Sunday, 2 August 2015

RESULTS: New-FM 1st Division Round 21

West Wallsend 1 def by. COOKS HILL UNITED 2

After watching four matches over the course of the day, my memory is a little bit fuzzy as to what happened in each particular match. Cooks Hill did control most of the match in the Under 17's and just seemed to have an answer for every potential attack West Wallsend produced.

Credit has to go to the Bluebells' though as they were a few troops short today and forced to play without substitutions for the entire match. Up against a well-rotated Cookers outfit with four subs, it was always going to be a tough ask. The home side threatened one or two times but it was Cooks Hill who struck first.

Young dual-registered inter-district attacker Kurt Suleiman broke through a couple of defenders in an exciting run and smashed a goal past Westy keeper Shae Cox. It was a well-deserved goal for Suleiman as he really upped the ante when he entered play. Certainly one for the future at Cooks Hill.

The half-time score was 1-0 but the home side didn't go down without a fight. West Wallsend tried to create a few chances but kept being denied by a strong Cookers' defence, led by central defender Luke Sleigh and Jonah Croese. Both defenders were key to the Cookers' quality.

As time began to grow short, West Wallsend began to grow frustrated and the decision to move top goalscorer Josh Knight from up front to centre of defence was an interesting to say the least and I'm not sure how that came about. 

West Wallsend did manage to get forward a few more times. Captain Mitch Kramer was strong in midfield and I believe it was Bradie Coe who went up front (maybe not) and was denied a penalty with five minutes left on the clock. I thought it was a clear penalty but it was waved away and Westy were denied.

Cooks Hill broke away from the denied penalty decision and slotted home a match-sealer just moments later through Harry Owens. Almost instantly, it was three as Campbell Guest capped off a decent match by scoring Cooks Hill's third goal of the match. A strong win by a side that needed to win well going into the finals. Westy are a decent side in the 17's and took some quality to overcome.

The 19's began and it was fairly obvious from the get-go that it was going to be a tough day for West Wallsend against a quality Cooks Hill outfit. The visitors didn't take long to open the scoring with Jackson Graham slotting one home in the 9th minute (not Jackson Gosling as I said in the Facebook update.)

The Cookers would go on to take a 2-0 lead into the break after Josh Fellowes added a second goal on the cusp of the half-time whistle. The second half began with Cooks Hill controlling the match but Westy would get one back when Greg Mason put the ball into the back of the net.

With the game looking like a Cooks Hill victory, some sloppy free kick defending would cost them and allow Jaryd Abbott to score an equaliser with not long remaining in the match. Tempers were starting to flare and it wasn't a surprise at all to see Matt Turner dismissed with a second yellow.

That's how it would end and it was certainly a gritty draw for the home side as they refused to give in and pulled off a late equaliser. Points dropped for Cooks Hill but no real effect on their final standing ahead of next week's bye. It'll be onto the finals for them in two weeks' time and they'll need improvement.

West Wallsend never looked that convincing in the Under 23's and despite holding Cooks Hill out for the first twenty minutes, it was soon to go the other way. Some mad scrambling in the box saw defender Sheldon Candian claim a goal for Cooks Hill (at least that's what I saw) but the team sheet says Giles Olsen-Boyd was the scorer. It was a crowd of legs so I had no idea from where I was sitting.

There was no doubting who scored the next goal as Payton Tagarouliouis put his name on the scoresheet. West Wallsend hit back through Jackson Caper on half-time. The Cookers took a 2-1 lead into the break and it took only 13 second half minutes for them to add to that as Jackson Gosling scored a decent goal to make it 3-0.

The match would be sealed by a superb Giles Olsen-Boyd long-range shot. I almost missed the goal as I was at the canteen but fortunately was able to catch it as it happened. Just to the Cookers guys reading this, I had a feeling the #14 was going to score a crazy goal today. It was a well-controlled shot!

4-1 is how it would stay as Cooks Hill ended their season on a very big high. It was definitely up there with the best games, if not the best I've seen them play all season. West Wallsend unfortunately will finish with the wooden spoon after rivals Toronto picked up a vital three points today.

First grade was always going to be a hotly-contested contest between two sides very keen for a win. Cooks Hill were looking to finish a miserable second half of the season on a high but were depleted to say the least with several regular starters missing and regular 23's players Ryan Bartlett and Nick Tantos among those to step into fill the void.

Cooks Hill started strongly and absolutely dominated the first twenty minutes or so of the contest. It was clear to see why West Wallsend are sitting bottom as they just could not string any passes together. 

They improved though and scored a very, very lucky goal through Sam Holt. Attacker Tye Jones broke through the defence and took what was supposed to be a shot. He completely shanked it for a lack of a better term and it fell conveniently to Holt who slotted it past Josh Piotrowski.

Slightly unlucky for the Cookers keeper. It was good to see Piotrowski back in the first grade squad for the first time since suffering an arm injury early on in the season. He stepped in for quality young gun Kaia Roth and made his first top grade appearance in a few months.

The Cookers hit back early in the second half as Peter Pryce slotted one home. Tensions were high though and Pryce was having a running battle with commanding West Wallsend defender Jarrod Olivieri. The unorthodox Olivieri has a very physical game and a very up-front attitude. As a Cookers man it was frustrating as hell but part of me was happy to see it as it's always fun to heckle those sort of players. All in a day's fun right?

Cookers coach Warren Spink was down on troops and forced to recruit some younger players. It was great to see Seb Lewis given his first taste of the top grade today, the tricky midfielder fitted in well and was using his fast technique to frustrate some of West Wallsend's tired players.

Next up was one of the strangest goal decisions I've seen on a football field. The Cookers had a throw-in and the ball was thrown towards an unsuspecting Piotrowski in goal. The #1 would realize the ball was coming towards him but swung and missed, allowing the ball to roll into the back of the net untouched.

The Cookers bench nearly went up in flames as the coaching staff fumed at the howling error at the back. Fortunately for the visitors, the referees turned the goal down as a goal cannot come directly from a throw-in. A bullet dodged for a very fortunate Piotrowski in goal.

The home side created some more danger and were denied what I believe was a clear-cut handball penalty. Cooks Hill would strike though as the ball fell to Peter Pryce. The central forward stopped and then toe-poked an absolute screamer into back of the net.

There was some confusion as to whether Pryce had scored as the ball hit a support post holding the back of the net up and bounced straight back out. After a quick consultation with his linesmen, the referee would award the goal. 

Westy pushed hard at the end with that man Olivieri throwing the playbook out the window and putting himself up front as a last desperate move. Young gun Josh Knight came on off the bench and brought some freshness and some physicality but it wasn't enough as the Cookers held on for a very, very lucky victory.

Anyone in black and white would have agreed that today was one that the Cookers escaped with. West Wallsend had every right to be fuming due to the denied penalty and a few other strange calls. It was certainly a very crazy game at Johnston Park.

For what it's worth I was very impressed with the facilities at Westy. They've got an old-school ground but a decent ground and the pitch itself was arguably the best I've seen in New-FM this season. The old-school truck with the lounge chairs on it was an interesting idea and I've been told by multiple Cookers players and supporters that the canteen was the best they've seen all year. Kudos to the volunteers at Westy.

Onto the Cookers who now finish their maiden New-FM campaign. I'm proud of what my home club has achieved in its first season of "big-time" football. Recruitment was strong with the likes of Peter Pryce, Pouria Bashardoust and others adding to the squad. Warren Spink has been a strong leader for the squad and brings a bucket load of experience.

Injuries have plagued the Cookers and cost them a fair bit but it's been great to see some of the club's younger stars be given chances to step up over recent weeks and I look forward to 2016 and beyond. 

For what it's worth, I'm giving my vote (if my vote counts for anything) for Player of the Year to stand-in goalkeeper Kaia Roth. 17 year old Roth stepped into the cauldron of first grade early on and never looked out of his depth. I know a lot of people in black and white and even other teams have been impressed with Roth's effort this season. Peter Pryce though at a near second for being a great target man.

Whilst I remain committed to Newysports, I am a Cooks Hill player and supporter and will be looking at an official role with the club and perhaps sponsorship next season.


Kahibah F.C 1 def by. WALLSEND F.C 2

I've only been sent the score from this one so can't really comment on goalscorers or even how it went down. What I can comment on is the fact that this game isn't a good result for Kahibah. The 2-1 loss now sees Singleton get a look in at finals. The Strikers will go into next week's final game with West Wallsend as favourites in my opinion and if they win that and Kahibah loss, the Green and Blacks will find themselves out of the finals.

Wallsend have now recorded back-to-back wins and will no doubt be looking to cause some havoc when they enter the finals in two weeks' time. Silverware is aplenty at The Gardens and Wallsend will be looking to add to their cabinet at the end of the season.

Wallsend were 2-1 winners in the Under 23's which all but sees Kahibah's finals hopes dashed. Kahibah won 3-0 in the Under 19's and picked up a crucial 1-0 win in the Under 17's to remain on top of the table. It's looking likely that it will be a minor-premiership determining game at Lake Macquarie City next week.


Toronto-Awaba 1 def by. SINGLETON 4

Kahibah's 2-1 loss to Wallsend has left the door open for a possible finals appearance and the Strikers hammered home four goals against Toronto-Awaba to move into prime position. Kahibah face a tough battle at Lakes next week and Singleton have a match against an out-of-form and out-of-luck West Wallsend outfit. It's a very serious possibility that the Singleton Strikers will make the four.

Goalscorers to Singleton were Lloyd Wakefield, James Bates and Jackson Cox with a double.

In the 23's, Toronto were 1-0 winners and the bottom of the table 19's match finished in a 1-1 stalemate. Tully Winsor was the scorer for the visitors in the 19's. Last but not least was Singleton's impressive 4-0 win in the Under 17's. Goals to Hamish Mayled, Cashlin Murray-Mell, Will Holz and Dan Braye allowed the visitors to pick up arguably their best win of the campaign.


LAKE MACQUARIE CITY 2 def. Thornton Redbacks 0

Lake Macquarie City saw off a tricky Thornton Redbacks side with a 2-0 win at Macquarie Field. The win keeps Lakes inside the top two ahead of a big game against Kahibah next weekend. Promotion is of course out of reach but Barry Ross will no doubt want his side in good form ahead of the finals and today's win helped. Goalscorers were Sam Walker and Joey Cacic.

In the 23's, Thornton blasted their way to an impressive 3-0 victory. The big win takes the Redbacks into the top two with a game remaining. The Under 19's was all Lakes as they overcame a depleted Thornton squad. Goalscorers were Jordan Harper (x2), Ashah Roberts, Cody Chappell and Blake Pinkerton.

It's been a tough year for Thornton's 17's and it got no easier today as Lakes rocketed their way to an 8-0 victory. Goals to William Rielly (x2), Ben Roberts (x2), James Ward, Lucas Egg, Louis Roberts and a rather embarassing own goal back pass gave Lakes a commanding win. Thornton will no doubt be looking forward to the off-season and will hopefully be back bigger and better next season. Lakes will go into the finals as premiership favourites in my opinion.


Belmont-Swansea 0 def by. VALENTINE F.C 1

Paul McGinley's name will go down as the name that secured Valentine Phoenix F.C the minor premiership and barring a late surge of form from South Cardiff and a collapse for the Jets Youth, promotion to the Northern NSW National Premier Leagues. They've been the better team for the majority of the season and it's a well, well deserved achievement for Alan Hackett and his squad.

The Belswans were gutsy and put on another determined display that they're well known for. They don't go down easily and Valentine were forced to play a quality match in front of a large crowd for Belmont-Swansea's Old Boys Day. The Phoenix stepped up to the fight though and came away with the goods, effectively ending Belswans' finals hopes.

In the 23's, Belswans pulled off a gutsy 2-2 draw with the runaway minor premiers. The one point from the draw takes Valentine to a whopping total of 50 points for the season. In the 19's, Valentine were 1-0 winners, ending Belswans' minor premiership hopes and putting themselves in the box seat against Lakes in the race for the title.

The Under 17's was one-way traffic as Belmont-Swansea raced to a 7-1 victory over a struggling Valentine side. Belswans are a decent side in the 17's and form has cost them dear this season as well as a lack of results against some of the higher-placed teams. They'll be a strong side next season.


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