Saturday, 25 July 2015

REVIEW: New-FM 1st Division Round 20


Cooks Hill United 1 def by. BELMONT-SWANSEA 2

Top four-chasing Belmont-Swansea came to the Athletics Field expecting a tough contest and they definitely got it as Cooks Hill took the fight to the higher-ranked Belswans. Jackson Pett was on hand to get the home side off to a perfect start as he opened the scoring in the 12th minute.

The lead was a deserved one for Cooks Hill as they did start the game the better of the two sides but their recent form slump would always have had them worried about slipping up. An equaliser from Shane Paul ten minutes out from half-time put the visitors back in the box seat.

Joshua Sutton's 56th minute goal gave Belmont-Swansea the lead and capped off a very lop-sided start to the second half. The visitors knew that their finals hopes were at risk and they weren't kidding around. Cooks Hill though used this setback to try and force their way back into the game.

The Cookers began to get the ball forward through routine outlets like stand-in captain Pouria Bashardoust. Poor finishing would hinder Cooks Hill's chances though. Belmont-Swansea were getting a tad physical and were obviously trying to slow the game down. This worked a fair bit as it frustrated the home side.

All in all, 2-1 is how it would stay and I believe Cooks Hill will be pleased with their efforts against a team that obviously had much more than pride on the line. It was good to see 19's squad members Jared Neale and Rocky Sovechles given another chance in the top grade. Cooks Hill have done well using their rising players this season and it's a real strength that the club has.

Belmont-Swansea now move into the top four, although Kahibah do play tomorrow (Sunday). These guys might not be the prettiest team to watch but they know their style and they know how to pull off gutsy victories. It'll be trouble if the Belswans make the playoffs as on their day they can beat any New-FM side.

In the Under 23's, Cooks Hill battled their way to a 2-0 win. 17's winger Campbell Guest was given a start in the reserve grade and play well over half the match which was good to see. The opener came from Sam Pateman in the 32nd minute and the only other goal came from a horror Belmont-Swansea own goal off the foot of a disappointed Brad Burns.

The 19's match-up ended in a 1-1 draw, seeing premiership-chasing Belswans rescue a point with just two minutes on the clock. Jayden Wiggins opened the scoring for Cooks Hill mid-way through the first half and it was a deserved lead for the home side as they showed some class throughout the first forty minutes.

The second half wasn't as good from the Cookers and turnovers cost them a little bit of ground. With the three points in sight, a goal to Belswans' substitute Conor O'Callaghan stunned Cooks Hill in the 78th minute and rescued a point for the visitors. A very entertaining game from both sides.

Last but not least, Belmont-Swansea picked up a 1-0 win in the Under 17's. I was up at 4am in Melbourne and did incredibly well to make this game, although I missed the first goal unfortunately. The opener and what turned out to be the only goal of the match was scored by Belswans' Joel Nicholson.

The Cookers were a tad improved on recent weeks and ran hard all game. Unfortunately though it was another loss despite a few good saves by keeper Kaia Roth and a decent cameo from Jonah Croese in defence and a more fluid connection going forward.

I've made it to every Cooks Hill home match this year and I must say I'm very proud of what the club has achieved this season. The quality has been impressive and the depth the club has is growing each week. 


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SINGLETON 6 def. Lake Macquarie City 3

Due to the mad rush back from Melbourne, I only had around two hours worth of sleep last night and had to double-check my vision when this scoreline came through. To be honest, I tipped Singleton to win but not in a goalfest like this. I've been told there were five goals in the first eight minutes. Absolute madness at Howe Park.

With Kahibah still to play tomorrow (Sunday), the Strikers are now in fifth-place and on the edge of the top four. Things are lining up for the in-form Strikers and if luck is on their side and the other teams around them drop points, than the finals are certainly not out of the picture just yet.

Apart from a very, very slim mathematically hope, Lakes' hopes and dreams of promotion are now a faded memory. This is a second loss to Singleton for the season and a result that will no doubt be celebrated big-time at Singleton.

In the 23's, Lakes powered to a 3-0 win that kept their top two hopes in tact. The Lakes 19's were 5-1 victors and are now breathing down Valentine's neck at the top of the table. Finally, Lakes remained unbeaten in the Under 17's, blasting their way to a 7-0 victory.


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Sunday:


Let me start by saying, this wasn't the prettiest, most technically-advanced game you'll ever see but it did certainly have it's fair share of entertaining (and sloppy!) moments. Brendon Nichols opened the goalscoring, putting the home side in front.

Cessnock City would hit back soon enough though. I looked away from the game for a moment and then looked back to see Mitchell Cox rounding the goalkeeper and slotting the ball easily into an empty net. Not sure what the Wallsend keeper was doing that far out but wasn't the best goal to concede that's for sure.

Wade Attwell put the visitors into a somewhat shock lead as he scored the third goal of the game. I'm only saying it was a shock lead as it was essentially a lower-table side against a top four-side but make no mistakes, Cessnock played well and deserved their half-time lead.

Highlights were few and far between in the second half as neither team really clicked and passes began to go astray. Chris Gazzard stepped up to the plate though and banged home an equaliser for the home side. Not long after that, Cessnock had a horror moment at the back as their #9 (didn't get the name) put the ball into the back of his own net. A disappointing way to fall behind.

Both teams could have scored more on a day where defensive errors seemed to pop up more often than not. The final moments were soured a little as one of Cessnock's players (one of their best on the day too) was taken off on a stretcher and screaming in agony. I've since heard it was a severe cork to the thigh and not a serious knee injury like some had thought in the stands. Hope he's alright as it looked incredibly painful.

The Under 23's finished with Cessnock City easing their way to a 3-0 win. Wallsend didn't threaten too much and just weren't good enough for the finals-bound Hornets. In the 19's, an entertaining match ended with a 1-1 draw and the 17's was all red (or purple on this day) as Wallsend rocketed to a 7-0 win over a depleted Cessnock outfit. I was told the Hornets' 17's were forced to play with ten men. Another tough game but a good result for the Red Devils.

Alright, this is where I go off-topic a bit and praise Wallsend F.C for the day I had today and the way in which things are ran at The Gardens. I was treated to a tour of the facilities by club president Chris Gallagher and was impressed with the home changeroom, along with their plans to fix some of the problems at the ground and upgrade things for next season and beyond.

Red Devils' coach Josh Rufo introduced himself and from the conversation I had with him it's easy to tell that he is keen to lead this team into further success. The ambition the club has is infectious and as a neutral-viewer looking in, this club seems like it's on the right path to the top.

I was given a club jacket, some shorts and a beanie which is absolutely great. I was also met with countless friendly faces praising this site and congratulating me on the success of the site. I also contributed $50 into Wallsend's charity drive for Brain Cancer Research. It felt good giving for such a good cause.

I was again impressed with the facilities, especially the high-quality PA system. It's funny how a bit of music can add to the pre-game festivities. It was good to see Wallsend allowing their youngsters onto the field in between games as well. And it was absolutely wonderful to see players and staff from both clubs as well as match officials sharing a few drinks in the clubhouse after the game. A wonderful atmosphere all round.

Last by not least, I was presented with an official charity jersey by the club, which is an absolute treat because for those of you who don't know, I am an avid jersey collector and have over 160 jerseys in my wardrobe. Being given a fully-sponsored New-FM club jersey is awesome!

I don't normally put up photos but this one's a good one of me and Wallsend F.C President Chris Gallagher. Again, a big thanks to Chris, Josh Rufo and Wallsend for the hospitality today. Felt right at home and enjoyed the day. Shoutout to the really nice Cessnock City fans I sat near in the grandstand too. Enjoy meeting more and more people from the various New-FM clubs.  







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Every now and then, clubs have a day where they win all four grades and everything just goes to plan. Today was one of those days for Kahibah as they recorded four wins in four grades against Toronto-Awaba. The 1st Graders picked up an ever-so-crucial victory, winning 3-0 over Toronto and putting themselves back into the top four. The Green and Blacks cannot afford to slip up with Belswans and Singleton right behind them.

In the 23's, Kahibah recorded a 3-0 win over Toronto and kept their slim finals hopes alive. They'll need other results to definitely go their way next week if they want to have a crack at playing finals. The 19's was all Kahibah as they stormed to a 7-1 win over lowly Toronto. The Stags endured a tough day at the office as they slipped to one of their worst losses of the season.

And finally, an early red card saw Toronto's 17's reduced to ten men and it hindered their chances against top of the table Kahibah. The Green and Blacks would go on to secure a 2-0 win and lift themselves back above Lakes into top spot for the time being.

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I haven't mentioned it before today but I believe Thornton are a harder side to beat on their home turf than they are away. They've put in some good displays at Thornton Park this season and today was one of them as they put four past hapless West Wallsend. The Redbacks now assure themselves of avoiding the wooden spoon whilst the struggling Bluebells will need to produce something if they want to avoid finishing bottom.

Goalscorers for Thornton were Nathan McAllister, Cal Baxter, Jesse Smith and Tallan Martin.

In the 23's, West Wallsend produced one of their best results of the season as they held a quality Thornton side to a 1-1 draw. The 19's was all West Wallsend as they stormed to a 3-0 win, courtesy of goals to Jono Gardiner, Isaiah Button and Greg Mason.

The 17's was arguably the match of the day as the two sides played out a seven-goal thriller. West Wallsend's Josh Knight seemingly cannot stop scoring goals and took his season tally to 24 with another hat-trick whilst Mitch Kramer added a fourth for the Bluebells. Credit to Thornton for their effort as I know they've had a tough year and they've struggled to find the net. Unfortunately it wasn't to be today but there's still two more games to go to find that first win.


Ladders:




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