BELMONT-SWANSEA 1 def. Thornton Redbacks 0
Belmont-Swansea United ended their 2015 New-FM 1st Division season in winning style with a 1-0 win over Thornton Redbacks at Blacksmiths Oval. I haven't heard anything else about this game so can't comment on it too much but obviously the Belswans boys are happy (there's a song reference in there!)
Thornton's season was an up and down roller-coaster ride that saw them pick up big wins against Valentine and Cooks Hill, among others whilst the Belswans also had a quality season that saw them fall just a tad short of finals football. Both will no doubt improve in 2016 as the competition improves as a whole.
I'd love to hear from Belswans and Thornton for my Season Review. Some suggestions for Best 1st Grade Player and Rising Star (20 and Under) would be great.
In the 23's, Belmont-Swansea recorded a quality 1-0 win over finals-bound Thornton. The 19's was all class from Semi Final-bound Belswans as they blasted seven past a helpless Thornton outfit. The 7-1 win has to be the ideal way to prepare for the Semi Finals. And finally, Thornton's luckless at times Under 17's side can hold their heads high after a 1-1 draw with the Swans in the opening match of the day.
Lake Macquarie City F.C 2 drew. Kahibah F.C 2
It was a crucial, season-defining match for the visiting Kahibah Football Club as they arrived at Macquarie Field knowing that a loss could see them bundled out of the playoff race at the final hurdle. The visitors started strongly and it was obvious from the get-go that they were going to be aiming for a win.
Kahibah were fielding their reserve keeper Simon Frary for this game and against the league's top scorer in Sam Walker, Frary was always going to have a challenging day in between the sticks. The first goal came after 27 minutes when Walker went through on goal and chipped it over the Kahibah stopper to record his 38th goal of the season.
Lakes would go into the break at 1-0 and Kahibah came out firing in the second half, knowing that Singleton at the time were winning against West Wallsend. A chance to make it 2-0 was missed by Tom Walker and not long after that, a horror error at the back saw Lakes pass it straight to a Kahibah attacker (didn't get the number) who went through on goal but couldn't finish it.
Kahibah's chance would come though and some mad scrambling in the box saw the ball dangerously pinballing around the six-yard box and eventually it would be smashed home by overhead Jarrod Penfold attempt. The 61st minute goal drew Kahibah level and put them back in the top four.
Lakes were given a chance not long after via a free kick and Sam Walker didn't let down, curling it around the wall and forcing keeper Simon Frary into a fine save to send it wide. Kahibah turned the table and created a decent chance at the opposite end, only to fire it straight into the grasp of Lakes' stopper Kannon Ford.
Another chance for Kahibah saw Nathan Lara I believe it was pull off one of the most spectacularly bad misses I've seen all season. The Green and Blacks were threatening though and Jarrod Penfold would score his second not long after, a goal I didn't see as I was communicating with someone at the Singleton game. Heartbreak for the Strikers but advantage Kahibah in the race for finals football.
Lakes keeper Ford would see his game ended prematurely as he was injured in a challenge. Back-up keeper Matthew Guest was forced into the game and had to work hard to keep Kahibah at bay.
Lakes threatened late on and would get their reward when Sean Mathews smashed home a header to make it 2-2 in the 88th minute. To use some football slang, it was squeaky bum time for Andre Gumprecht and his fellow defenders as they tried to decide whether to sit back or whether to push the ball further up the field. They managed to get the ball down into the corner and that's how it would end as the New-FM newcomers secured finals football in their first season.
Despite the fact that they drew 2-2, Kahibah performed a rendition of the club song that shook the grandstand. A great day for the Green and Blacks and their passionate fans.
Under 23's: LAKE MACQUARIE CITY 1 def. Kahibah F.C 0
The Under 23's saw only one goal but it came early on as Kane Rodgers opened the scoring for Lake Macquarie City in the 11th minute. The Roosters I thought were the better side in the first period and deserved their lead. Kahibah made some chances for themselves and a chance for Guy Turner went astray.
Lakes also had a chance of their own right on half time but Kahibah keeper Aaron Taylor showed no fear in running out and cutting off the chance before it could become something greater.
In the second half, Kahibah showed improvement but things went south rather quickly with Darius Gee seeing red for bringing down a Lakes man and denying an obvious goal-scoring opportunity just outside the penalty box. The Lakes attacker rounded the goalkeeper but was chopped down by Gee and the referee was forced into the correct decision. The free kick didn't find the mark though.
For those who don't know I write down notes across the day so I don't forget anything and for this game I had Kahibah's #32 written down, that being substitute Luke Jones, so he must have done something well and if I remember correctly it was a decent and skillful run down the left wing.
Lakes were given a penalty late on but Daniel Wilson would send it wide with an attempt he'd rather forget. It wouldn't matter though as Lakes would hold on for an unconvincing 1-0 win. I say unconvincing as I feel like they could have done a bit better throughout the game and buried one or two of their chances, including the penalty. A win's a win though and it's onto the finals for the Lakes 23's.
Under 19's: LAKE MACQUARIE CITY FC 3 def. Kahibah F.C 2
I don't have any notes written down from the first half of the Under 19's so apoligies for that. Lakes would open the scoring though through Jordan Harper and it was doubled by Josh Rook not long afterwards. Kahibah hung in there and got to half time at 2-0 down.
The visitors got the first goal of the second half as Brandon Carmody rounded Lakes' keeper Josh Aspey slotted one into the net. That goal made it 2-1 and brought a more attacking formation from the Andre Gumprecht-coached Under 19's.
The equaliser would come not long after as an Alex Evans free kick was somehow scrambled into the back of the net. The team sheet credits Carmody for the goal but Evans was claiming it and I think credit should go to Newysports' new EPL correspondent in Evans. I'll let Carmody and Evans decide who got the goal.
Lakes would retake the lead just six minutes later as James Ward found himself in front of goal and with enough time to change to his preferred foot and smash it past Bailey Mannix in goal. I thought Ward played very well in his cameo for the Under 19's after playing for the 17's in the opening match.
Kahibah's Josh Spencer showed some quality throughout the second half and I wasn't surprised to hear his fellow teammates call him their player of the season in the Under 19's. Cody Chappell from Lakes was another one that caught my eye in the latter stages of the match.
Under 17's: Lake Macquarie City F.C 2 def by. KAHIBAH F.C 5
I got to the ground around 15 minutes into this match and completely forgot to take any notes so this review might be a bit short. The goalscoring was opened by Lakes' midfielder Darko Nikic in the 10th minute and apparently Kahibah hit back through Bailey Cooper just a minute later. I was there for the next goal and to see Cooper slot home a second to put Kahibah in the lead in both the match and the race for the Minor Premiership.
Kahibah were swarming all over the unbeaten Lakes and in-form striker Matthew Hughes added a third just two minutes after Cooper's second goal. It was all Kahibah going into the break and Lakes were always going to need a big effort to come from 3-1 down in the second half.
The unbeaten ladder-leaders scored through Josh Richardson in the 59th minute to give them some hope of winning the Minor Premiership but it was dashed by a second goal to Matthew Hughes in the 66th minute. Kahibah's supporters were going mad in the stands and their cheers only became louder as Connor Cromarty added some icing onto the cake with his 78th minute goal.
Let me say this was one of the most convincing performances I've seen all year in the New-FM competition in any grade. Kahibah dominated an undefeated Lakes outfit and thoroughly deserved their win. They've got some quality players across the park. Matthew Hughes is in some decent form, Bailey Cooper and Jacob Hill are both quality and goalkeeper Brock Turner was decent today as well. There's about 10 or so other players I haven't mentioned that are quality, the whole team is quality and today was a well-deserved reward for what has been a quality season. Congrats Kahibah!
In-form Singleton headed to Johnston Park knowing that a win was their only option if they wanted to reach the finals. If you read the above review of the Lakes v Kahibah game, you'll already know that Kahibah's point was enough to see Singleton off in the race for finals.
Robert Field gave Singleton the lead and the Strikers went in at half-time knowing that Kahibah were down 1-0 at Macquarie Field and knowing that they had a real chance of making the finals. Westy were reduced to ten men and a goal to Daniel Bartlett would be enough to seal a win for Singleton but learning of Kahibah's draw would have dampened spirits in the sheds afterwards.
Credit to Singleton though for playing the dark horse character so well. They've come from absolutely nowhere after the first month and a half of the season to missing the finals by one point. An admirable effort and one to build on next season. Commiserations to West Wallsend who collect the wooden spoon and will also be looking to build for next season and finish well higher than the bottom of the table. Unfortunately someone has to finish last.
In the 23's, a goal to Daniel Murphy was enough to seal a 1-0 win for the visiting Singleton. The 19's was an impressive win for West Wallsend with goals to Liam Muir (x20, Adam Solman, Max Clark, Liam Keating and Isaiah Button sealing a 6-1 win over a Singleton side that scored their lone goal of the game through Tom Golding.
The 17's was a topsy-turvy affair that ended in victory for the away side. Goals to Trae Proudlock, Hamish Mayled and Cameron Burns were enough to seal a 3-2 win over West Wallsend and cancel out goals from Grant Scott and Brock Taylor.
Toronto-Awaba 1 def by. WALLSEND F.C 2
I've only been sent results and will have to update this with goalscorers tomorrow. Wallsend F.C secured a 2-1 win over a gutsy Toronto-Awaba side to end their regular season on a high and give them some confidence ahead of next Sunday's home Semi Final against Lake Macquarie City.
*Addition: I've been told Nick Roberts scored Toronto-Awaba's lone goal and was also sent off. An eventful day for the Stags' main man up front.
In the 23's, the sides were split at 1-1 and that result pretty much summed up what has been an irregular season for both the Stags and Red Devils in reserve grade. A horror leg injury to the Wallsend goalkeeper cut the Under 19's match short as an ambulance was required on scene. Newysports sends well wishes to the injured keeper.
*Addition: Dan Morgan was the goalscorer for Toronto-Awaba in the Under 23's.
Last but not least was a 4-0 (possibly 5-0) win to Wallsend in the Under 17's, a confidence-booster ahead of next week's Semi Final with Lake Macquarie City.
Cessnock City 2 def by. VALENTINE PHOENIX FC 3
It wasn't a pretty win for the promoted Valentine Phoenix but it was a win nonetheless as they sealed a 3-2 victory over a gutsy Cessnock City side. The Hornets led at one stage and should hold their heads high at what was a quality performance against a strong Valentine side.
In the 23's, Valentine won what could very well have been a Grand Final preview with a 2-0 win over Cessnock City. The Valentine 19's secured the Minor Premiership with a decent 4-0 win and the 17's ended with the away side securing a 3-2 victory.