Thursday, 6 August 2015

PREVIEW: New-FM 1st Division Round 22

Turns out a lot of the goalscorers from Round 11 are up on SportingPulse so I'm going to use that to enhance my final round reviews. Unfortunately the goalscorers for Wallsend v Toronto-Awaba aren't there. I feel like this week's previews are my best in week. Taken three and a half hours to write them! Good luck to all!'s Match of the Round
1st Grade: Lake Macquarie City (2nd) v Kahibah F.C (4th)
Kickoff: Sunday 9/8 2:30pm
Last Time They Met: Kahibah 1-1 Lakes

It's crunch time for Kahibah Football Club. In their first season of New-FM football, Andre Gumprecht and his side sit on the brink of finals football. They need a point from Macquarie Field to see off fast-finishing Singleton and make their way to a date with minor-premier Valentine Phoenix.

It's not going to be that easy though as Lakes will be looking to end their regular season on a high and secure a top two spot as well as the all-important first leg home game next week in the Semi Finals. Lakes have been stumbling in recent times and need a quality win to give them confidence ahead of the finals.

I was there when these sides met in a re-scheduled Round 11 game and Lakes were very, very lucky to get one back through Sam Walker and avoid a loss in a 1-1 draw. Poor finishing cost Kahibah dearly that night and I feel like they'll need some better accuracy on Sunday.

It's essentially do or die for Kahibah and they simply cannot lose. Singleton should overcome West Wallsend and a loss would see Kahibah crash out of the finals. Unfortunately for those in Green and Black, I'm tipping Lakes to pick up a confidence-boosting win going into the playoffs.

My Tip: Lakes 3-1 Kahibah

Under 23's: Lake Macquarie City (4th) v Kahibah F.C (5th)
Kickoff: Sunday 9/8 12:45pm
Last Time They Met: Kahibah 3-1 Lakes

If one or two results had of gone the other way, Kahibah's 23's would be playing for a finals spot in this one but ultimately they are unable to crack the top four regardless of the outcome here. What they can do is record the double over finals-bound Lake Macquarie City and prove that they're one to watch next season. 

When they met back in Round 11, two goals to Thomas Houston and one to Jacob Hill helped Kahibah to one of their best wins of the season. I feel like Lakes will get the win though in this one as they cannot afford to go into a two-legged clash with Valentine on the back of a loss.

My Tip: Lakes 2-0 Kahibah's Under 19 Match of the Round
Under 19's: Lake Macquarie City (2nd) v Kahibah F.C (5th)
Kickoff: Sunday 9/8 11:00am
Last Time They Met: Kahibah 1-3 Lakes

With a win in tonight's catch-up game against Wallsend F.C, the Lakes' 19's will put themselves in the box seat when it comes to the race for the minor premiership. On the weekend, they've got a Kahibah side that will be keen to end their season on a high. This will be a quality game and one that I think will live up to my Match of the Round status.

When these sides met in Round 11, goals to Riley Stackman, Kieran Quadrelli and Cody Chappell helped Lake Macquarie City record a 3-1 win over Kahibah F.C. I'm tipping Lakes to get the win here and secure the minor premiership as I also believe they'll win tonight against Wallsend.

My Tip: Lakes 3-1 Kahibah's Under 17 Match of the Round
Under 17's: Lake Macquarie City (2nd) v Kahibah F.C (1st)
Kickoff: Sunday 9/8 9:15am
Last Time They Met: Kahibah 1-2 Lakes

This is in my opinion the biggest game in the New-FM 1st Division this week and I'm considering travelling out to Macquarie Field to watch these two quality Under 17's teams do battle for the minor premiership. Lakes won the original meeting 2-1 with goals to Benjamin Roberts and Darko Nikic and I've been told from some sources that the game that night was one of the best this season across any grades.

Lakes have scored 23 goals in four games since the bye and if they win tonight's catch-up game with Wallsend, they'll be on track for the minor premiership. Both these teams are freescoring sides and have combined for a unreal 152 goals in 37 games between them this season (4.10 goals a game!)

Both teams have some great players in their squad and this will leave up to the Match of the Round status, I have no doubt. I'm going to tip a 3-3 draw. Why? It's because that's what I want to see from a neutral viewpoint and I feel like these teams are pretty even. Lakes in my opinion will beat Wallsend tonight and thus wrap-up the minor premiership with the draw. Let's see if that's how it plays out. I watched both these sides tear their way through Cooks Hill and trust me, both sides are quality. Get to the game if you've got nothing else on.

My Tip: Lakes 3-3 Kahibah


1st Grade: Belmont-Swansea (6th) v Thornton Redbacks (8th)
Kickoff: Saturday 8/8 2:30pm
Last Time They Met: Thornton 1-2 Belmont-Swansea

These two sides will no doubt be thinking what could have been if they had of picked up a few more results this season and maybe finished inside the top four. Belmont-Swansea had their finals hopes dashed by minor premiership-winning Valentine last week and will be hunting a win on the last day of the season to finish in a decent way. Thornton will also be looking to end their campaign on a high.

Last time these sides met, Belswans pulled a rabbit out of a hat and produced a stunning comeback through Jamie Hadlow and Joel Shearer in the dying minutes cancelled out Kyle Duncan's opener and helped kick-start a run that has seen Belswans become one of the form teams in the competition. Unfortunately for the Blacksmiths-based side, that form hasn't seen them leap into the top four.

Final day fixtures are never easy to predict and considering neither team can make the playoffs, this one becomes even harder to call. Being a home match and looking at form, I've got to go with Belmont-Swansea though. Thornton should be congratulated for picking up some important wins and avoiding the wooden spoon but I feel like Saturday will be a loss.

My Tip: Belmont-Swansea 3-1 Thornton Redbacks

Under 23's: Belmont-Swansea (7th) v Thornton Redbacks (2nd)
Kickoff: Saturday 8/8 12:45pm
Last Time They Met: Thornton 1-1 Belmont-Swansea

I remember earlier this season when Thornton's Under 23's looked like they'd challenge for the minor premiership. Form has let them down a little but with a win here they'll still finish inside the top two; a quality result for the only Redbacks' side destined for the finals in 2015.

Belmont-Swansea will want to put a win on the board and were very decent in a 2-2 draw with minor premiers Valentine last week so I might tip the same result in this one. I feel like Thornton might win but the draw sounds like a good option and these sides did draw back in Round 11 with first-half goals from Thornton's Ranganai Purazeni and Belswans' Ben Hadfield.

My Tip: Belmont-Swansea 1-1 Thornton Redbacks

Under 19's: Belmont-Swansea (3rd) v Thornton Redbacks (7th)
Kickoff: Saturday 8/8 11:00am
Last Time They Met: Thornton 1-3 Belmont-Swansea

Belmont-Swansea's Under 19's are the club's only side that will play finals football and it's well deserved as they've been one of the best 19's sides all season. Unfortunately they've dropped out of the minor premiership race but they're definitely a chance of winning the Grand Final if they produce in the finals.

In Round 11, a Tanner White goal for Thornton was cancelled out by goals to Belswans' Matthew Ellis, Aidan Hampton and Mitchell Maxton. If the Belswans can produce a similar effort on Saturday, they'll have no trouble getting past an out-of-form Thornton outfit.

My Tip: Belmont-Swansea 3-0 Thornton Redbacks

Under 17's: Belmont-Swansea (6th) v Thornton Redbacks (11th)
Kickoff: Sunday 9/8 9:15am
Last Time They Met: Thornton 0-3 Belmont-Swansea

Thornton's Under 17's are one of two sides that haven't won all season across the New-FM competition and to be honest I remember their match at Cooks Hill fairly well and remember wondering how they hadn't picked up a win yet in the campaign. A few of them looked young and I think with the experienced learned this season, they'll improve in 2016.

When these sides met in Round 11, Joel Nicholson picked up a double and Jarrod Horgan got on the scoresheet as well as the Belswans picked up a quality 3-0 win away at Thornton Park. They've got good form going into this, especially last week's 7-1 win over Valentine and I think they'll win it. I want to tip Thornton to get their first win of the season but I just can't. I'd personally like to see the Redbacks get a win but I feel the Belswans will have too much quality.

My Tip: Belmont-Swansea 3-1 Thornton Redbacks


1st Grade: West Wallsend (11th) v Singleton (5th)
Kickoff: Sunday 9/8 2:30pm
Last Time They Met: Singleton 2-1 West Wallsend

Two years to remember here, 1992 and 2004. 1992 was the last time the Singleton Strikers won the 1st Division Grand Final and 2004 was the last time they played in the finals series, at that time a six-team finals series. This game is one of their biggest in a decade or so as they look to sneak their way into the top four for the first time this season at the very end of the season.

I don't want to give spoilers of my Lakes v Kahibah preview but there's a serious, serious chance Kahibah won't win that game and that'll leave the door open for an in-form Singleton side to pounce and make their way into a date with Valentine in Week 1 of the New-FM Finals Series. Who would have thought it after the first half of the season.

West Wallsend will not lay down easily and will no doubt be frustrated with what was a very unlucky loss against Cooks Hill last week. The Bluebells' will want to end their miserable season that started with so much promise on a high and perhaps even avoid the wooden spoon.

When these sides met back in Round 11, Klaudon Ahmataj and Daniel Bartlett were on the scoresheet for Singleton as they defeated West Wallsend 2-1 with Kyle Clarke being the lone goalscorer for the visiting Bluebells.

Unfortunately for West Wallsend, I'm tipping Singleton to get over the line. Scott Baillie's side have stormed their way through the second half of the season and I think they'll be too good for an out-of-form and out-of-luck West Wallsend outfit.

My Tip: West Wallsend 1-4 Singleton

Under 23's: West Wallsend (11th) v Singleton (9th)
Kickoff: Sunday 9/8 12:45pm
Last Time They Met: Singleton 2-3 West Wallsend

Win, lose or draw, West Wallsend's 23's will finish with the dreaded wooden spoon but with that being said, the Bluebells' will no doubt want to end their season on a high with a victory song and a trip across the road to the Museum Hotel after that. Simple enough right?

It was a superb second half effort from Singleton last time these sides met as they fought back from 2-0 down at the break. They'd still go down 3-2 though. Goalscorers on that day were Chase Hamilton and Will Straw for Singleton and Patrick Baker and Todd Jones for Westy. There was a third scorer for West Wallsend but he's not on the results page for some reason.

Singleton fell to a 1-0 loss to Toronto-Awaba last week and looking at their recent form, apart from a win over Wallsend, they've struggled in the last month or so. I think Westy will lift at home on the final day and record a win.

My Tip: West Wallsend 2-1 Singleton

Under 19's: West Wallsend (6th) v Singleton (10th)
Kickoff: Sunday 9/8 11:00am
Last Time They Met: Singleton 2-4 West Wallsend

Singleton's Under 19's need a win to stamp out any chance of being handed the wooden spoon and against West Wallsend, it's going to be a tough ask. When these sides met in Round 11, two goals to Liam Muir, one to Samuel Jones and one to Greg Mason helped Westy to a 4-2 win over Singleton at Howe Park. Tony Zanardi and Tully Winsor were goalscorers for Singleton.

West Wallsend I feel will win this game and finish their season on a high. They were strong against Cooks Hill last weekend and earned a quality 2-2 draw. Singleton will need to up the ante if they want to win this one.

My Tip: West Wallsend 3-1 Singleton

Under 17's: West Wallsend (5th) v Singleton (7th)
Kickoff: Sunday 9/8 9:15am
Last Time They Met: Singleton 3-4 West Wallsend

This is a clash that I feel will be an entertaining one as two sides looking to go out on a high for the end of the season meet at Johnston Park. Last time they met, Singleton were beaten 4-3 by West Wallsend. On that day, Tom Muir was on the goalscorers sheet along with serial goalscorer Josh Knight as the Bluebells came out winners. Singleton's Cashlin Murray-Mell scored a brace for the home side.

I feel like both these sides' have some quality Under 17's players and they'll no doubt improve next season. Singleton are a keen footballing side and a fairly strong goals conceded tally compared to some of the other sides that missed out on finals. Westy's done the job up front but defence has let in a few more goals than what would have been desired. I'm thinking the home side will get the win here and their main man Josh Knight will be on the scoresheet.

My Tip: West Wallsend 3-1 Singleton


1st Grade: Toronto-Awaba (9th) v Wallsend F.C (3rd)
Kickoff: Sunday 9/8 2:30pm
Last Time They Met: Wallsend 4-2 Toronto-Awaba

Wallsend can sneak into the top two with a win over Toronto-Awaba on Sunday (depending on the Lakes v Kahibah result) and seal a home Semi Final next week rather than the week after. With the away goal rule in effect during the finals, I believe Josh Rufo and his side would rather host the first leg and put a lead on the board against Lakes.

Toronto-Awaba at this point are playing for pride and although very unlikely, a loss could see them wind up with the wooden spoon, depending on other results. They've had some younger players step up into the first grade squad recently and will probably do the same on Sunday.

It is Old Boy's Day at Toronto this weekend so the Stags will be fired up to put on a result in front of their successful sides of yesteryear. However I feel like Wallsend will get over the line in this one. The Red Devils' will be looking to go into the finals with a big win. Maybe not that big though.

My Tip: Toronto-Awaba 0-2 Wallsend

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

This one is a hard one to predict as both sides scrap it out for an end-of-season victory. Wallsend were big winners over Kahibah last weekend whilst Toronto got over the line against Singleton. When they met at The Gardens in Round 11, Toronto-Awaba recorded a 3-1 win and I feel like Wallsend will be looking to turn that around on Sunday and get some revenge. 

My Tip: Toronto-Awaba 1-2 Wallsend

Under 19's: Toronto-Awaba (11th) v Wallsend F.C (8th)
Kickoff: Sunday 9/8 11:00am
Last Time They Met: Wallsend 4-0 Toronto-Awaba

It's the last chance for Toronto-Awaba's Under 19's to pick up their maiden win of 2015 when they host Wallsend F.C at Lyall Peacock Field. The Stags haven't been too far away from winning one this year with a draw against Cooks Hill a few weeks back standing out as a really close one.

Wallsend's results haven't been that good as of late and this one is a real danger game against a Toronto side that can maybe avoid the wooden spoon with a win. Why not is my question for this one. I'm tipping Toronto to pick up a big win and end the season on a high.

My Tip: Toronto-Awaba 2-1 Wallsend

Under 17's: Toronto-Awaba (8th) v Wallsend F.C (3rd)
Kickoff: Sunday 9/8 9:15am
Last Time They Met: Wallsend 7-4 Toronto-Awaba

Toronto-Awaba's Under 17's were travelling nicely earlier this season but form has seen them fall away from finals contention. Wallsend are destined for the finals and will be looking to record a win here ahead of a challenging Semi Final series against either Lakes or Kahibah. They play the Roosters tonight and I feel like they'll lose that one. That's my prediction anyway.

On the weekend I feel like Wallsend will get the points. Last time they met Toronto they won 7-4 on a day where both teams' goalkeepers and defences might have forgot that there was a game on. Jokes aside it's a game Wallsend will be looking to win as going into a two-legged final against Kahibah or Lakes on the back of a loss is not the right preparation in my opinion.

My Tip: Toronto-Awaba 1-3 Wallsend


1st Grade: Cessnock City (10th) v Valentine F.C (1st)
Kickoff: Sunday 9/8 2:30pm
Last Time They Met: Valentine 5-1 Cessnock City

Cessnock City will be looking to pick up a win and avoid the wooden spoon against minor premiers Valentine Phoenix F.C on Sunday. Personally I've tipped West Wallsend to lose to Singleton so I don't think Cessnock will finish last but they'll no doubt want to upset the NPL-bound Valentine in this one.

Valentine can send a team of 15-year olds out onto the park for this one, or their Over-45's. It doesn't matter as the title's won but the professionalism at the club will no doubt see them aiming to win this one and go into the finals with all guns blazing. 

When these sides met in Round 11, it was all one-way traffic as goals to Alexander Burrell (x2), Mitchell Harper, Paul McGinley and Luke Barnier helped Valentine to a 5-1 win over a Cessnock City side that scored a consolation goal through Mitchell Cox.

Alan Hackett's men know the job is only half done and the Grand Final is still something the club will be aiming to win. If Valentine can find their best form this week, it could be a rather lopsided match against a Cessnock side that haven't hit their straps in 2015.

My Tip: Cessnock City 0-4 Valentine F.C's Under 23 Match of the Round
Under 23's: Cessnock City (3rd) v Valentine F.C (1st)
Kickoff: Sunday 9/8 12:45pm
Last Time They Met: Valentine 5-1 Cessnock City

When the Cessnock 23's met out-of-sight minor-premiers Valentine earlier this season, they were humbled in a 5-1 loss to the Phoenix as Corey Atkinson bagged four goals. Revenge will be on the cards at Turner Park as the only Hornets' finals-bound side bid farewell to their home ground for 2015. They'll want to do it in style.

Valentine are no easybeats, proven by the fact that they've only lost once this season, all the way back in Round 3. I think Cessnock will get it a decent crack on Sunday but I feel like Valentine will want to go into the finals with win and finish the season on a high with a whopping 53 competition points.

My Tip: Cessnock City 1-3 Valentine F.C

Under 19's: Cessnock City (9th) v Valentine F.C (1st)
Kickoff: Sunday 9/8 11:00am
Last Time They Met: Valentine 3-3 Cessnock City

Cessnock City have been inconsistent this year in the Under 19's but there are some signs that they'll improve next season. One of their best results this season came back in Round 11 when they travelled to Valentine and picked up a quality 3-3 draw.

Goals to Luke Ford, Justin Bradley and Liam Neild helped Cessnock City come from 1-0 down at the break to record a very decent 3-3 draw. I have a feeling Valentine will be hoping to improve on that draw this time round and I think they'll be up for it.

My Tip: Cessnock City 0-3 Valentine F.C

Under 17's: Cessnock City (10th) v Valentine F.C (9th)
Kickoff: Sunday 9/8 9:15am
Last Time They Met: Valentine 2-1 Cessnock City

Two sides that just never got started in season 2015 for various reasons. Cessnock were forced to field a fair few 15 year olds in their squad and depth has been a problem for the Hornets' across the park. They came close to getting a result at Cahill Oval in Round 11 as Tyler Black helped them to a 1-1 scoreline at the break. Matthew Wigney and Maximilian Zank helped Valentine to a 2-1 victory though on that day.

Form isn't convincing for either of these sides as both are coming off heavy losses in their last matches. Cessnock aren't safe from the wooden spoon so I feel they'll be keen to pick up just their second win of the season whilst Valentine will no doubt want to record a win and kick-start what could be a great day of celebration for the club. I think Valentine will get the points.

My Tip: Cessnock City 1-2 Valentine F.C

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