Thursday, 26 May 2016

PREVIEW: New-FM 1st Division Round 13

Newysports Feature Match:


1st Grade:
Toronto-Awaba (10th) v Lake Macquarie City FC (2nd)
Last Time They Met: Lake Mac. City 6-0 Toronto-Awaba
Kickoff: 2:30pm

Lake Macquarie City fell to a disappointing loss to Belmont-Swansea; their second of the season to the rivals from across the lake and they lost top spot to Kahibah FC. Blake Green and Sam Walker added to their goals tally in the 3-2 loss but it wasn't enough. The Roosters will be eyeing off a big win in the Five Islands Derby against a severely out-of-form Toronto-Awaba side.

The Stags have conceded 32 goals in their last six outings; a horror run that began in Round 7 against this weekend's opponents Lakes. I normally write First Grade previews on Thursday so I can see the ins and outs of each team but unless Toronto is bringing in a Kompany or Hummels they're bound to lose this one and by a few goals too.

My Tip: Toronto-Awaba 0-6 Lake Macquarie City

Sam Walker up against Cooks Hill United a month ago.
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Under 23's:
Toronto-Awaba (11th) v Lake Macquarie City FC (1st)
Last Time They Met: Lake Mac. City 3-0 Toronto-Awaba
Kickoff: 12:45pm

What a win last weekend by Toronto-Awaba in the Under 23's. It was their first win of what has been a luckless and at times miserable 2016 season. Liam Watson proved the hero with a dramatic match-winner in the final minute against a quality Wallsend side at The Gardens.

They'll need that spirit and more this week if they're to overcome the in-form ladder-leaders Lake Macquarie City. The Roosters were 3-1 winners over Belmont-Swansea in a top of the table match and come into this game knowing that they won the first game between these sides. With the Round 7 clash destined for a scoreless draw, the Roosters fired home three quickfire goals to win 3-0.

This weekend's match is important for Lakes. A win could boost their minor premiership hopes and I feel like they're a bigger challenge at the moment than an out-of-form and inconsistent Wallsend side.

My Tip: Toronto-Awaba 1-4 Lake Macquarie City

Toronto 23's keeper Ian Roberts v West Wallsend
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Under 19's:
Toronto-Awaba (9th) v Lake Macquarie City FC (1st)
Last Time They Met: Lake Mac. City 6-0 Toronto-Awaba
Kickoff: 11:00am

Toronto-Awaba stunned Wallsend last weekend with just their second win of the season. It was a long-awaited victory for Lindsay Jamieson's side and they'll no doubt look to build on that this weekend and potentially move further away from the bottom of the table. Whether they can do it or not is the question and it's a much tougher test this Saturday.

Lake Macquarie City have won six straight games to solidify a spot at the top of the table. It's been convincing and they're arguably the premiership-favourites in this competition. They defeated Toronto-Awaba 6-0 last time they met and Toronto will be hoping that doesn't happen again. Lakes will win this; the scoreline is the question.

My Tip: Toronto-Awaba 1-5 Lake Macquarie City

Toronto-Awaba 19's v West Wallsend.
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Under 17's Match of the Round:
Toronto-Awaba (6th) v Lake Macquarie City FC (1st)
Last Time They Met: Lake Mac. City 4-0 Toronto-Awaba
Kickoff: 9:15am

When Lakes hosted Toronto-Awaba in Round 7, the Stags were in-form and looking at maybe moving to the top of the league. Ever since that 4-0 loss, their form has fallen apart and luck has left them behind. Close losses, draws, results that have seen them crash out of the top four. Now they sit five points outside a finals spot and it's a long way back with the top four sides looking like quality at the moment.

Lake Macquarie City's perfect winning form ended at the hands of South Cardiff two weeks ago; a hard-fought 1-1 draw. Then there was last weekend's frustrating 1-0 loss to lower-table Belmont-Swansea. The Roosters need to bounce back or face the possibility of losing top spot to West Wallsend; something that seemed unlikely just a few weekends ago.

The Stags won't lay down in the derby. This is the biggest game of their season and they'll give all they've got. I'm tipping an entertaining 2-2 draw at Lyall Peacock Field.

My Tip: Toronto-Awaba 2-2 Lake Macquarie City

Lake Macquarie City celebrating a goal v Cooks Hill United.
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1st Grade Match of the Round:
West Wallsend SFC (5th) v Kahibah FC (1st)
Last Time They Met: Kahibah FC 4-0 West Wallsend
Kickoff: 4:00pm

Kahibah FC blasted Cooks Hill United last weekend and rocketed to the top of the New-FM table; somewhere they've never been before as a club. The next few weeks will define their season and could see the club lift a fairytale piece of silverware in just their second year of 'big-time' football. Andre Gumprecht's side were classy across the park last weekend and look to be getting better and better every single week.

West Wallsend are sitting in fifth position and deservedly so. They've been a tough opposition in most games they've played and even when they lose, it's not exactly an easy game. Kahibah beat them soundly 4-0 in their last meeting but this game at Johnston Park could be a much tougher proposition. 

Westy kept a clean sheet last weekend without centre back Michael Baillie and considering he comes back into the side on Saturday, it will be tough for Kahibah to break through. Not to mention, Westy goalkeeper Tyler Warren is arguably the best stopper in the entire competition.

West Wallsend have put teams to the sword at 'Wembley' in past weeks. Toronto-Awaba and Cessnock City lacked any real threat and the Bluebells disposed of them accordingly. League-leaders Kahibah FC is another level and I feel like West Wallsend could be beaten by a few here. Kahibah are just that good. It's almost do or die for West Wallsend's finals hopes but despite that, I can't go past the Green and Blacks.

My Tip: West Wallsend 1-4 Kahibah F.C

Kahibah were 6-1 victors over Cooks Hill United in Round 12.
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Under 23's:
West Wallsend SFC (10th) v Kahibah FC (6th)
Last Time They Met: Kahibah FC 6-2 West Wallsend
Kickoff: 2:15pm

West Wallsend's inconsistency has cost them in the Under 23's and last weekend they were gunned down by South Cardiff. With the competition as tight as it is, Westy still technically have a chance of finals. They've got to win more games and lose and they've definitely got to beat Kahibah on Saturday afternoon. Last time they met, Kahibah were convincing winners, 6-2.

Kahibah FC should have beaten a sloppy Cooks Hill side last weekend but fell to a late 3-3 draw. Debutant Brandon Hayes was quality for the majority of the game but conceded a late own goal which ended up seeing the side drop two crucial points as a result. They've got the quality though to beat the lower teams in this grade and I think they'll do just that at Johnston Park.

My Tip: West Wallsend 1-4 Kahibah FC

Josh Knight has plenty of goals this season across 17's, 19's and 23's.
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Under 19's Match of the Round:
West Wallsend SFC (3rd) v Kahibah FC (2nd)
Last Time They Met: Kahibah FC 4-2 West Wallsend
Kickoff: 12:30pm

West Wallsend's shock loss to South Cardiff saw them relinquish top spot to Lake Macquarie City and they'll need more this weekend against 2nd-placed Kahibah FC to regain the sort of form that saw them set the competition alight through the opening half of the season. It's a tight comp and form needs to be consistent. They'll want to put last weekend behind them sooner rather than later.

Kahibah FC have a game in hand after their abandoned match with Cooks Hill was postponed due to injury and they'll be eyeing off the top spot on the table. They'll be without Matty Hughes which is a big loss up front but the likes of Bailey Cooper will help fill the void. Kahibah have strong depth and they won 4-2 when these sides met in Round 7. I like their odds of picking up a big win here and solidifying a spot in the top four.

My Tip: West Wallsend 1-2 Kahibah F.C

Westy 19's celebrating a goal v Cessnock City.
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Under 17's:
West Wallsend SFC (2nd) v Kahibah FC (5th)
Last Time They Met: Kahibah FC 0-4 West Wallsend
Kickoff: 10:45am

Two sides that had very different results last weekend will meet on Saturday morning. West Wallsend were 2-0 winners over South Cardiff but lost quality midfielder Lachlan Coombes to a second yellow card. The depth in the squad is strong and Coombes' absence won't be heavily felt.

Kahibah FC came into last weekend's match with Cooks Hill inside the top four but they were downed convincingly 6-1 by the visitors and slumped to their heaviest loss of the season. Another side to come to Kahibah Oval and ease past the Green and Blacks was West Wallsend when they were victorious 4-0 in Round 7. Kahibah have some talented players but they don't seem to challenge the top sides that well. Westy should be too strong at home as they chase top spot on the league table.

My Tip: West Wallsend 4-1 Kahibah FC

Kyle Williams and Casey Jackson v Cooks Hill United last weekend.
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1st Grade:
Belmont-Swansea Utd (4th) v Cooks Hill United (7th)
Last Time They Met: Cooks Hill United 5-1 Belmont-Swansea
Kickoff: 2:30pm

Two sides that produced complete opposite performances last weekend. Belmont-Swansea put on arguably their best display of the year as they downed previous ladder-leaders and premiership favourites Lake Macquarie City for their second time this season. It continued what has been an amazing year for Belswans in 1st Grade. Captain Joel Shearer returned from injury and was one of many stars on the day.

Cooks Hill United on the other hand produced one of their worst displays of the season in the 6-1 loss to Kahibah. Like a knife through butter, Kahibah weaved and waved their way through a poor Cooks Hill midfield and struggling defensive line. It was as uninspiring a display as you'll see in this competition.

Belswans will be boosted by the return of Corey Wilson which won't hinder the result too much in my mind. They'll win this; by how much is the true question. They put five past Cooks Hill six weeks ago and it'd be no surprise to see similar, maybe even worse here.

My Tip: Belmont-Swansea 7-1 Cooks Hill United

Josh Hall & Jamie Hadlow have been quality all season for Belmont-Swansea.
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Under 23's Match of the Round:
Belmont-Swansea Utd (3rd) v Cooks Hill United (2nd)
Last Time They Met: Cooks Hill United 1-0 Belmont-Swansea
Kickoff: 12:45pm

The Match of the Round sees two inconsistent sides clash in a top-four battle that could be a Semi Final preview in the Under 23's. Belmont-Swansea fell to Lake Macquarie City in unconvincing fashion last weekend whilst Cooks Hill United have spent the last month trying to re-discover the form that saw them lead the competition at one stage earlier this season.

Belmont-Swansea at home should be the favourites and will be as Cooks Hill United have been unconvincing as of late. The Cookers were lucky not to lose by two or three goals at Kahibah last weekend and managed to rescue a 3-3 draw. It was a decent ending to the game but the result overall is a let-down and one they can't afford to keep repeating.

When these sides met in Round 7, Cooks Hill rode their luck and put on a quality defensive effort to come away with a 1-0 victory. I'm tipping Belmont-Swansea to get some revenge and jump the Cookers on the table.

My Tip: Belmont-Swansea 2-1 Cooks Hill United

Belmont-Swansea's U23's before their match against Wallsend FC.
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Under 19's:
Belmont-Swansea Utd (4th) v Cooks Hill United (5th)
Last Time They Met: Cooks Hill United 3-0 Belmont-Swansea
Kickoff: 11:00am

This is a key game for both of these sides as the race for the playoff heats up. Cooks Hill United overtook Belmont-Swansea last weekend but their result against Kahibah was stricken from the record and that game will be replayed after being abandoned due to an injury. Giles Boyd's side will know they have an extra game in hand but they need to treat this game in a serious manner and as a game that will shape their season.

Belmont-Swansea were beaten by Lake Macquarie City last weekend but this team is one to take very seriously; especially when they're on their own turf at Blacksmiths Oval. They've been delightful against lower-placed sides but they've lacked a little in the important games and there's not going to be too many more important than this.

So who wins it? It's a brilliant clash on paper. The likes of William Dundas and Joel Nicholson against Ty Cousins & Jackson Gosling. Cooks Hill were big winners when these sides met in Round 7; arguably their best display of the season but they'll need to up the ante once again and if they can, I believe they'll come away with a big victory in the race for finals football.

My Tip: Belmont-Swansea 1-3 Cooks Hill United

Cooks Hill 19's celebrating a goal in last week's abandoned game v Kahibah FC.
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Under 17's:
Belmont-Swansea Utd (7th) v Cooks Hill United (4th)
Last Time They Met: Cooks Hill United 1-0 Belmont-Swansea
Kickoff: 9:15am

Belmont-Swansea pulled off one of the upsets of the season last weekend in their stunning 1-0 win over previously unbeaten ladder-leaders Lake Macquarie City. One goal proved the difference and Belswans defended hard and fought their way to their biggest win of the season. They'll need to keep it up if they're to bridge the nine point gap and make the finals.

Cooks Hill United moved into the top four with a highly-convincing 6-1 victory over previous top four side Kahibah FC. Cameron Wamsley kept his scoring form going, Damon White got two, Elih Collins scored and captain Michael Dalton scored a late free-kick to add icing to the cake.

The Cookers have won three-straight games and scored 15 goals in that time. I believe they'll take the three points from Blacksmiths Oval and move further into the top four.

My Tip: Belmont-Swansea 1-3 Cooks Hill United

Cooks Hill 17's demolished Kahibah FC last weekend.
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1st Grade:
Thornton Redbacks (6th) v Singleton Strikers (8th)
Last Time They Met: Singleton 1-4 Thornton
Kickoff: 2:30pm

Thornton meets Singleton for the second time in six weeks on Sunday and they'll meet again in less than a month in the Final 8 of the Northern NSW FFA Cup Qualifiers on June 18th. That's then and this is now. Thornton Redbacks come off the bye with a full-strength line-up; something they've failed to field for the majority of the season. Jamie Subat I feel is an addition that will add just that bit more to an already tricky side on their day.

Singleton Strikers dismantled a lacklustre Cessnock City side in the Derby last weekend. Klaudon Ahmataj was a stand-out on the day; scoring three goals. Across the park is was a solid display and continued Singleton's resurgence. Wins over Toronto-Awaba, Cooks Hill United and of course Cessnock have David Willoughby's side poised to become the top team in a mid-table battle. Finals of course are unlikely but if one of the top four sides falls away, the Strikers could very well be there to take the spot.

When these sides clashed in a wet and wild game at Howe Park, Thornton Redbacks blasted four past a hapless Strikers side. That day really seemed like the catalyst for change at Singleton and they've turned it all around in some style. Whether they continue on Sunday or not is the question. I ask why not?

My Tip: Thornton Redbacks 1-3 Singleton Strikers

Singleton's Klaudon Ahmataj was Man of the Match and scored a hat-trick v Cessnock City.
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Under 23's:
Thornton Redbacks (8th) v Singleton Strikers (7th)
Last Time They Met: Singleton 3-1 Thornton
Kickoff: 12:45pm

After hell rained down on Howe Park and cancelled the Round 7 match between these sides, they would eventually clash in a mid-week catch-up game. Singleton were 3-1 victors and sit above Thornton on the table on goal difference. Both sides are five points outside the top four so finals are definitely not out of the question and the winner on Sunday will take a big leap towards that.

Singleton kept it solid enough last weekend to see off Cessnock City 1-0 in goalkeeper Ryan Guihot's 200th game for the Strikers. It was a delightful win for the side and they'll be looking for another one at Thornton Park. Before the bye, the Redbacks had wins over Toronto-Awaba and top-four side Cooks Hill United but their last match saw them draw 3-3 with Cessnock City.

It's going to be a hard-fought match-up and looking at the form between not just these sides but the whole competition...I feel a draw might be possible.

My Tip: Thornton Redbacks 2-2 Singleton Strikers

Singleton's 23's were winners against Cessnock City last weekend.
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Under 19's:
Thornton Redbacks (10th) v Singleton Strikers (6th)
Last Time They Met: Singleton 4-1 Thornton
Kickoff: 11:00am

The weather forecast looks better this time round after these sides played a slippery and at times sloppy game in the pouring rain at Howe Park back in Round 7. That day Singleton were too classy and came away with a 4-1 victory. Last weekend they were held to a frustrating draw against Cessnock City in a game that they had to win to keep their finals hopes on track.

Thornton Redbacks come off the bye with unconvincing form in the first half of the season. Their shock win over now-ladder leaders Lake Macquarie City during the first month of the season seems like an eternity ago and their only win since then was a 6-2 victory over struggling Toronto-Awaba. It hasn't all been bad news as a couple of players have enjoyed some form in front of goals. Jack Halverson comes to mind.

Singleton are aiming for a top four finish and this game I believe is as crucial as any they've played this season.

My Tip: Thornton Redbacks 1-3 Singleton Strikers

Singleton & Thornton 19's clash in the pouring rain in Round 7.
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Under 17's:
Thornton Redbacks (11th) v Singleton Strikers (9th)
Last Time They Met: Singleton 2-3 Thornton
Kickoff: 9:15am

Despite these sides sitting lowly on the league table, they can produce a quality game on their day and they did just that when they met at Howe Park in Round 7. Thornton Redbacks came away with a 3-2 win but it was a high-attacking game and a quality one considering it was between two sides that have been plagued by inconsistent form.

Singleton sent Thornton to the foot of the table last weekend with a convincing 5-2 victory over Cessnock City. In-form goalscorer Trae Proudlock got two, James Croucher got one and Luke Fishpool & Jacob Geddes both scored with impressive finishes. It was a solid team performance and they'll be looking to do the same in this crucial match.

Thornton Redbacks won't want to lose though as the wooden spoon will grow ever likely, especially if they lose a match against another team that sit low on the league table. Singleton's performance last week was solid and I believe they'll come away with a hard-fought win here.

My Tip: Thornton Redbacks 2-3 Singleton Strikers

Thornton were 3-2 winners in their Round 7 trip to Singleton.
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1st Grade:
South Cardiff (9th) v Cessnock City (11th)
Last Time They Met: Cessnock City 1-2 South Cardiff
Kickoff: 2:30pm

Cessnock City are looking ever-more-likely spoon bound, especially after last weekend's unconvincing display against the Singleton Strikers. Steve Thomson's side were soundly beaten 6-1 and they'll need a lot more this weekend against a desperate South Cardiff side. They'll be without key players Jeremie Morton & captain Anthony Bower. It's already looking a tough ask for the out-of-form Hornets.

South Cardiff were in the game up to their necks last weekend against West Wallsend but like most of their losses this season, they'd go down in a tight affair. Injuries hindered them but if they can get one or two of those back that missed last weekend they'll certainly like their chances. Their win over Cessnock in Round 7 will give them hope and it's time for the Gunners to put together some form and hopefully finish the season in a respectable mid-table spot.

My Tip: South Cardiff 3-1 Cessnock City

Winstone Oku v Cooks Hill United
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Under 23's:
South Cardiff (4th) v Cessnock City (9th)
Last Time They Met: Cessnock City 0-2 South Cardiff
Kickoff: 12:45pm

South Cardiff fired themselves back into the top four with a solid 3-2 victory over West Wallsend last weekend. Two goals to Ben McCabe and one to Trent Lamborn helped the Gunners see off the Bluebells in a tight affair at Ulinga Oval. 

This weekend they face a Cessnock City side that too played in a tight match last weekend, a 1-0 loss to Singleton at Howe Park. The Hornets played solid enough considering they had a few players out and were relying heavily on youngsters, especially off the bench. They can consider themselves unlucky not to leave Singleton with a point last weekend.

When these sides met in Round 7, South Cardiff were 2-0 victors and considering they're only just sitting inside the top four, they'll want to use the home ground advantage and come away with another win.

My Tip: South Cardiff 2-1 Cessnock City

Cessnock 23's were 1-0 losers at Singleton last weekend.
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Under 19's:
South Cardiff (7th) v Cessnock City (11th)
Last Time They Met: Cessnock City 1-3 South Cardiff
Kickoff: 11:00am

Cessnock City pulled off a late escape to draw with Singleton last weekend but this weekend they face a tougher test in the form of South Cardiff. The Gunners last weekend stunned a poor West Wallsend side and knocked them off the top of the table as a result. They defeated Cessnock in Round 7 so they'll be feeling confident about a win on Sunday.

With South Cardiff's scorers missing from Newysports TV on Monday, I can tell you that Aden Luker opened the scoring in the 2nd minute. David Kolarovski scored from a cross and then James Wootton sealed the win with a goal. Goalkeeper Darren Gledhill was in form as well in the 3-2 victory.

At Ulinga Oval, I believe that the Gunners will come away with the points and build on last weekend's win and keep their slim finals hopes alive.

My Tip: South Cardiff 3-1 Cessnock City

South Cardiff 19's at the Newcastle Athletics Field.
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Under 17's:
South Cardiff (10th) v Cessnock City (8th)
Last Time They Met: Cessnock City 5-4 South Cardiff
Kickoff: 9:15am

Despite their position at the lower end of the table; these two sides put on a thriller when they met at Turner Park a month and half ago. The Hornets came from a few goals down to stun the Gunners and win 5-4. They've picked up a win or two since then and they've moved a game clear of the bottom of the league. They can make a big jump away from the bottom with a win over Southy this Sunday.

South Cardiff picked up one of the surprise results of the year two weeks ago when they drew Lake Macquarie City 1-1. Last weekend they fell to a 2-0 loss to the in-form West Wallsend. Kyle Bower will miss this weekend's game after getting shown a red for an alleged headbutt in the loss to Westy.

Cessnock City last weekend traveled to Singleton and were soundly beaten 5-2. This weekend is another tricky test against an unpredictable South Cardiff side. I'm tipping the Gunners to get revenge for that infamous nine-goal game in Round 7.

My Tip: South Cardiff 4-2 Cessnock City

Cessnock's Will Forbes played every game for the Hornets in the Round 12 trip to Singleton.
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Thursday, 19 May 2016

PREVIEW: New-FM 1st Division Round 12

Newysports.com Feature Match


1st Grade:
Singleton Strikers (8th) v Cessnock City (11th)
Last Time They Met: Cessnock City 1-1 Singleton
Kickoff: 2:30pm

I was there in Round 1 when these sides met at Turner Park and it was a pretty dull affair. I didn't expect it after Singleton's wonderful pre-season form. Since then Singleton couldn't find luck. Yes they were beaten heavily some weeks (Lakes comes to mind) but in most games they were competitive but just couldn't find the results. The loss to Kahibah proved that.

A win over strugglers Toronto-Awaba was followed with a highly impressive 3-1 away win at Cooks Hill last weekend. The Strikers arguably should have won by more and were heading towards a clean sheet, if not for a 94th minute consolation goal by the home side. Confidence is growing amongst the Strikers and David Willoughby's side will be going for three straight wins on Saturday.

Singleton are a long way from the top four; eleven points to be exact but they only need to look back at their epic push for finals last season for inspiration. Their opponents this week, Cessnock City have been very poor in recent games. They lost 2-1 at home to Thornton last week and they'll need to be at their best to win this one away from home. They're also without goalkeepers Steve Anderson and Mat Zechel so Shannon Attewell will step into goals.

It's a key game for Singleton's season and I believe they'll come away with the win at Howe Park and suddenly find themselves on 12 points and perhaps just eight points outside the top four.

My Tip: Singleton Strikers 4-1 Cessnock City

Shannon Attewell will again play 1st Grade this week between the sticks.
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Under 23's:
Singleton Strikers (9th) v Cessnock City (8th)
Last Time They Met: Cessnock City 0-0 Singleton
Kickoff: 12:45pm

Two sides coming off of draws last weekend clash at Howe Park in what is a crucial match for both side's season. Cessnock have drawn five of their first 10 matches and need to find that extra goal or two and start picking up three points rather than one if they want to make the finals. Coming from 3-1 down to draw with Thornton last week was a start.

Singleton Strikers could consider themselves unlucky not to leave Cooks Hill with a win last weekend and will be looking to continue their recent turn-around with another home win. Expect a fairly physical grind type of a game between two sides who can't afford to lose in the race for finals spots. It's sure to be entertaining nonetheless.

Cessnock City are a tough side to beat but considering this is at Howe Park, I'm going to tip the home side to pick up one of their biggest wins of the season.

My Tip: Singleton Strikers 2-1 Cessnock City


Singleton's Ryan Guihot will play his 200th game for the club on Saturday.
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Under 19's:
Singleton Strikers (6th) v Cessnock City (11th)
Last Time They Met: Cessnock City 0-7 Singleton
Kickoff: 11:00am

It was a horror show for Cessnock City when they hosted Singleton in Round 1. They crashed to a 7-0 defeat on their home turf. Since then they've picked up better scorelines, although mostly losses. Last weekend they finally picked up their first win as they came from behind and beat Thornton thanks to goals to Rhys Paprocki, a quality goal to 17's standout Will Forbes and a match-winner to Tai Roles. It was a long-awaited victory for the Hornets.

Singleton Strikers fell to a disappointing 1-0 defeat at the hands of Cooks Hill last weekend but their performance was anything but disappointing. Only luck in front of goal and some superb goalkeeping from the Cookers cost them getting a point and maybe all three. Nathan Hall had a few chances at goal and found the post once or twice. If they do the same going forward this weekend they should be able to pick up a win on home turf.

My Tip: Singleton Strikers 3-1 Cessnock City

Singleton fullback Jayden Proudlock v Cooks Hill United last weekend.
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Under 17's:
Singleton Strikers (11th) v Cessnock City (7th)
Last Time They Met: Cessnock City 0-0 Singleton
Kickoff: 9:15am

Singleton Strikers sit dead last in the Under 17's which with some of the players they have is a wonder. They've just been too inconsistent and they'll be looking to turn things around in the second half of the season. Players like Trae Proudlock and James Croucher have been quality but the results haven't been there due to luck and just poor finishing costing them.

Cessnock City have found three victories this season, their most recent coming last weekend against Thornton Redbacks. They've got some handy players like Aaron Comerford and Will Forbes and they'll be looking to add to Singleton's 2016 season woes with a win on Saturday.

When these sides met in Round 1, it was an entertaining match but still a scoreless draw. Both sides will be aiming for more when they met at Singleton's Howe Park. Cessnock City's away form hasn't been the best and I think they'll go down in this one. Singleton just need to pick up another win in this grade and I feel like this is a very chance to do so.

My Tip: Singleton Strikers 2-1 Cessnock City

Cessnock striker Will Forbes scored two quality goals last weekend in U17's and U19's.
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1st Grade Match of the Round:
Belmont-Swansea United (4th) v Lake Macquarie City (1st)
Last Time They Met: Lake Mac. City 3-4 Belmont-Swansea
Kickoff: 2:30pm

The Match of the Round sees a Lake Macquarie derby take centre stage in the New-FM 1st Division for the second time this season. In Round 1, Belmont-Swansea stunned the competition with their epic 4-3 win over Lake Macquarie City and since then they put a lot of doubt from outsiders aside with wins left, right and centre. They've been brilliant but lately their form has slipped.

Last weekend's loss to Wallsend wasn't up to the standard they've set. They had some key players out and it showed during a poor second half. Ben Cox will return from suspension this week but the 4th-placed Belswans will be hoping for a return from injury for both Luke Cook and club captain Joel Shearer. Shearer's presence would have come in handy last weekend and if he returns on Sunday it will help them in a big way.

Lake Macquarie City were tested last weekend against South Cardiff and survived in a 3-2 win over a side that they arguably should have beaten by a few goals based on form. Lakes have proven that they're prepared to grind out results this season. That win over Southy and indeed their win over Cooks Hill last month proves that they can win tight games as well as record blow-out scorelines.

So who wins this game. Being at Blacksmiths Oval plays into Belmont-Swansea's favour but it really depends on the line-up. Players like Joel Shearer and Luke Cook add a lot to the side and if they're in I'd be more confident. Even then I'm not sure I'd be confident enough to tip against the ladder-leaders.

My Tip: Belmont-Swansea 2-3 Lake Macquarie City

Belswans coach pairing Brad Paul & Michael Stafford have been influential this season.
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Under 23's Match of the Round:
Belmont-Swansea United (3rd) v Lake Macquarie City (1st)
Last Time They Met: Lake Mac. City 0-0 Belmont-Swansea
Kickoff: 12:45pm

Belmont-Swansea were flying high in the Under 23's and seemingly looked headed for a victory after Luke Lethbridge fired them ahead early on against a sloppy Wallsend side. Unfortunately for Belswans the Red Devils staged an impressive turn-around and ended up coming away with a convincing 4-1 victory. A tough loss for the previous ladder-leaders.

The top of the table in the 23's is tight and it stayed pretty much the same last weekend. Cooks Hill continued their inconsistent ways with a 1-1 draw against Singleton whilst Lake Macquarie City also picked up a draw against another decent team in the form of South Cardiff.

So what happens in this match-up. A draw seems a very likely result and these sides did draw their Round 1 clash at Macquarie Field. So that's what I'm going to go with here.

My Tip: Belmont-Swansea 2-2 Lake Macquarie City

Lakes 23's have been inconsistent as of late.
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Under 19's Match of the Round:
Belmont-Swansea United (4th) v Lake Macquarie City (3rd)
Last Time They Met: Lake Mac. City 7-3 Belmont-Swansea
Kickoff: 11:00am

The Under 19's Match of the Round sees two quality teams in Belmont-Swansea and Lake Macquarie City clash at Blacksmiths Oval. Belswans are coming off the back of three straight wins whilst Lakes have won their last five in a row so it's definitely going to be a quality match on Sunday. Last time they met, Lakes came away with a big 7-3 victory at Macquarie Field. I doubt there'll be ten goals this weekend but it's surely going to be a cracker.

Lake Macquarie City picked up all three points at Ulinga Oval last weekend with a 3-0 win over South Cardiff. Belswans too kept a clean sheet as they downed Wallsend 2-0 at The Gardens. Some quality players will be on show here. The likes of William Dundas at Belswans and Josh Richardson at Lakes have been troubling fullbacks all season and defence will be key in this game.

So who wins in this one? It's very hard to decide. You could almost flip a coin based on their form so we'll see how it goes. I'm going to tip a highly-entertaining draw.

My Tip: Belmont-Swansea 2-2 Lake Macquarie City

Lakes 19's have been quality as of late and will be looking to continue that.
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Under 17's:
Belmont-Swansea United (8th) v Lake Macquarie City (1st)
Last Time They Met: Lake Mac. City 4-3 Belmont-Swansea
Kickoff: 9:15am

Ladder-leading Lake Macquarie City dropped their first points of the season in the Under 17's last weekend to South Cardiff. No doubt a frustrating result but they were never going to win every single match. A goal from Adam Mitchell tied the game up but they were unable to pick up the three points. This weekend is another tricky test in a very inconsistent Belmont-Swansea.

Belswans have talented players but their style of play I feel isn't coming off and it was obvious at The Gardens last weekend. They'll need their best effort of the season to overcome Lakes and at this stage I can't see it coming based on recent form.

My Tip: Belmont-Swansea 1-3 Lake Macquarie City

Belmont-Swansea's William Dunn in a match v Cooks Hill United
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1st Grade:
Kahibah F.C (2nd) v Cooks Hill United (6th)
Last Time They Met: Cooks Hill United 2-7 Kahibah F.C
Kickoff: 2:30pm

Kahibah F.C won 6-0 over a ten-man Toronto-Awaba last weekend and will be looking to pick up a second win of the season against Cooks Hill on Sunday afternoon. In Round 1, they stunned the Cookers and came away with a highly impressive 7-2 victory. The Green and Blacks are looking a serious premiership threat in 2016.

Yes they will be slightly depleted after quality midfielder Daniel Bartlett left the club after a verbal disagreement with the team hierarchy. Bartlett's loss could be glazed over with the addition of one, possibly two handy U22 players from NPL club Edgeworth F.C. Riley Ferguson and Brandon Hayes are rumoured to be new signings for the Green and Blacks and both will add something to the squad.

Colvin Williams and Brendan Trummel will both possibly return from injury this weekend and they'll no doubt add to what is already one of the stronger sides in the competition on paper.

Opposing Kahibah is a very inconsistent Cooks Hill United side. Key players Thomas Sparre and Jack O'Toole will return from illness whilst midfielder Zac Douglas will return from a suspension. It's a near-enough full-strength side for Blake Glennie to pick from this weekend and there's no sugar-coating it; this is a key game for the Cookers' season. 

Belswans' loss to Wallsend last week kept the gap between the Cookers and the top four at seven points. A win here and a loss for Belswans would close that gap to just four. It's not over for the Cookers yet but a high-quality performance is needed and I'm not sure it's going to happen.

Kahibah at home and after picking up a big win last week is just too good to ignore. The Green and Blacks for the win here.

My Tip: Kahibah F.C 5-1 Cooks Hill United



Andre Gumprecht celebrating his match-winning goal v Singleton Strikers.
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Under 23's:
Kahibah F.C (7th) v Cooks Hill United (2nd)
Last Time They Met: Cooks Hill United 2-0 Kahibah F.C
Kickoff: 12:45pm

Kahibah F.C kept their decent form going last weekend with a tight 2-1 win over a luckless Toronto-Awaba side. Captain Jez Turner continued his goalscoring form with the winger picking up his seventh goal of the season. Peter Migliore was the other goalscorer in the 2-1 win. This week they face arguably their toughest test of the last few games in Cooks Hill United. A win will take the Green and Blacks within possibly a point of the top four.

Cooks Hill United could be sitting top of the league by a few points at the moment if not for some poor form as of late. They dropped points in a 3-3 draw with West Wallsend, they put in their worst display of the season at Thornton and they were lucky not to lose last weekend to Singleton. Kahibah will punish teams who aren't up to the challenge so the Cookers need to bring their best and if they do, then they'll likely come away with a win.

My Tip: Kahibah F.C 1-3 Cooks Hill United


Adam Gunster was a stand-out in last weekend's draw with Singleton.
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Under 19's:
Kahibah F.C (1st) v Cooks Hill United (5th)
Last Time They Met: Cooks Hill United 0-2 Kahibah F.C
Kickoff: 11:00am

New league-leaders in the Under 19's Kahibah F.C face a tough test this weekend as Cooks Hill United travel to Kahibah Oval. Mat Moncrieff's side won 6-0 at Toronto-Awaba last weekend. Form striker Matthew Hughes continued his scoring ways and he was joined on the scoresheet by Jarrod Watkins, Bailey Cooper and two goals to Bailey Chaplain. An impressive result to say the very least.

Cooks Hill United picked up a 1-0 win over Singleton last weekend but it certainly wasn't convincing. Goalkeeper Emerson Gosling was Man of the Match and stepped up to save his side's poor defensive errors at time last weekend. It was his best game for the Cookers and he'll need to be switched on again this weekend against a very dangerous Kahibah side.

When these sides met in Round 1, the visiting Green and Blacks came away with a 2-0. Cooks Hill United on their day can beat any team in the competition but their form lately hasn't been too convincing so I'm going to tip the home side to come away with the three points and retain their spot at the top of the table.

My Tip: Kahibah F.C 2-1 Cooks Hill United


Kahibah's Bailey Chaplain scored a double last weekend.
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Under 17's Match of the Round:
Kahibah F.C (4th) v Cooks Hill United (5th)
Last Time They Met: Cooks Hill United 0-2 Kahibah F.C
Kickoff: 9:15am

Cooks Hill United could prove themselves as a top-four quality side with a win here over Kahibah F.C. They sit in fifth, three points behind the Green and Blacks but with a better points differential, they'll jump Kahibah if they pick up all three points on Sunday morning. Their win over Singleton didn't see them play their best football but they're a quality line-up that are finding form as of late.

Kahibah F.C grinded out a 1-0 over Toronto-Awaba last week to dent the Stags push for the top four and they'll no doubt be looking to do the same to the visiting Cookers. Pat Waller was the lone goalscorer last weekend for Tony Birleson's side and I feel like one goal won't be enough against a high-scoring side like Cooks Hill.

The Cookers have looked better as of late since the return of captain Michael Dalton and from front to back, consistency is the key to making the playoffs. Damon White has been consistent, Cameron Wamsley has scored a few goals, Luca Sakoff has been a decent addition to the club. They're definitely a side that should be playing finals but the competition is tight so hence this is a crucial match.

Kahibah were 2-0 winners in Round 1 but I feel as though Cooks Hill have improved since then and I believe they'll come away with a big win at Kahibah Oval this Sunday.

My Tip: Kahibah F.C 1-2 Cooks Hill United


Cooks Hill celebrating one of their six goals v Thornton Redbacks.
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1st Grade:
Wallsend F.C (3rd) v Toronto-Awaba (10th)
Last Time They Met: Toronto-Awaba 1-4 Wallsend F.C
Kickoff: 2:30pm

This is a mismatch on paper and it certainly wouldn't be a surprise to see it play out in a similar style on the field. Toronto-Awaba admittingly were better last week; they had Kahibah at just 1-0 in the 60th minute. Caleb Prebble was sent off and it all fell to pieces once again for Tony Jovcevski's side. The Stags will need everything they've got and more this weekend against the Red Devils.

Wallsend F.C were looking awful last weekend in the 1st half against Belmont-Swansea but they turned it around in the 2nd half and came away with a big 3-1 victory. They could really cement their spot in the top three with a win in this one and why not with the form they're in.

One could try and come up with some reasons to back Toronto-Awaba for the win or even a draw but it's highly unlikely. Wallsend at home and full strength will have too much quality for the struggling Stags.

My Tip: Wallsend F.C 4-1 Toronto-Awaba

Wallsend picked up a big win over Belmont-Swansea last weekend.
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Under 23's:
Wallsend F.C (4th) v Toronto-Awaba (11th)
Last Time They Met: Toronto-Awaba 1-4 Wallsend F.C
Kickoff: 12:45pm

Wallsend F.C put some poor form behind them with an epic come-from-behind 4-1 victory over Belmont-Swansea last weekend. The Red Devils put on one of the best displays I've seen by any sides this season as they simply outplayed the former league-leaders in convincing fashion. The whole side played well and even 1st grade gaffer Josh Rufo got on the scoresheet. A great performance by Chris Wallis' side.

I mention Chris as he wanted me to tip against them this week as he feels it brings them luck. I simply can't as this week they face the only team out of 44 New-FM sides who are yet to win in 2016, Toronto-Awaba. The Stags only lost 2-1 last week but I just cannot see them getting anything out of this. If Wallsend play in a similar fashion this week, it should be a rather simple result.

My Tip: Wallsend F.C 4-1 Toronto-Awaba

Wallsend 23's picked up a convincing 4-1 victory against Belmont-Swansea. Can they do the same this week?
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Under 19's:
Wallsend F.C (8th) v Toronto-Awaba (10th)
Last Time They Met: Toronto-Awaba 2-1 Wallsend F.C
Kickoff: 11:00am

Wallsend F.C lost 2-0 to Belmont-Swansea last week and just couldn't find the back of the net. Joel Blundell was a stand-out in the loss but they seemed to be lacking firepower in the final third. They lost to Toronto-Awaba in Round 1 and they'll need to be on their toes as this is a danger game in their fixture list.

Toronto-Awaba were outclassed in a 6-0 loss to Kahibah last weekend so confidence won't be very high. They've picked up Stags local Danny Wills from Wallsend so he'll no doubt want to pick up three points against his former side. The Stags 2-1 win in Round 1 over Wallsend is their only win of the season and the only thing keeping them from the foot of the table.

This is a tough one to predict as neither side seem to be in goalscoring form. I'm going to tip a draw as a result.

My Tip: Wallsend F.C 1-1 Toronto-Awaba

Toronto local Danny Wills returns to The Gardens to face his old side just a few weeks after leaving.
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Under 17's:
Wallsend F.C (3rd) v Toronto-Awaba (6th)
Last Time They Met: Toronto-Awaba 0-1 Wallsend F.C
Kickoff: 9:15am

Toronto-Awaba started the season in some quality form and sat as high as 2nd for a few weeks but recent form has been poor and they're now five points outside the top four and in desperate need of a win. They fought hard last weekend but fell to a 1-0 loss at the hands of Kahibah F.C. A result that dented their confidence after some unlucky draws and losses as of late.

After losing in a tight match to Kahibah, they're now looking at an away match against an even better side in Wallsend F.C. The Red Devils have been the form side of the competition and despite last week not being their best performance, they still came away with the points against Belmont-Swansea. At The Gardens and looking at the form of both sides, I feel like Wallsend is going to come away with the points here and keep pressure on the top two.

My Tip: Wallsend F.C 2-0 Toronto-Awaba

Toronto-Awaba's Callan Ansell v West Wallsend.
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1st Grade:
South Cardiff F.C (9th) v West Wallsend SFC (7th)
Last Time They Met: West Wallsend 3-2 South Cardiff
Kickoff: 2:30pm

South Cardiff began their New-FM campaign with a tight loss at the hands of West Wallsend and they'll be looking for revenge on Sunday afternoon. The Gunners will be feeling better about themselves after pushing ladder-leaders Lake Macquarie City last weekend. Sure they'd go down 3-2 but it was a decent performance from Andrew Packer's side and they'll be looking to start their climb up the table in this one.

West Wallsend will be without key defender Michael Baillie after he was suspended for receiving five yellow cards. It creates a slight headache at the back for Gary Rowe but the Bluebells will be thankful to still have youngster Ryan Van Kemenade at the back who has been as of late.

West Wallsend's season is on the line over the next few weeks and nothing would do them better than a win in this one. South Cardiff will bring the fight as they did against Lakes and for Westy they need to prove that they can beat mid-table sides. Westy have put in quality efforts against Cessnock and Toronto but this is another story at the home of the former NPL side. I'm going to tip a draw because I feel like these sides are rather even.

My Tip: South Cardiff 1-1 West Wallsend

West Wallsend could begin a push for finals with a win on the weekend.
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Under 23's:
South Cardiff F.C (5th) v West Wallsend SFC (10th)
Last Time They Met: West Wallsend 2-1 South Cardiff
Kickoff: 12:45pm

South Cardiff have encountered some inconsistency as of late in the Under 23's and have lost their spot in the top four as a result. This week they face West Wallsend in a key game for their season. Southy need to step up as they lost their opening game of the season to the same opposition.

West Wallsend had the bye last weekend but before that was some decent results, including a convincing 4-1 win over Cessnock City and a gutsy come-from-behind 3-3 draw with Cooks Hill United, thanks to a Jackson Couper hat-trick. The Bluebells sit second-last but nine points clear of bottom-table Toronto-Awaba. At Ulinga Oval you'd consider Southy as the favourites and I'm tipping them to win as it's a key game this weekend.

My Tip: South Cardiff 2-1 West Wallsend


South Cardiff's Matt Parker v Cooks Hill United.
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Under 19's:
South Cardiff F.C (7th) v West Wallsend SFC (2nd)
Last Time They Met: West Wallsend 5-1 South Cardiff
Kickoff: 11:00am

South Cardiff have yet to get going in the Under 19's at the half-way point of the season. Last week they were outplayed and beaten 3-0 by Lake Macquarie City. When they faced West Wallsend in Round 1, they were on the receiving end of a 5-1 scoreline so they definitely need to find that extra level going into Sunday's match at Ulinga Oval.

West Wallsend lost top spot on the table last weekend due to having the bye so they'll be keen to pick up a victory here and maybe move back into the competition lead and why isn't it likely? Sam Jones is the top scorer in the whole league and players like Matt Turner, Greg Mason and James Barnes can all add to that. They're quality going forward, quality at the back and should be winning this one based on form.

My Tip: South Cardiff 1-4 West Wallsend 

West Wallsend 19's celebrating a goal v Cessnock City.
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Under 17's:
South Cardiff F.C (9th) v West Wallsend SFC (2nd)
Last Time They Met: West Wallsend 2-1 South Cardiff
Kickoff: 9:15am

It's a crunch game for South Cardiff in the Under 17's this weekend as they look to kickstart their season with a win over a high-quality West Wallsend side. The Gunners will be feeling confident after holding ladder-leaders Lakes to their first draw of the season in their last outing. If they put in a similar effort here they could do the same and maybe potentially take all three points.

West Wallsend though are a tough opposition and can adapt their style to suit the occasion. They can win small, they can win big and if they keep their quality up to the normal standard, they'll most likely come away with a win on Sunday morning. Last week's result is making it hard for me to tip against South Cardiff but West Wallsend have a quality side in this grade and I feel like they'll be a side to watch over the second half of the season.

My Tip: South Cardiff 1-3 West Wallsend

South Cardiff's 17's celebrating a goal v Cooks Hill United
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