades. Westy have discipline issues and even someone who plays New-FM for them admitted this to me last week. It's something that needs to be looked at in the off-season.

Cooks Hill United's Under 17's have lost their way in the second half of the season. Perhaps the thought of them not being able to miss the finals played a part in recent week's but truth has to be told, they need to improve now or face being dumped out of the finals rather unceremoniously by either Kahibah or Lakes.

I feel like the Cookers will benefit from a tough game against a West Wallsend side that will be looking to score their fourth-straight victory. It was fiery when these sides met earlier in the season and Cooks Hill came out on top. This time round I feel Westy will bring even more to the table. They've got quality attackers in this squad and they'll need them on Sunday.

As I said though, the Cookers need to produce the goods ahead of the playoffs. They've got the bye next weekend which makes Sunday's fixture their last before the finals series. Cookers for me here.

My Tip: West Wallsend 1-2 Cooks Hill United




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1st Grade: Kahibah F.C (4th) v Wallsend F.C (3rd)
Kickoff: Sunday 2/8 2:30pm
Last Time They Met: Wallsend 2-0 Kahibah

Kahibah F.C have it all to play for on Sunday. A win would guarantee them a spot in the Semi Finals in their first season of New-FM 1st Division action and it certainly wouldn't be undeserved as the team in green and black have been solid all year under the strong leadership of Andre Gumprecht.

Wallsend were sloppy winners last week against Cessnock City and were arguably lucky to come away from that game with the three points. The Red Devils are safely in the finals so I judge that Kahibah will just put in that little more effort in this game.

That being said, Wallsend will not go down easily but their form has been inconsistent over the past month or so and Kahibah will know very well that this game could be the one that seals them a finals berth.

My Tip: Kahibah 2-1 Wallsend


Under 23's: Kahibah F.C (5th) v Wallsend F.C (8th)
Kickoff: Sunday 2/8 12:45pm
Last Time They Met: Wallsend 1-1 Kahibah

Kahibah's finals hopes will be over if they can't win against Wallsend on the weekend so I feel like they will put in all they can to produce a result. They were 3-0 winners over Toronto last week whilst Wallsend lost to Cessnock by the same scoreline. Kahibah at home should get the job done.

My Tip: Kahibah 3-1 Wallsend


Under 19's: Kahibah F.C (5th) v Wallsend F.C (9th)
Kickoff: Sunday 2/8 11:00am
Last Time They Met: Wallsend 1-2 Kahibah

I'm not a big fan of dead rubbers. Sure the two teams will be prepped for this game but trying to come up with a thoughtful preview can be a tad difficult. Wallsend put on a quality match with Cessnock last weekend so the dead rubbers can sometimes produce an entertaining, free-flowing game between two sides who have nothing to lose.

Kahibah really did a number on Toronto-Awaba last weekend and at home, I think they'll like their chances against a Wallsend side that they've already beaten once in 2015.

My Tip: Kahibah 3-1 Wallsend


Newysports.com's Under 17 Match of the Round
Under 17's: Kahibah F.C (1st) v Wallsend F.C (3rd)
Kickoff: Sunday 2/8 9:15am
Last Time They Met: Wallsend 1-3 Kahibah

Last time these sides met, they produced not an infamous game but an infamous scoreline. The same infamous scoreline that Northern took a month and a half (or until I mentioned it on here) to put up on Fox Sports Pulse. I know it's sour grapes but I had people wondering why my ladders were different to the official ones and it was a bit of a headache.

Anyway, this is a crucial match as Kahibah put their premiership hopes on the line. Lakes still have a game in hand, against Wallsend and if the Green and Blacks fail to get maximum points, they'll have to beat the undefeated Lakes on the final day of the season.

Wallsend were all class in their 7-0 (that scoreline again) victory over Cessnock City last weekend but they'll need to step up against a very strong Kahibah outfit. Just a quick fun fact, I've counted six games in the past two months that have ended 7-0 in the Under 17's, including two last week. That won't mean a thing for this game between two quality sides.

Last time they met, Kahibah were victorious away from home and in my opinion, I think they'll be able to do the same at home against the Red Devils. This is a key match-up for the home side.

Barring a miraculous goal difference turn-around for Cooks Hill, Wallsend will finish third regardless of their last three results. They can however influence who finishes with the minor premier's medallions. They play both Kahibah and Lakes over the next two weeks so they'll definitely go into the playoffs with some knowledge of their opponents.

As for this game, I'm tipping Kahibah.

My Tip: Kahibah 2-1 Wallsend



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1st Grade: Lake Macquarie City (2nd) v Thornton Redbacks (8th)
Kickoff: Sunday 2/8 2:30pm
Last Time They Met: Thornton 1-6 Lakes

Thornton were beaten last night by Kahibah but put four past hapless West Wallsend on the weekend. Confidence will be needed going into this match against a Lakes side that have crashed out of the promotion race. The Roosters will no doubt feel as though they should finish inside the top two and they can go a long way towards securing a top two finish with a win on Sunday.

When these sides met earlier in the season, Lakes eased to a 6-1 win and at home I feel like they will get the three points. Consistency is key going into the playoffs and Lakes really do need to return to the winners' circle.

My Tip: Lakes 4-1 Thornton


Newysports.com's Under 23 Match of the Round
Under 23's: Lake Macquarie City (4th) v Thornton Redbacks (3rd)
Kickoff: Sunday 2/8 12:45pm
Last Time They Met: Thornton 0-1 Lakes

This one is a very important match for both sides as the winner will go a long way towards securing third spot on the table and as a result, avoid runaway premiers Valentine in the Semi Finals. Lakes especially will want to avoid the Phoenix after losing 6-0 at home to the ladder-leaders in their last home match. I'm tipping Lakes to get over the line in this match. 

My Tip: Lakes 3-2 Thornton


Under 19's: Lake Macquarie City (2nd) v Thornton Redbacks (7th)
Kickoff: Sunday 2/8 11:00am
Last Time They Met: Thornton 0-4 Lakes

Thornton's Under 19's were on the back end of a rather disappointing loss to West Wallsend on their home turf last weekend. I fear for their chances against a minor premiership-chasing Lakes outfit on Sunday. The Roosters are locked in a intriguing three-way race for the title and nothing short of a win here would be a poor result for the boys from Macquarie Field. Their last home match was a 7-0 smashing of premiership-hopefuls Valentine and I think they'll brush Thornton aside in this one.

My Tip: Lakes 5-0 Thornton


Under 17's: Lake Macquarie City (2nd) v Thornton Redbacks (11th)
Kickoff: Sunday 2/8 9:15am
Last Time They Met: Thornton 0-3 Lakes

I'd love to see the Redback 17's pick up just one win in their remaining two games as it's never good to see a side go through the whole campaign without a win. They produced a stellar effort and scored three last week in a losing effort against West Wallsend but unfortunately, I feel like they're going to be put through the ringer for a lack of a better term by a classy Lakes outfit. The Roosters put seven past Singleton last week and could very well do the same to Thornton. That 7-0 scoreline keeps popping up in this comp.

My Tip: Lakes 7-0 Thornton




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1st Grade: Toronto-Awaba (9th) v Singleton (6th)
Kickoff: Sunday 2/8 2:30pm
Last Time They Met: Singleton 1-2 Toronto

Singleton picked up a massive win over Lakes last week, crazy if anything, as they pulled off a nine-goal thriller over the Roosters at Howe Park. Their finals hopes gained a slight boost but were dashed by Kahibah's mid-week win against Thornton. Singleton will need to win both remaining fixtures and rely on Kahibah losing theirs. Not impossible but considering Belswans are still alive in the finals hunt, the Strikers don't have the best of chances.

Toronto-Awaba were beaten by Kahibah last week but will no doubt want to win this one to move away from a potential wooden spoon. Singleton though have been a tough side to predict some weeks and on their day, they can match it with the best. They've beaten Lakes twice this season and I feel like they can do the same to nearby Toronto-Awaba.

My Tip: Toronto-Awaba 1-2 Singleton


Under 23's: Toronto-Awaba (10th) v Singleton (9th)
Kickoff: Sunday 2/8 12:45pm
Last Time They Met: Singleton 3-1 Toronto

Both Toronto and Singleton go into the Under 23's match-up backing up from a 3-0 loss last week, to Kahibah and Lakes respectively. Toronto I feel have more riding on this game. A win would go a long way towards safety away from the wooden spoon and considering they lost the away match to Singleton, the Stags will be keen to get a win on the board in Sunday's match-up.

My Tip: Toronto-Awaba 2-0 Singleton 


Under 19's: Toronto-Awaba (11th) v Singleton (10th)
Kickoff: Sunday 2/8 11:00am
Last Time They Met: Singleton 2-1 Toronto

These are the games that I don't really enjoy previewing but this one in particular has a bit riding on the result. The wooden spoon could potentially be decided on Sunday at Lyall Peacock Field. Toronto-Awaba are winless in 2015 but I saw their match against Cooks Hill two weeks back and they didn't look too bad at all.

I saw Singleton play not too long ago and they weren't impressive what so ever so I feel like Toronto will go into this one believing that they're a chance of picking up their first win of the season. At home in front of their own club, this is do or die football for the Stags' 19's. It's a crucial match for both sides.

My Tip: Toronto-Awaba 2-1 Singleton


Under 17's: Toronto-Awaba (8th) v Singleton (7th)
Kickoff: Sunday 2/8 9:15am
Last Time They Met: Singleton 6-2 Toronto

Neither of these teams are any chance of playing finals football but pride is still on the line as well as seventh spot on the table as Toronto-Awaba host Singleton. Earlier this season, Toronto were smashed for six by a Singleton team who haven't hit great heights in 2015 so no doubt the Stags will be primed for a big result on Sunday. I think the Stags will get over the line against a Singleton side that were soundly beaten by Lakes last week.

My Tip: Toronto-Awaba 3-1 Singleton




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