Sunday, 5 July 2015

REVIEW: New-FM 1st Division Round 17

THORNTON REDBACKS 1 def. Wallsend F.C 0

In the build-up to this match I was sure as anything the fixtures listed this game as to be played on Sunday July 5th but somehow it went ahead on Saturday. I swear the fixtures said Saturday. Anyway the game did go ahead and what a result for the Thornton Redbacks.

I've been told both goalies put in a good shift and the game could have gone either way but a superbly-taken free kick gave the Redbacks their second 1-0 victory over a top four side this season, after knocking off Valentine by the same scoreline at the same ground.

The 1-0 win moves Thornton four points clear of bottom-placed Cessnock City but it's a much, much more important result for Wallsend as it severely dents their minor premiership hopes. Two losses in a row and now a mid-week game to play against Lakes, it's tough times at Wallsend in the race for the title.

Whilst it looks like the title race may be swaying towards Lakes and Valentine, it's still been a huge first season in the New-FM 1st Division for Wallsend and they have certainly outdone a lot of people's expectations.

In the lower grades, Thornton were 4-3 winners in the Under 23's, a result that keeps their top four spot alive. The Redbacks picked up a confidence-boosting 4-1 victory in the 19's whilst Wallsend were too classy in the Under 17's, winning 5-1.


Kahibah F.C 0 def by. VALENTINE F.C 2

The promotion-chasing Phoenix were reduced to ten men within the first half-hour and despite being up against a very strong Kahibah side, they still produced the goods and moved into outright first on the ladder with a 2-0 victory.

There's not too much more I can say about this game as I wasn't there but it's a hugely important win for Valentine and one that keeps them in the box seat for promotion, especially if Wednesday night's catch-up game between Wallsend and Lakes ends in a draw.

In the 23's, Kahibah pulled off a gutsy 1-1 draw and held rampaging Valentine out. It was the first time since the first month of the season that the Phoenix 23's didn't pick up three points so the Kahibah boys should hold their heads high after this one.

In the 19's, Valentine continued their good form with a 2-0 result whilst it was all Kahibah in the Under 17's, running out 4-1 winners and moving into top spot for at least a week with Lakes having the bye this weekend.


BELMONT-SWANSEA 6 def. West Wallsend 1

It was another tough day at the office for the West Wallsend Bluebells as they fell to a second-half rampage from Belmont-Swansea. The home side rocketed to a 6-1 win that propelled them ever so much closer to fourth-placed Kahibah. I believe the Belswans are the darkhorse to watch. If they can steal a finals spot then anything could happen.

For West Wallsend it was yet another heavy loss in a season that started strongly. They've fallen off the wagon as of late but will surely be back in style next season as they celebrate their 125th anniversary. The lone West Wallsend goal of the day came from a Kyle Clarke penalty.

In the 23's, Belmont-Swansea held on for a 2-1 victory against a gallant West Wallsend side. Patrick Baker gave the visitors some hope but the Belswans were just a bit stronger and more clinical. The 19's ended in victory for the visitors. Greg Mason bagged two for Westy and set one up for Matt Turner. The Bluebells' keeper Dylan Cheetham was required to save a penalty attempt. A good win for the Bluebells.

In the 17's, Belmont-Swansea pulled off a 4-2 victory over a decent West Wallsend side. Josh Knight added another goal to his season tally for the Bluebells whilst Brady Coe provided the other goal for the visitors.


TORONTO-AWABA 2 def. Cessnock City 1

Today's 2-1 victory was a big one for Toronto-Awaba as they moved off the foot of the table and put all the pressure on Cessnock City when it comes to who'll receive the dreaded wooden spoon. Regardless of today's result I'm sure both teams will admit this season's been a bit of a let-down compared to what they would have hoped for.

Still, it's a decent win for Toronto and one that gives them some hope of avoiding the spoon. In the 23's (not 22's like the graphic says!) Cessnock City were 2-0 victors and the visitors won 3-0 as well in the Under 19's. Toronto's Under 17's picked up a decent 3-1 victory in the opening match of the day.


SINGLETON 4 def. Cooks Hill United 1

1st grade began with a high-attacking rate as well and it was Singleton who got off to the better start and had the first one or two real chances of the match. A horror error at the back gave Singleton a free shot at goal and they made no mistake as Jackson Cox scored the first goal of the game.

Cooks Hill didn't let it effect them and started to create some chances of their own. The Cookers were looking decent in transition and had a great chance when the ball was scrambled around the box. Singleton had another one or two good chances but were unable to find the back of the net.

The score would remain 1-0 at half time and it was certainly a deserved lead for Singleton as they created more attacking chances, although the goal itself was a lucky one caused by miscommunication at the back from Cooks Hill. At this stage the game certainly still could have gone either way.

The second half started with the Strikers firing and it took only a few minutes for them to find the back of the net as one of their attackers beat the Cookers to the ball and smashed it home. It wasn't long until Singleton stretched their lead to three, a goal I'll admit I didn't actually see!

The Cookers were looking out of sorts but got one back as Pouria Bashardoust made a barnstorming run down the left wing, beating one or two defenders and smashing one into the back of the net. The tables had turned slightly and Cooks Hill were starting to create more chances.

Cookers' young gun Jayden Wiggins was given a chance off the bench in the top grade and did fairly well in my opinion. Wiggins was on the end of a great ball from around the halfway line but unfortunately missed a one on one chance that would have made it 3-2. Still a decent showing from the #9.

Singleton would seal the win with a fourth goal not too long after and honestly it was a deserved win. They took their chances well, their goalie, Corey Cleaver was fantastic and they showed some class across the field. I've been told Cleaver was playing in goal for the first time in a few years and making the transition from his usual position of left-back. Not a bad effort at all.

As mentioned on Facebook, I thought their coach was really loud on the sideline. When your team's up 4-1, yelling at them over the little things ins't a good look. Plus giving it to the referees constantly is a bit much. I'm not trying to stir the pot though as whatever the coach is doing up there obviously worked well this week.

Anyway, the Under 23's match was a very entertaining one in my opinion and it ended with a deserved 3-0 win for Cooks Hill, and a long-awaited one at that. It started quickly with both sides on the attack at either end and both keepers forced into some early action. Tim Mason opened the scoring for the visitors and for some unknown reason that's where my match review ends for that game! Not sure what happened there. A quality win though by the Cookers.

I arrived at Howe Park just in time to catch the Under 19's and this match was right up there with the others in terms of quality. The Cookers took a 2-0 lead into the half-time break after opening the scoring through a superbly-taken free kick from young midfielder Seb Lewis and a neatly tucked away goal from Aden Luker not long after.

Singleton didn't look too bad but they seemed to be lacking that final touch in the build-up towards goal. Any hopes of a comeback were quashed as Jarod Neale headed home a spot-on in-swinging free kick from Bailey Graham. The left back has a knack for scoring goals.

I thought 3-0 was a fair reflection on the game as Cooks Hill really did show some class and scored two entertaining goals. The Under 17's ended 3-1 to Cooks Hill. Pacey winger Campbell Guest bagged a double, although I've been told his first was lucky to say the very least.

Harrison Owens added another goal to his season tally whilst Hamish Mayled was the long goalscorer for the Strikers on the day. A much-needed win for Cooks Hill's 17's after last week's loss.

All in all I was very impressed with the ground and the club at Singleton. It was one of the better grounds I've seen in the New-FM 1st Division this year. I was impressed with the electronic scoreboard as well and the program was probably the best I've read all season (had everything in it!). 

From the outside looking in, Singleton seem like a club on the rise and if they can continue to get numbers and grow the club they'll definitely be a New-FM 1st Division side for a while to come. 


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