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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