Thursday, 24 March 2016

PREVIEW: New-FM 1st Division Round 4


1st Grade:
Belmont-Swansea United (1st) v Singleton Strikers (9th)
Kickoff: 2:30pm

Belmont-Swansea's start to the season has stunned many but the players and coaches at Blacksmith are not surprised. They knew they had a strong squad and they knew they'd go out and win some games this season. Their form is better than any other team apart from Kahibah and last week they pulled off a gutsy comeback against a decent Thornton side.

Belswans are a very dangerous side. They can play teams off the park but they can also get into a scrap and fight back from certain defeat. They'll need their best again this week if they want to overcome a quality Singleton side. The Strikers are coming off of two draws to start the season and David Willoughby will have his side prepped to go one better on the road this Friday.

If the Wallsend derby wasn't on, this would be the pick of the games. Belswans are in blitzing form and Singleton are desperate for a win. So who wins? The Strikers are a side that can challenge any on their day but there's something about Belmont-Swansea at the moment, especially at home. I'm tipping a hard-fought Belswans win.

*Update: I've been informed that not only have Singleton lost Alex Clarke to Adamstown, fellow import Dylan Schauder has followed to the Rosebud. Two massive losses for the Singleton squad. There's no sugar-coating the fact that these two were highly influential. They've got to keep their heads down and get the job done in upcoming weeks though.

My Prediction: Belmont-Swansea 2-1 Singleton



Singleton v Dudley-Redhead (FFA Cup Round 3)

----------------------------------------------------------------

Under 23's:
Belmont-Swansea United (1st) v Singleton Strikers (8th)
Kickoff: 12:45pm

Belmont-Swansea United are leading the competition in First Grade and they're doing the exact same in the Under 23's. After failing to score against Lakes in Round 1, the Belswans 23's now have nine goals in two outings against West Wallsend and Thornton last week.

They came from behind to beat Thornton in last weekend's games, thanks to an own goal and goals to Mason Bohatko, Daniel Horgan and 19's stand-out William Dundas. It was a classy performance and it followed a classy performance the week before against West Wallsend. A long way from the side that were rumoured to be struggling with numbers in pre-season.

Singleton's 23's have started the season with a scoreless draw at Cessnock, a bye and then a 2-1 loss to South Cardiff. James Bates scored the Strikers first goal of the season but they are failing to match it with the lower grades at the club. This week is a very tough test nonetheless.

Blacksmiths Oval is a tough ground to travel to, even tougher when you have to come all the way from Singleton. It's Belswans to win for my money.

My Prediction: Belmont-Swansea 3-1 Singleton Strikers



Belswans 23's v West Wallsend-Round 2

----------------------------------------------------------------

Under 19's Match of the Round:
Belmont-Swansea United (4th) v Singleton Strikers (1st)
Kickoff: 11:00am

What a game this looks on paper. The Belmont-Swansea Under 19's have started the season in some style. They bounced back from a opening loss to Lakes with a hard-fought 2-1 win over Westy and a 7-0 thumping of Thornton. They've got two of the competition's most in-form players in Joel Nicholson and William Dundas and they could make it three-straight on Friday.

Their opponents Singleton started the season with a 7-0 smashing of Cessnock followed by a bye. Last week's 2-1 comeback win with ten men against South Cardiff was one of the best wins by any team this season. With their backs against the wall, the Strikers prevailed thanks to goals from Nathan Smart and Nathan Hall. They'll be without rock solid defender Luke Geipel this weekend after he was shown red in the first half hour last week.

There's definitely no lack of talent in this game and it will be one of the games of the round in any grade this weekend. The road trip from Singleton is a long one but the Strikers seemed to enjoy it last week at Ulinga Oval. Belswans is a tougher opponent and I'm backing them to get another three points.

My Prediction: Belmont-Swansea 3-2 Singleton Strikers



Connor Bryson  v West Wallsend-Round 2

----------------------------------------------------------------

Under 17's:
Belmont-Swansea United (8th) v Singleton Strikers (5th)
Kickoff: 9:15am

The Under 17's game at Blacksmiths Oval will be one to watch. Belswans sit in eighth position but they're potentially a better side than that and Singleton have some quality players with NewFM experience in them from last season. Belswans won last week in dramatic fashion; Lachlan McMaster scoring a goal in the last seconds to seal a 2-1 victory.

Singleton on the other hand were 3-2 winners over South Cardiff. Captain James Croucher scored two goals and Trae Proudlock added a goal. They let in two late goals which is not something they can afford to get into allowing week in week out. Goalkeeper Brad Fairclough is injured but Brae Wissink is doing a decent job of filling in. He'll need to produce a good game against Belswans.

This game could very well go either way but I like the chances of Belswans on their home turf. It's an early Good Friday roadtrip for the Singo boys and it'll play a part I believe.

My Prediction: Belmont-Swansea 2-1 Singleton Strikers



James Croucher (right) scored twice last weekend

----------------------------------------------------------------
===========================


1st Grade:
Lake Macquarie City (4th) v Thornton Redbacks (11th)
Kickoff: 2:30pm

This is a key fixture of the weekend as Lake Macquarie City host Thornton Redbacks at Macquarie Field. The Roosters are failing to match their early season form of last year and goalscoring is becoming a problem for the 2015 Semi Finalists. They beat Wallsend in Round 2 but they couldn't get past a ten man West Wallsend last weekend.

Thornton on the other hand are sitting at the foot of the table but to be fair they aren't far away from getting a result. They've gone down by one goal in both their games and they'll feel hard done by after Tuesday night's FFA Cup tie with West Wallsend was abandoned with the Redbacks up 2-1 in the 21st minute after a lighting failure.

Thornton were known for their defence last season and they need to score some more goals to find success in 2016. They've boosted their squad a bit and have the players they need to pick up some results. Now is not a good time to play Lakes though. The Roosters will want to fire their way back into form and the fact that this game is at Macquarie Field means the Roosters will go in as favourites and more than likely they'll come away with a win.

My Prediction: Lake Macquarie City 3-1 Thornton Redbacks



Thornton v Edgeworth JSC (FFA Cup)

----------------------------------------------------------------

Under 23's Match of the Round:
Lake Macquarie City (2nd) v Thornton Redbacks (7th)
Kickoff: 12:45pm

Lake Macquarie City have recorded back-to-back wins in the Under 23's after a scoreless draw with Belmont-Swansea in Round 1. The Roosters won at Johnston Park last week with two goals to Jordan Harper on either side of half-time and they could move to outright top spot if they win against the Redbacks this week.

The reason this is the Match of the Round is simple; it's a rematch of last year's Grand Final; a game Thornton won 4-0 in convincing fashion. The Redbacks haven't started the season in the style they would have liked though and despite a Tim Gleeson goal putting them ahead at Blacksmiths, they went down 4-1 to Belmont-Swansea.

This will be a hard-fought game but I like Lakes' chances of making it three in a row based on their result last week.

My Prediction: Lake Macquarie City 2-1 Thornton Redbacks

----------------------------------------------------------------

Under 19's:
Lake Macquarie City (2nd) v Thornton Redback (9th)
Kickoff: 11:00am

Lake Macquarie City are up there with Kahibah as premiership favourites in the 19's. It's the majority of last year's Grand Final-winning 17's side and although they started the season with back to back victories, scoring thirteen goals in two games, they were downed 3-1 by West Wallsend last week. Not a result they would have wanted.

Thornton Redbacks have only played the two games. An unlucky hard-fought 0-0 draw with South Cardiff and a 7-0 demolishment against Belmont-Swansea. Whether the Redbacks can put the heavy loss behind them quick enough to beat Lakes is the question. It will take a massive turn-around from last weekend.

Playing Lakes at anytime is tough but playing them when they're coming off the back of a shock loss is even tougher. Thornton were down 2-0 inside six minutes last week and they simply cannot afford to let similar happen this week. Lakes will bounce back in style I feel for this Good Friday clash.

My Prediction: Lake Macquarie City 6-1 Thornton Redbacks

----------------------------------------------------------------

Under 17's:
Lake Macquarie City (1st) v Thornton Redbacks (11th)
Kickoff: 9:15am

This game was first versus last in 2015 and already it is in 2016. Thornton 17's are a different side though and they can consider themselves unlucky not to have a draw and possible a win after going down to Belswans in the very last minute on Saturday.

Lake Macquarie City are cruising; three wins from three games against some decent sides in Belswans, Wallsend and West Wallsend. They would like their chances of making it four from four on Friday. They've got four players in the Top 10 Goalscorers of the Under 17's; Kurtis McRitchie (3 goals), Alex Matthews (2 goals), Harrison Taylor (2 goals) and Jack Smith (2 goals).

Thornton will need their very best effort to overcome Lakes in this one. I've said it a lot, the Redbacks 17's will win some games this season, just not this one.

My Prediction: Lake Macquarie City 3-0 Thornton Redbacks

----------------------------------------------------------------
===========================


1st Grade:
South Cardiff FC (5th) v Kahibah FC (2nd)
Kickoff: 2:30pm

South Cardiff's welcome to the New-FM 1st Division hasn't been as smooth as they'd like. They lost to Westy in Round 1 and were held to a draw by Singleton last weekend. They did beat Thornton in Round 2 and they've got a third-straight home game this Friday afternoon. This is by far their toughest test yet. They're up against the best team in the competition.

Kahibah FC were in blitzing form before last week's bye. Fourteen goals in two games; seven against Cooks Hill and seven against Cessnock City. The talent they have is arguably better than any other squad on paper. They are premiership favourites in my mind and they've proved so far that they're aiming to eclipse their maiden New-FM season last year.

South Cardiff have a younger squad than most but a lot of the Kahibah players are in the same boat. The Gunners are captained by their goalkeeper Mikel Breckenridge and the stopper will need to be at his best this week. Southy's defence was non-existent when I watched them play Kahibah in pre-season. That was two months ago in the very early weeks of pre-season.

No result would surprise me here. I'm expecting Kahibah to win but whether it will be 2-1 or 7-2 again is the question. If they play like they did in the second half at Cooks Hill a few weeks back, it could very well be the latter. They'll be without Sean Clerke but there's enough talent to cover the loss.

My Prediction: South Cardiff 1-5 Kahibah FC



South Cardiff v Kahibah (Pre-Season Trial in January)

----------------------------------------------------------------

Under 23's:
South Cardiff FC (5th) v Kahibah FC (10th)
Kickoff: 12:45pm

South Cardiff's Under 23's come into this game with a heavy loss, a tighter loss and then a tight win last week. The results are definitely improving. Trent Lamborn and Jacob Fifield have combined for five goals in three games and if they can fire against a out-of-form Kahibah side, who knows, the Gunners might just win their second-straight game.

Kahibah are looking a side that aren't at where they want to be. They pushed for finals last year and despite losing some handy players this year, they would like to be further up the league table then 10th. They lost to Cooks Hill and Cessnock City and based on that, I can see them going down again against South Cardiff.

My Prediction: South Cardiff 2-1 Kahibah FC


Kahibah 23's

----------------------------------------------------------------

Under 19's:
South Cardiff FC (8th) v Kahibah FC (5th)
Kickoff: 11:00am

South Cardiff's 19's have just the lone point from three games. They would have been bitterly disappointed to let a 1-0 lead slip against a ten-man Singleton last week and they'll want to put that all behind them quickly. The problem for them is they're up against the best team in the league, Kahibah.

The Kahibah 19's had last weekend off but their first two outings, a 2-0 win against Cooks Hill and a 3-1 win over Cessnock had them leading the competition. The scary thing is, this side is capable of performing at a higher level than what they have done in their first two games. South Cardiff will need a defensive masterclass.

South Cardiff lost 5-1 to West Wallsend in Round 1 and they may be looking at a similar scoreline if they don't produce a 100% effort for 80 minutes this Friday. Kahibah have quality across the park and they'll definitely like their chances of making it three from three. You never quite know in this comp though.

My Prediction: South Cardiff 2-5 Kahibah FC



Brock Turner (v Cooks Hill-Round 1)

----------------------------------------------------------------

Under 17's:
South Cardiff FC (7th) v Kahibah FC (2nd)
Kickoff: 9:15am

South Cardiff's Under 17's are coming off the back of a hard-fought loss to Singleton and before that was a decent win over Thornton and a loss in Round 1 to West Wallsend. The topsy-turvy form isn't exactly what the Gunners would be gunning for. Lucas Emmett-Morley is their in-form player and he'll be looking for another goal this weekend against a very tough Kahibah FC.

Kahibah FC had the bye last week but they're in some decent form. A 2-0 win over Cooks Hill in Round 1 was followed by a commanding 7-1 win over Cessnock City in Round 2. Henry Gibson and Kyle Williams are on the top ten goalscorers for this grade and Gibson especially is one to watch. Across the park though this Kahibah team have quality. I like their chances of victory against South Cardiff on Friday.

My Prediction: South Cardiff 1-3 Kahibah FC


Tristan Newbold (v Cooks Hill-Round 1)

----------------------------------------------------------------
===========================


1st Grade Match of the Round
West Wallsend SFC (6th) v Wallsend FC (3rd)
Kickoff: 2:30pm

The biggest game of the season for anyone wearing blue and white. Hosting the old nemesis and arch rival at their ground. This is fast-becoming a Good Friday tradition and after a rainy slogfest last season, it will be good to see these sides clash on a warm Autumn's afternoon. The kickoff has been changed to 2:30pm by the way.

West Wallsend were outplayed by Belmont-Swansea two weeks ago and it had me thinking that the Bluebells could be in for some tough days coming up. They bounced back though and were unlucky not to take all three points from 2015 Semi Finalists Lake Macquarie City last weekend. They'll be without Ryan Cole after he was sent-off but they'll be boosted by the return of Jarrod Olivieri.

Wallsend on the other hand were too good for Cooks Hill last weekend. It wasn't an effort that would have pleased coach Josh Rufo as much as other wins by the Red Devils. They could have done more and I feel they'll improve on it as the season goes by. They parked the bus last week and played corner-finding football. A cautious win but a win nonetheless.

Anything could happen in this game. It's Derby football and if you're not expecting some sort of craziness than you've got it wrong. It could get heated, it could be high-scoring, low-scoring, anything could happen...but could Westy produce one of their greatest wins in recent memory? Based on last week they certainly could but Wallsend FC is a quality side and they go into this as the favourites. Whatever happens it will certainly be a gripping match-up. As much as I want to tip a 4-3 scoreline, I'm going with the opposite. A low scoring affair.


My Prediction: West Wallsend 0-1 Wallsend FC



Wallsend's Dave Hodgson knows all about local derbies.

----------------------------------------------------------------

Under 23's:
West Wallsend SFC (11th) v Wallsend FC (4th)
Kickoff: 12:45pm

The 23's derby is not the best looking on paper but it's sure to be a fiercely contested match at 'Wembley'. Westy need to pick up points in the 23's or face falling away at the bottom of the league. They've only scored one in three games and they're scoreless in their last two. Conceding seven goals in two games doesn't give me much hope in their chance's this week but the addition of Ryan Van Kemanade to the side is something that could play a part.

Wallsend FC dismantled a quality Cooks Hill side last week and the deployment of Trent Richards up front worked a treat as the natural-born attacker, turned defender turned back to striker scored twice. Joining him on the scoresheet was Jason Zechel. The former Hornet celebrating his goal with a front-flip.

Chris Wallis' side can potentially go top of the table with a win here and I'm feeling fairly confident about their chances in the derby on Good Friday.

My Prediction: West Wallsend 1-3 Wallsend FC



Trent Richards scored twice v Cooks Hill last weekend.

 
----------------------------------------------------------------

Under 19's:
West Wallsend SFC (3rd) v Wallsend FC (11th)
Kickoff: 11:00am

West Wallsend's 19's produced one of the upsets of the season so far in any grade last week when they beat Lake Macquarie City 3-1 at Johnston Park. James Barnes, Matt Turner and Samuel Jones sealed the victory and with quality across the park, they're definitely a side to watch if they can keep their results consistent.

Opponents Wallsend have been plagued by injury like no other side in the league. They've lost half a dozen players to injury, some serious knees injuries, and they're really struggling to make numbers each week. There's decent depth in the squad but the players they're missing are quality.

West Wallsend can consolidate a spot in the top four with a win but the Red Devils will be desperate to get off the foot of the table. With the players they have out, I feel like Wallsend might go down in this one. Westy will be delighted with their result last week and they'll want to keep that form going.

My Prediction: West Wallsend 3-1 Wallsend FC



The Westy 19's v Belmont-Swansea (Round 2)
----------------------------------------------------------------

Under 17's Match of the Round:
West Wallsend SFC (4th) v Wallsend FC (6th)
Kickoff: 9:15am

With the history behind the Wallsend derby, a lot of new faces will enter the history of the game when the 17's clash on Friday. I think Westy come into the game as the favourites as they've got a slightly better squad on paper. The likes of Brock Taylor and Mitchell Kramer have experience from last season and newcomers Khye Drayton and Lachlan Coombes have started the season well. Goalkeeper Josh Sneddon was rewarded for his good form with an FFA Cup call-up mid-week.

Wallsend picked up a gutsy 1-1 draw with Cooks Hill last week but their defending and particular their clearances needs some fine tuning. They've got a very tough test and the fact that most of them are playing their first derby won't help. I feel like the physicality of Westy will really force Wallsend into stepping up their confidence level; something they did achieve against Cooks Hill.

 This will be an entertaining match-up but I think West Wallsend will just edge their way over the line.

My Prediction: West Wallsend 2-1 Wallsend FC



Ben Priest (#60) & captain Darcy Hall (#63) as well as goalscorer Cooper Mclean (#29)


----------------------------------------------------------------
===========================


1st Grade:
Cooks Hill United (7th) v Cessnock City (10th)
Kickoff: 2:30pm

Cooks Hill United's form isn't the best at all but they've got a side that can click on any given day; a squad that can beat most others in the league and test the best teams. With so many new faces including coach Blake Gleenie, it's no surprise that the Cookers are yet to hit their best form. It's definitely building and playing an out-of-form Cessnock provides a decent chance to get a quality win.

The Hornets were definitely decent in a 1-1 draw with Singleton in Round 1 but a 7-2 loss to competition heavyweights Kahibah was followed by a disappointing 4-2 loss to Toronto-Awaba in a bottom of the table clash last weekend. It is still early days but next week will see Cessnock play their fifth game; a quarter of the season will be over. They need to get some wins sooner rather than later.

This one is an easy enough prediction to make. Toronto-Awaba were too good for Cessnock City last weekend and the weekend before, Cooks Hill blew Toronto off the park. With the quality they have, the Cookers cannot lose a game like this on their home turf. 

My Prediction: Cooks Hill United 5-1 Cessnock City



Cooks Hill's coaching pair of Gleenie (head coach) and Gorsuch (asst. coach) will be aiming for a second win.


----------------------------------------------------------------

Under 23's:
Cooks Hill United (3rd) v Cessnock City (6th)
Kickoff: 12:45pm

Cooks Hill United started the season in superb form in the Under 23's. A gutsy win over Kahibah FC was followed with a 7-0 demolishing of Toronto-Awaba. A 3-1 loss to Wallsend FC brought them back to Earth though and the Cookers need to bounce back as there's some quality teams in this grade and it's tight at the top.

Cessnock City are hoping to return to the form that took them to the Semi Finals last season. They let two points go by the wayside against the Stags last weekend. Goals to Caleb Whiting, Jordan Tully and Brodie Egan gave them a 3-1 lead but it wasn't to be, the 'Stingers' drawing 3-3 with Toronto-Awaba. They need a big effort this week against a Cookers side aiming to bounce back from their loss and one boosted by the return of coach Max Sovechles who missed last week's game. The manager's presence was missed.

Cooks Hill are a fairly serious side in this grade and if they want to achieve anything, they've got to win tough games. Cessnock 23's is a tough opponent but I believe in the Cookers' chances of winning this one.

My Prediction: Cooks Hill United 2-1 Cessnock City



Shannon Attewell will need a strong performance against Cooks Hill.


----------------------------------------------------------------

Under 19's:
Cooks Hill United (6th) v Cessnock City (10th)
Kickoff: 11:00am

This could be the game of the day at Cooks Hill this Saturday. The Cookers' 19's were the only team from the club to win last week at The Gardens and they've looked quality over the past two outings. Despite missing a handful of players last week, they produced a quality 5-2 victory over Wallsend with a lot of help from the likes of Seb Lewis and Asher Beasley. Amongst the players missing last week was captain Rocky Sovechles, goalkeeper Emerson Gosling and early-season form player Ty Cousins.

Cessnock City aren't the easybeats they were in 2015. They were leading 1-0 against Kahibah a couple of weeks ago before Kahibah's quality got them in the second half. Then last week they were up 2-0 against Toronto-Awaba. They had to make some substitutions to allow players to play 23's which hindered their chances. They'd concede a late goal and draw 2-2.

Cessnock City are hitting the road for the first time in 2016 and I think they'll provide a quality test for Cooks Hill. The Cookers on their home turf and based on last week's effort should be just a bit too good; especially if the likes of Sovechles and the other players missing last week return.

My Prediction: Cooks Hill United 3-1 Cessnock City



Kyle Gillis (#9) is one of Cessnock's key players in the 19's


----------------------------------------------------------------

Under 17's:
Cooks Hill United (9th) v Cessnock City (10th)
Kickoff: 9:15am

Cooks Hill United's 17's are being slightly plagued by injuries and last week they lost Angus Davies to a broken arm and Ty Cousins to a hand injury. Their form hasn't been much better as they've lost two and drawn one in their first three games of the season. Not the sort of form you'd want from a team that will no doubt aim to make the top four.

The Hornets are in a similar boat to the Cookers, a draw and two losses from three outings and although I feel their form is poorer based on the fact they've conceded eleven goals in two games. They didn't have any substitutions last week as they were missing a couple of players. Torrie Beveridge gave them a goal last week but it wasn't enough and I feel they may need to step up to another level if they want to leave the AthField with three points.

Cooks Hill's defence can be a quality one on their day and goalkeeper Eamon Doyle has started the season in decent form. If they can find their goalscoring form they can definitely get a result on Saturday. It's already a month into the season and the home side here need to pick up their first three points of the season sooner rather than later.

My Prediction: Cooks Hill United 2-0 Cessnock City



Cooks Hill 17's keeper Eamon Doyle filled in with U/19's last week.


----------------------------------------------------------------
===========================




No comments:

Post a Comment