Thursday, 30 June 2016

PREVIEW: New-FM 1st Division Round 17

Newysports.com Feature Match:


1st Grade:
Singleton Strikers (9th) v West Wallsend SFC (6th)
Last Time They Met: West Wallsend 1-1 Singleton
Kickoff: 2:30pm

This will be an interesting match and is the only match on Saturday in the New-FM 1st Division. Singleton Strikers hosted South Cardiff during the week and were held to a 2-2 draw. Jackson Cox and Sam Ford picked up goals but Southy roared back to life and the Strikers were lucky not to loss all three points as they battled through their fourth match in two weeks.

West Wallsend's last match was an entertaining 2-2 draw with Thornton Redbacks. The Redbacks were firing for a big win in the race for finals but a Westy side missing one or two key players grabbed a point and were perhaps unlucky not to get all three.

There's a few outs for this match across the two sides. Kieron Burrell is still in doubt for Singleton whilst reliable fullback Zane Hand is suspended for two games. On Westy's side, Dom Langowski will be a welcome return but rock-solid centre-back Michael Baillie is out suspended and attacker Tye Jones has been suspended for four games for referee abuse.

It's a fairly even match-up on paper so it's going to be interesting to see how it pans out. When in doubt, the draw is always a tempting result and the 2-2 scoreline has been popping up everywhere as of late.

My Tip: Singleton Strikers 2-2 West Wallsend

Jarrod Olivieri, Nick Evans and Ryan Van Kemenade celebrating a goal v Thornton Redbacks.
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Under 23's:
Singleton Strikers (8th) v West Wallsend SFC (10th)
Last Time They Met: West Wallsend 3-4 Singleton
Kickoff: 12:45pm

Singleton Strikers came from behind to down South Cardiff on Wednesday night and fire themselves right into finals contention. They sit eighth but just three points outside the crucial top four. This competition is about to get interesting as the finals fast approach and its potential banana-peel games like this that pose a threat to Singo's finals hopes.

The cold hard fact is, based on form, they should be too good for a severely out-of-form West Wallsend side. The Bluebells have conceded countless goals in their last three outings and a trip to face a Singleton side that have won six-straight games at Howe Park. They can't afford to slip up here with the competition as tight as it is.

My Tip: Singleton Strikers 4-1 West Wallsend

Singleton will be looking to keep their finals hopes alive.
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Under 19's:
Singleton Strikers (7th) v West Wallsend SFC (3rd)
Last Time They Met: West Wallsend 8-1 Singleton
Kickoff: 11:00am

Singleton Strikers drew 4-4 with Lake Macquarie City last weekend and came very close to beaten the premiership-favourites. It was a confidence-boosting win and the fact that top goalscorer Nathan Hall didn't find the net during the 4-4 draw shows that this team has some talent across the park. Oliver Moody is one of those attacking threats and scored twice last weekend.

West Wallsend were held to a frustrating draw by Thornton Redbacks but could and probably should have lost to a decent Redbacks side on the day. That draw along with their recent 4-0 loss to Lake Macquarie City left their premiership hopes in tatters.

Last time these two sides met, Singleton suffered their biggest loss of the season as they were smashed 8-1. There's no way that happens again here as so much has changed and based on recent form, they'll be eyeing off a big result to keep their ultra-slim finals hopes alive.

Former U19's leading goalscorer Sam Jones has been quiet as of late for West Wallsend but Singleton's Nathan Hall recovered his form, scoring in a 3-2 U23's win during the week. They'll be a tough proposition but Westy are due for another win after some frustrating results as of late.

My Tip: Singleton Strikers 1-3 West Wallsend

Singleton 19's need a win to stay alive in the finals race.
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Under 17's:
Singleton Strikers (9th) v West Wallsend SFC (2nd)
Last Time They Met: West Wallsend 1-0 Singleton
Kickoff: 9:15am

Singleton Strikers 17's fell to the ladder-leading Lake Macquarie City last weekend and it doesn't get much easier for them this week as they host premiership-chasing West Wallsend at Howe Park. One positive of last week was Trae Proudlock continuing his form in front of goals. Eight goals in six games.

West Wallsend on the other hand returned to winning form with a comfortable 4-1 victory over lowly Thornton Redbacks. It should and could have been more if the Bluebells found the net once or twice more early on during a dominating opening spell. It was a tight 1-0 win back in Round 6 but expect more goals from two sides who can find the net.

Singleton will battle on their home turf but their defenders will be under the pump as the likes of Josh Knight and Jaryd Hayter will be looking to continue West Wallsend's pursuit of silverware. Westy goalkeeper Josh Snedden will be looking for a clean sheet but will need to keep out the likes of Proudlock as Singleton look to put one past the form keeper of the competition.

My Tip: Singleton Strikers 1-3 West Wallsend

Josh Knight has become West Wallsend' leading goalscorer for 2016.
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1st Grade Match of the Round:
Kahibah F.C (2nd) v Lake Macquarie City (1st)
Last Time They Met: Lake Macquarie City 3-2 Kahibah F.C
Kickoff: 2:30pm

On paper this looks one of the matches of the season as premiership hopefuls Kahibah F.C and Lake Macquarie City go to war at Kahibah Oval. 

Unfortunately the Green and Blacks will be without several key players. Andre Gumprecht takes an International Football School side to Canberra for the Kanga Cup; a side involving Josh Spencer, Jarrod Penfold & Trent Vegter as well as others from the lower grades. Sean Clerke is suspended to add to the woes. It's a very tough ask without those players in.

Jayden Demir is a welcome return for the home side as he plays his first match in six or seven weeks. He returned in the 19's last week and picked up a late goal in the 3-2 loss to Belswans.

On the other side, Lakes welcomed club captain Tom Walker back from a lengthy stint on the sidelines with a broken arm and he made a big return, scoring in the 2-0 win against Singleton. His brother Sam was the other scorer on the day. Key centre-back Sean Matthews is the main out this week after leaving the club bound for Adamstown Rosebud.

It would have been nice to see this one played out with the likes of Gumprecht, Penfold and Clerke involved but alas they're all out and Kahibah's chances aren't the best without them. Lakes for the win here.

My Tip: Kahibah F.C 0-3 Lake Macquarie City

It's a season-defining game at the top of the table for Lake Macquarie City.
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Under 23's:
Kahibah F.C (8th) v Lake Macquarie City (1st)
Last Time They Met: Lake Macquarie City 3-1 Kahibah F.C
Kickoff: 12:45pm

Kahibah's Under 23's are unbeaten in their last nine outings although four draws out of those nine games sees them remain outside the top four. They sit in 8th position but within touching distance of the playoff positions. It's a key game for their season as they meet ladder-leading Lake Macquarie City.

Lakes have won their last five games in a row and sit comfortably in top spot, well on the way to lifting the minor premiership in a month or so's time. Only a mammoth collapse would see them denied the trophy now. They'll come into this game as favourites after a routine win over Singleton last weekend.

Kahibah F.C will see this home game as a chance to put themselves right into the mix for the finals but they'll be missing the likes to Lachlan Murray, Trent Vegter and key attacker Peter Migliore. Some players will need to back up for 1st Grade as well. Even at full-strength I would have had my doubts. Nine unbeaten is impressive but this is a much harder opposition than they've met in recent times.

My Tip: Kahibah F.C 1-3 Lake Macquarie City

Lakes 23's are the premiership favourites and will be looking to continue their good form.
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Under 19's Match of the Round:
Kahibah F.C (4th) v Lake Macquarie City (2nd)
Last Time They Met: Lake Macquarie City 4-1 Kahibah F.C
Kickoff: 11:00am

It's the Match of the Round in the Under 19's and it's a vital game for Kahibah F.C. A win for the Green and Blacks will all but secure finals football but they'll have to do it with their backs against the wall. Two straight losses and they'll be missing a goalkeeper in the form of Blake Gates as well as handy midfield duo Harry Wills and Bailey Chaplain. Wills in particular is a big out after scoring a superb free-kick goal last weekend. Another stand-out last week in Jayden Demir will likely miss out with 1st grade commitments out-ranking the 19's.

Lake Macquarie City have struck some inconsistency in recent weeks. A loss to bogey side Thornton would have been disappointing and then last week they were unable to overcome Singleton Strikers in a 4-4 draw. These results cost them top spot on the table and they'll be hoping to bounce back with a win here.

When they met back in Round 6, Kahibah were beaten soundly, 4-1 at Macquarie Field. Their lone goalscorer on that day was Harry Wills scoring a bomb from range (sense a pattern?). Lakes have a solid attacking threat and they're the sort of side who won't go too long without winning. A return to form for Lakes.

My Tip: Kahibah F.C 0-2 Lake Macquarie City

Harry Wills' free-kick was superb last week but he is among a few outs for Kahibah this week.
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Under 17's Match of the Round:
Kahibah F.C (5th) v Lake Macquarie City (1st)
Last Time They Met: Lake Macquarie City 4-1 Kahibah F.C
Kickoff: 9:15am

Kahibah F.C picked up a big win over Belmont-Swansea last weekend and are still in with a big shout of making the finals. They'll need no motivation either against the league-leading Lake Macquarie City. If it wasn't enough that the Green and Blacks were downed 4-1 in Round 6, several of their players played at Lakes last season. One-upping the old club would be a big plus.

Lake Macquarie City were too good for Singleton last weekend and have been finding goals from all over the park. Kurtis McRitchie is their stand-out scorer but the likes of Adam Mitchell alongside others have been finding the net as of late and there's no team in the entire New-FM league with more goals across the team. It's a solid line-up.

A loss for Kahibah will likely see them four points outside the top four and suddenly finals will be a bit less likely. They'll be bringing all they've got against the league-leaders and although they're missing a 10+ goal striker in the form of a McRitchie, they've got talent across the park that'll look to keep it a low-scoring contest and force Lakes into a grind.

The Roosters are top for a reason and it's safe to say they enter this game as the favourites.

My Tip: Kahibah F.C 1-2 Lake Macquarie City

The likes of Joseph Hadden, Kye Condon & Casey Jackson all take on their former club.
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1st Grade:
Toronto-Awaba (11th) v Belmont-Swansea (3rd)
Last Time They Met: Belmont-Swansea 0-0 Toronto-Awaba
Kickoff: 2:30pm

Remember Toronto-Awaba's Round 6 scoreless draw with Belmont-Swansea? It doesn't seem all that long ago that they picked up two decent results in a row and suddenly climbed the table. Since then it's all gone South in dramatic fashion. Wallsend's controversial after-the-fact forfeit is the only thing that stands in the way of nine-straight losses for Toronto-Awaba. A critic would say that they lost that game to Wallsend, despite the latter revelations about the Red Devils. 

The cold hard fact is, Toronto are severely out of form and are staring down the barrel of a first wooden spoon since their relegation season in the NBN State League a few years back. It's an uphill battle for the Stags from here but one they'll be adamant on fighting, at least for the sake of avoiding the spoon.

Belmont-Swansea went down to Kahibah F.C last weekend in a rather lacklustre display by their lofty standards but returned to winning form with a 3-2 victory at Thornton on Wednesday night. The blitzing counter-attacks and wide play was quiet challenging for the Redbacks and in my mind will put Toronto to the sword if they're not up to the challenge.

It may have finished scoreless last time they met but it's 99% certain that won't be the case on Sunday. If you'd ask me for a prediction, I'd say there'll be possibly a 0 in one of the team's scores. Belmont-Swansea too good, too quick and too much quality in my mind. The Stags will be looking for the upset of the season regardless of having some key players out injured.

My Tip: Toronto-Awaba 0-7 Belmont-Swansea

Daniel March has been vital for Toronto-Awaba this season, saving plenty of goals.
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Under 23's:
Toronto-Awaba (11th) v Belmont-Swansea (4th)
Last Time They Met: Belmont-Swansea 4-0 Toronto-Awaba
Kickoff: 12:45pm

Belmont-Swansea have not won a game in the Under 23's since May 8th. Six games without victory. 1-1 draws are fast becoming the order of the day and their comeback against Thornton was decent on Wednesday night but not enough in the race for finals. For nine games in a row they've found a lone goal. They need to score more than 1 to win 95% of the games they're in. Luck was against them and a good goalkeeper on Wednesday.

Toronto-Awaba are heading for a certain wooden-spoon unless then produce another two victories and a draw and hope West Wallsend fall off the wagon severely (which they seem to be doing). It's a week by week task for the Stags but a lack of firepower hasn't helped them and they've had it tough all the season.

It's gridlock on the Under 23's table and there's simply no more time for faulting, Belmont-Swansea need to produce a win and it needs to come this Sunday. The Stags won't lay down so it's sure to be interesting.

My Tip: Toronto-Awaba 0-3 Belmont-Swansea

Toronto 23's will be looking to add to their lone win of the campaign.
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Under 19's:
Toronto-Awaba (11th) v Belmont-Swansea (1st)
Last Time They Met: Belmont-Swansea 11-0 Toronto-Awaba
Kickoff: 11:00am

There's only been three double-digit smashings in the competition this season. Toronto-Awaba's away trip to Belmont-Swansea that saw them downed 11-0 was one of them and it stands as the biggest loss of the season for any side. The others were Cessnock City's 17's losing twice to Cooks Hill, 11-2 and 10-1. Cessnock had a chance to avenge an embarrassing loss and didn't. Toronto will be doing all they can to avoid the same fate.

Belmont-Swansea are in form and produced a quality win over Kahibah F.C last weekend to go back to the top of the table. It's a well-structured team from front to back and considering attacking duo Joel Nicholson and Will Dundas can probably beat sides by themselves on their best day, Toronto-Awaba shouldn't be underestimating the challenge they've got on Sunday.

Toronto-Awaba will most likely fall to another home defeat. They were soundly beaten 6-0 last week by a mid-table South Cardiff side. Their goal has to be to avoid another embarrassing scoreline and maybe scoring a goal or two against a solid Belswans side. There's only one winner here and the question is how much? Sorry to the Stags.

My Tip: Toronto-Awaba 0-6 Belmont-Swansea

Leading goalscorer Joel Nicholson will be looking to put Toronto-Awaba to the sword.
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Under 17's:
Toronto-Awaba (6th) v Belmont-Swansea (7th)
Last Time They Met: Belmont-Swansea 2-4 Toronto-Awaba
Kickoff: 9:15am

Toronto-Awaba's finals hopes went down the drain last weekend as they fell to South Cardiff at home. Mathematically they're still a chance but with eight points separating them from the top four, it's highly unlikely they'll be able to turn it around. They may fall as low as eighth spot with a loss here.

Belmont-Swansea sit in a similar spot, one point behind Toronto-Awaba. They were outplayed and beaten by Kahibah last weekend. Goalkeeper Danilo Apollonia's rare own goal put them behind and they couldn't find a way back as Kahibah came away 2-0 winners. It's about pride from here on in for both this sides.

Last time they met, both teams were throwing banter back and forth and there was supposedly a lot of passion in the match-up. Toronto-Awaba were 4-2 winners at a time when they were challenging at the top of the table. Belmont-Swansea will be aiming for revenge and based on form, it wouldn't be a surprise to see it happen. Expect a passionate match-up.

My Tip: Toronto-Awaba 1-1 Belmont-Swansea

William Dunn has been a consistent performer in the Belswans squad this season.
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1st Grade:
Wallsend F.C (4th) v Thornton Redbacks (5th)
Last Time They Met: Thornton Redbacks 2-5 Wallsend F.C
Kickoff: 2:30pm

As a neutral (yes I'm at Cooks Hill but their finals hopes are done and dusted), I've been hoping for Thornton to find form in their last two outings and push Wallsend for that elusive finals spot. It'd be good for the competition to see the top four undecided until the final weeks but alas, Wallsend have the chance to put the nail in the coffin of the Redbacks on Sunday.

Thornton only have themselves to blame. They were unable to pick up a win at West Wallsend in a frustrating 2-2 draw. Tim Gleeson's long-range shot could have proven all the difference for Thornton. Then on Wednesday, they were downed 3-2 at home against Belmont-Swansea and the disappointment was definitely there on the players' and coaching staff's faces.

Sunday is quite simply knockout football for the Thornton Redbacks. It's a tough ask for them to make finals but six points could be three with a win and then you never know what might happen. Wallsend F.C are coming off a shock loss to Cessnock City and on that, you never know what might happen here.

David Hodgson's side will be depleted once again and after losing to Cessnock, there'll be a little bit of worry there. Cam Hughes has left the club to add to their woes. Experience is key and Wallsend have loads of it but Thornton will be hungry for a victory. It's an interesting match-up and will shape the rest of the year.

My Tip: Wallsend F.C 1-2 Thornton Redbacks

Luke Jennings will be looking to stop the likes of Jamie Subat and the Thornton attackers.
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Under 23's:
Wallsend F.C (5th) v Thornton Redbacks (6th)
Last Time They Met: Thornton Redbacks 4-4 Wallsend F.C
Kickoff: 12:45pm

Draws, draws, draws. It's becoming a repetitive result in the Under 23's. It does in fact show the evenness of the competition and it's good to see so many teams still in the race for finals football. Two of those teams will clash on Sunday at The Gardens as Wallsend host the Thornton Redbacks. Last time they met, it was a thrilling 4-4 draw. A Callan Baxter hat-trick fired Thornton to a gutsy draw.

On Wednesday night, the Redbacks were denied the chance to jump Wallsend into 5th position with a win over Belmont-Swansea. They'll be feeling confident and the defending champions without doubt want to get to the Semi Finals and attempt to win a second-straight crown in this grade.

Wallsend were downed 1-0 late on by a resurgent Cessnock City side last weekend and no doubt they'll be hoping for more against Thornton. With Belmont-Swansea having played an extra game and South Cardiff hosting Cooks Hill on Sunday, this is an important game for both sides.

It won't decide who makes the finals and who doesn't but if one side can go one better than the draw and pick up all the points, then they'll go into the box seat to make finals. It's surely going to be an interesting match-up.

My Tip: Wallsend F.C 2-2 Thornton Redbacks

Jason McGuire has been a constant stand-out for Wallsend's 23's this season.
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Under 19's:
Wallsend F.C (8th) v Thornton Redbacks (10th)
Last Time They Met: Thornton Redbacks 4-1 Wallsend F.C
Kickoff: 11:00am

Inconsistency has summed up the season for these two sides. Wallsend F.C started poorly and were plagued with injuries but even with the majority of the players on the park, the results haven't come to help them push for finals. In all fairness though, to sit on 17 points after the start they had is quiet an achievement and they have a lot to look forward to next year. Winning the majority of games remaining will see them finish comfortably in mid-table.

Thornton Redbacks were so, so close to a rare win and a big win over top-four side West Wallsend last week. They've had Lake Macquarie City's number twice this year and were extremely close to beating the Bluebells at Johnston Park. Will Miles-Schofield's last-ditch effort was close to being one of a few amazing endings to Under 19's matches this season. He would miss and the photo below summed it all up as the Redbacks missed the chance to make ground away from the bottom of the table.

So who wins this one. I quite liked the look of Thornton's squad last weekend and Wallsend are inconsistent so it's hard to predict. I'm going to go with the visitors to pick up a handy win at The Gardens.

My Tip: Wallsend F.C 1-2 Thornton Redbacks

Thornton's Will Miles-Schofield came incredibly close to taking all three points v Westy last week.
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Under 17's:
Wallsend F.C (3rd) v Thornton Redbacks (11th)
Last Time They Met: Thornton Redbacks 1-3 Wallsend F.C
Kickoff: 9:15am

Wallsend F.C will be looking to avoid fallen behind Cooks Hill United in the race to avoid fourth position and a Semi Final date with the minor premiers. The Red Devils returned to winning form with a 5-3 victory over Cessnock City last weekend. Baraka Birindwa & Jacob Rae both scored doubles and were joined on the scoresheet by Ben Priest.

Thornton Redbacks on the other hand sit in last position and will be looking to avoid the dreaded wooden spoon. Last week's 4-1 loss to West Wallsend saw them show quality at times but were fairly well-beaten by the top four side. A trip to The Gardens to take on a confidant Wallsend side will likely end in defeat.

My Tip: Wallsend F.C 3-0 Thornton Redbacks

Connor Morley and Mitchell Roy were kept busy in last weekend's loss to Westy.
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Newysports.com Feature Match:


1st Grade:
South Cardiff (8th) v Cooks Hill United (7th)
Last Time They Met: Cooks Hill United 1-0 South Cardiff
Kickoff: 2:30pm

Two sides that have failed to challenge for finals and would have wanted more from their 2016 seasons will meet on Sunday. South Cardiff are coming off a frustrating 2-2 draw with Singleton on Wednesday night whilst Cooks Hill United come off the bye and before that a hard-fought win over Cessnock City.

The Gunners scored through Daniel Wells and Cameron Herring on Wednesday night and are one of the few sides without injury/suspension headaches at the moment. Andrew Packer's side will be looking to produce more of the same that saw the club pick up its first clean sweep of results at Toronto last weekend.

Cooks Hill United have looked an improved side since coach Blake Glennie swung the axe and promoted some reserve grade players. It's forced some of the regular first-graders to re-discover some form and it's shown off players like Asher Beasley with one eye towards the future. Two wins in a row would be a decent effort for the squad and they'll see Toronto next week as a potentially third.

When they met in Round 6, Cooks Hill United produced their best defensive effort of the season, holding Southy out and winning 1-0. South Cardiff being at home will enter as favourites but the Cookers bring a real challenge.

My Tip: South Cardiff 2-1 Cooks Hill United

Asher Beasley will be looking to continue his good form in 1st Grade.
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Under 23's Match of the Round:
South Cardiff (2nd) v Cooks Hill United (3rd)
Last Time They Met: Cooks Hill United 4-0 South Cardiff
Kickoff: 12:45pm

With Lake Macquarie City sitting eleven points clear at the top of the table, it's essentially a race for second-place for the teams below and for these two teams in particular, it's a race to keep a spot inside the top four as the 23's competition tightens up. The amount of inconsistency amongst this competition has been amazing and Lakes are the big winners as a result.

South Cardiff fell to a mid-week loss against Singleton Strikers and missed a good chance to cement second-place on the table. Just six points separate the second-placed Gunners from ninth-placed Kahibah. There are eight teams fighting for three finals positions and all of them will want to avoid finishing 4th and having to meet Lakes in the Semi Finals. It's an interesting run-in to the finals.

Cooks Hill United have been a strange story in the 23's. Eight weeks ago they inflicted the only loss of the season to premiers-elect Lakes and it was a delightful performance at Macquarie Field. Since then, they've struggled with draws and losses and have gone seven-straight without a win. It's quite frankly amazing and it's tough to see how it's gone so wrong.

The question is, can one of these teams step up and pick up a confidence-boosting victory on Sunday. Inconsistency has become the key word in the Under 23's and in what could be a Semi Final preview, surely we'll get a winner. Part of me doubts it though.

My Tip: South Cardiff 1-1 Cooks Hill United

Giles Boyd and the Cookers' 23's need a long-awaited victory.
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Under 19's:
South Cardiff (5th) v Cooks Hill United (6th)
Last Time They Met: Cooks Hill United 2-1 South Cardiff
Kickoff: 11:00am

It's practically knockout football as South Cardiff host Cooks Hill in the Under 19's. Both sides are still realistically in with a chance of finals but this game is simply a must-win for both. South Cardiff fired themselves to a big 6-0 win last week over struggling Toronto-Awaba and are equal with Cooks Hill on 21 points. Fourth-placed Kahibah have a tricky test against Lakes so whoever wins this will be back in the running in my opinion.

Cooks Hill United are coming off the bye but before that was four-straight losses. They're on free-fall out of the top four and it's easily do or die for their chances this Sunday. Goalkeeper Emerson Gosling has been a stand-out in recent times but it means little when they're failing to find the net at the other end. It's been quiet a fall for the 2015 Semi Finalists and they need something, anything to stay alive.

South Cardiff have one of the competition's in-form goalscorers and a threatening attacker in the form of James Wootton. Eight goals in his last four games in this grade, Wootton will be again one to watch for. Captain Isaac Roman has three goals in three games and will be looking to keep his unexpected purple patch in front of goals going. Southy are in form, the Cookers aren't. It's surely going to be a hard-fought game nonetheless.

My Tip: South Cardiff 3-1 Cooks Hill United

James Wootton is the form goalscorer in Under 19's at the moment.
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Under 17's:
South Cardiff (8th) v Cooks Hill United (4th)
Last Time They Met: Cooks Hill United 4-1 South Cardiff
Kickoff: 9:15am

South Cardiff were well in it when they travelled to Cooks Hill back in Round 6 but fell away as the Cookers won 4-1.  The young Gunners were victorious last week against Toronto-Awaba and all but ended the finals hopes of the Stags. They'll be looking to be one of few sides to beat Cooks Hill this season. A grind-out 1-0 win over the Stags last week would have gave them confidence and goalscorer Lucas Emmett-Morley looms as a key figure for the home side.

Cooks Hill United are coming off the back of the bye but before that was an impressive showing mid-week against Wallsend F.C. It was their most important win of the season as they proved they could take down sides above them on the league table. Before that was a 10-1 hiding of Cessnock City. Confidence will be swarming in the Cookers camp and none more than Cameron Wamsley who can't stop scoring goals as of late.

Cooks Hill could put a gap between themselves and fifth-placed Kahibah as the Green and Blacks face a tough game against Lakes. More importantly for the Cookers is finishing third and avoiding a Semi Final clash with Lake Macquarie City. That's got to be the goal from here and they'll put some work towards that with a possible win on Sunday.

My Tip: South Cardiff 1-3 Cooks Hill United

South Cardiff will be looking to end their season with some wins.
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Thursday, 23 June 2016

PREVIEW: New-FM 1st Division Round 16


1st Grade:
Toronto-Awaba F.C (9th) v South Cardiff F.C (10th)
Last Time They Met: South Cardiff 1-2 Toronto-Awaba
Kickoff: 2:30pm

It's a big game in the race to avoid the wooden spoon and it's a chance for both teams to prove they've got a win in them. Toronto-Awaba enter this game on the back of eight-straight losses; I know, technically their 'loss' to Wallsend was reversed but there's a difference in winning on the day and winning by default due to an opposition admin error. In Layman's terms, the Stags are up against it.

South Cardiff come into this match with key defender Cameron Treweek back in the squad but will be without Jack Parkinson for the remainder of the season. It's been a disappointing season for the Gunners. As of late luck has let them down. Tight losses against Kahibah, Lakes and West Wallsend as well as a last-minute 4-4 draw with Cessnock City. They're more than due for a win and it should be coming here against an out of form Toronto side. Football is a strange game though and the Stags know this is an important match.

My Tip: Toronto-Awaba 1-3 South Cardiff

Johnny Nicholson grabbed a goal in Toronto's midweek loss to Cessnock City.
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Under 23's:
Toronto-Awaba F.C (11th) v South Cardiff F.C (3rd)
Last Time They Met: South Cardiff 2-0 Toronto-Awaba
Kickoff: 12:45pm

It's almost certain that Toronto-Awaba's Under 23's will end the season with the dreaded wooden spoon. It's been a disappointing campaign for the Stags and with just the lone win all season, they sit seven points behind West Wallsend and at this stage are playing simply for pride more than anything.

It's an opposite story for their opponents, South Cardiff. Whilst Lake Macquarie City seemingly have the premiership wrapped up, the Gunners and indeed other sides around them will be aiming to avoid 4th-place and a clash with the Roosters in the Semi Finals. The inconsistency of Cooks Hill and Belmont-Swansea opened the door for Southy and they've still got a game in hand to jump to second next Wednesday night.

The Gunners downed Toronto-Awaba 2-0 back in their Round 5 meeting and if form is anything to go by, it could very well be a similar result this time round.

My Tip: Toronto-Awaba 0-2 South Cardiff

Southy's Liam Parkinson v Kahibah F.C 
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Under 19's:
Toronto-Awaba F.C (11th) v South Cardiff F.C (7th)
Last Time They Met: South Cardiff 5-1 Toronto-Awaba
Kickoff: 11:00am

Toronto-Awaba are battling an uphill battle to avoid the dreaded wooden spoon in the 19's and they've got an important home match against South Cardiff coming up. The side are capable of quality performances, like their epic 4-4 draw with West Wallsend and a 2-0 win over Wallsend. They'll need more of that if they're to overcome a quality South Cardiff side.

The Gunners produced a big win over Kahibah two weeks ago but couldn't beat Singleton in a vital match at Howe Park mid-week. Their finals hopes are very slim but this game is important for them. When they met in Round 5, Southy were big winners, 5-1. A brace each to quality attackers Josh Iannazzo and James Wootton as well as a goal to Aaron Gunn fired them to a big win. Expect more of the same here. And keep an eye out for captain Isaac Roman who has two rare goals in his last two games.

My Tip: Toronto-Awaba 0-2 South Cardiff

Toronto's 19's will be looking to move off the bottom of the league with a win on Saturday.
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Under 17's:
Toronto-Awaba F.C (6th) v South Cardiff F.C (8th)
Last Time They Met: South Cardiff 0-1 Toronto-Awaba
Kickoff: 9:15am

It's becoming do or die for Toronto-Awaba's Under 17's and their search for finals football. After starting the season so well they've stumbled at times and at other times they've shown brilliance to pick up some quality results. Inconsistency has proven costly and a last time out 1-1 draw with Cessnock City in a fiery match-up would have been frustrating to say the very least.

On Saturday they take on a South Cardiff side that can challenge the best sides on their day. Southy were unlucky not to get a result at Kahibah a couple weeks back and with some quality players, I feel as though their best day would see them knock off nearly every team in the competition. Like Toronto, the Gunners have been victims of their own inconsistency.

Attacking football will be on display and I feel like Toronto-Awaba especially will be putting everything they have into this match-up. There's quality in both line-ups and it'll no doubt be the match of the day at Lyall Peacock Field. It's a big game for the home side and I believe they'll scrape out a result. Southy are a tough challenge though.

My Tip: Toronto-Awaba 2-1 South Cardiff

South Cardiff's Ethan Spiers played in goals and on the field for the 17's.

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Newysports Featured Match:


1st Grade:
West Wallsend SFC (7th) v Thornton Redbacks (5th)
Last Time They Met: Thornton 3-2 West Wallsend
Kickoff: 4:00pm

West Wallsend were eyeing off a finals spot but losing three points for their win against Kahibah (fielding a suspended player) cost them dearly and they were smashed 7-0, albeit with several players missing in a key match away to Lake Macquarie City. Their chances have seemingly gone out the window and they'll need to be on their toes against a desperate Thornton side.

Thornton Redbacks were denied by sheer bad luck last weekend in their FFA Cup loss to Singleton as they could only find the crossbar two or three times in a frantic finish. They were arguably outplayed on the day but the game was definitely still alive and the chances on another day would have seen them come away with a win.

Darrel McAllister's side sit seven points behind Wallsend F.C with a game in hand and indeed a trip to The Gardens coming up next weekend. The next week and a half (including next Wednesday's rescheduled game v Belswans) will simply make or break Thornton's seasons. It's time for the Redbacks to prove what they're made of. They won the first match and with a near full-strength squad, I can see them giving Westy a true test.

My Tip: West Wallsend 1-2 Thornton Redbacks

It's been a frustrating time as of late for Jarrod Olivieri and West Wallsend.
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Under 23's
West Wallsend SFC (10th) v Thornton Redbacks (9th)
Last Time They Met: Thornton 3-1 West Wallsend
Kickoff: 2:15pm

It's a strange league table in the Under 23's. There's Lakes well and truly on top and then there's just a six point gap between 2nd and 9th. Then Westy six points behind Thornton in 10th and then Toronto in last. Finals are a real possibility for Thornton but Westy need to win this game to keep their slim chances alive.

The last two weeks before last week's break weekend were nothing short of a horror-show for the Bluebells' 23's. A lacklustre effort in the Derby saw them smashed for seven by Wallsend and it didn't get much better in a mid-week trip to league-leading Lakes where they were downed 6-0.

Thornton are the defending champions and will be aiming to make the finals once again. It's not that likely with the amount of teams ahead of them but the inconsistency that plagues most teams in this grade means that anything is possible. They pushed Lakes in a 2-1 loss last time out and the form between the sides point to a rather predictable finish in this one.

My Tip: West Wallsend 0-3 Thornton Redbacks

Thornton will be looking for another win over the struggling Bluebells.
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Under 19's
West Wallsend SFC (4th) v Thornton Redbacks (10th)
Last Time They Met: Thornton 1-7 West Wallsend
Kickoff: 12:30pm

It's all come undone for Westy's 19's in the last two weeks. They haven't scored in 160+ minutes of football and they were held to a frustrating 0-0 draw with arch rivals Wallsend before being convincingly downed 4-0 by leaders Lake Macquarie City. They may very well make the finals on default if teams below continue their inconsistent ways but a win here would boost them eight points clear of fifth-placed Cooks Hill United.

Thornton Redbacks aren't in the best of form either. It's a strange story for their season though...three wins all year, one against struggling Toronto-Awaba but amazingly two against the premiership favourites Lake Macquarie City. Thornton may have Lakes' number but the only number they could get off of West Wallsend in Round 5 was seven...the amount of goals conceded. Westy need to fire themselves back into winning form.

My Tip: West Wallsend 3-0 Thornton Redbacks

Matt Turner and the Westy 19's will be looking for another big win against Thornton.
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Under 17's
West Wallsend SFC (2nd) v Thornton Redbacks (11th)
Last Time They Met: Thornton 3-2 West Wallsend
Kickoff: 10:45pm

It's been a long time between wins for Thornton's 17's. Since their win over Toronto on May 1st, the Redbacks have lost six-straight and fallen to the bottom of the table. Three straight home games saw them ship thirteen goals and score just two in reply. It's not the form you'd want going into a match with the premiership-chasing West Wallsend at Johnston Park.

Thornton were 3-2 winners back in Round 5 but a lot has changed since then. Westy have become a force that is a championship contender and they've shown brilliance to take top spot on the league table before losing it back to Lakes in a disappointing 3-1 loss last time out. That loss ended an eight-game winning streak and there's no doubting the Bluebells will be primed to get back into the groove on Saturday.

My Tip: West Wallsend 4-1 Thornton Redbacks

Two quality goalkeepers will meet when Thornton's Blake McDonnell takes on Westy's Josh Snedden.
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Newysports Featured Match:


1st Grade Match of the Round:
Belmont-Swansea United (2nd) v Kahibah F.C (3rd)
Last Time They Met: Kahibah 2-2 Belmont-Swansea
Kickoff: 2:30pm

It was the Game of the Season when these sides met in Round 5. Maybe not across all the grades but in 1st Grade, this game was a stand-out with edge of your seat football played out at a picture-perfect Blacksmiths Oval. This Sunday the two sides return to the venue and face each other in what will be a crucial game in the race for the premiership.

Belmont-Swansea produced a gallant effort against the Lambton Jaffas last weekend and will be looking to return to league action with a solid victory. They've got a mid-week game against Thornton next Wednesday so a win here would put them in the box seat for taking top spot back from Lakes.

Kahibah F.C come off the bye but before that was another late win at Kahibah Oval, over South Cardiff that day...similar to their win over Singleton. The sort of display that they can't afford to produce against Belswans. Southy that day didn't bring too much in front of goals but Belswans is a different beast. The likes of Hadlow, Hall & Sutton cannot be taken lightly.

In player news, Kahibah will be full-strength and may have young gun Jayden Demir back from injury. Belswans will be fired up after their FFA Cup outing last weekend and were unlucky not to win the first meeting between these two sides. At Blacksmiths Oval, I believe the home side will pick up another big victory in their 2016 campaign. Kahibah can't afford to produce another run of the mill performance or they'll be found out.

My Tip: Belmont-Swansea 3-1 Kahibah F.C

Jarrod Penfold and Kahibah will be looking to go one better at Blacksmiths this time round.
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Under 23's Match of the Round:
Belmont-Swansea United (5th) v Kahibah F.C (6th)
Last Time They Met: Kahibah 2-3 Belmont-Swansea
Kickoff: 12:45pm

It was one of the more entertaining 23's matches of the season when these two sides met in Round 5 and it's sure to be another tight-affair with finals hopes potentially on the line. It's not make or break but it's an important fixture for both teams, more so Kahibah as they look to close the gap between themselves and the top four.

Belmont-Swansea's form has disappeared. They started the year with a draw against Lakes and then five-straight victories. Since then, they've won just one of their last seven. Kahibah on the other hand are a different story. They were dead last with five-straight losses at the start of the season. Now they're unbeaten in their last eight. It's a huge form difference.

It's difficult to predict this one. Belswans' poor form has to end sometime soon and at home they'll be hoping to put in a quality effort. Kahibah though haven't lost in two months. I was asked about this game a week and a half ago and I said a 2-2 draw then and I'll say the same now.

My Tip: Belmont-Swansea 2-2 Kahibah F.C

Kahibah will travel to Blacksmiths for the second time after their relocated home game in Round 5.
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Under 19's Match of the Round:
Belmont-Swansea United (2nd) v Kahibah F.C (3rd)
Last Time They Met: Kahibah 3-2 Belmont-Swansea
Kickoff: 11:00am

Kahibah and Belswans produced four quality matches when they met at Blacksmiths in Round 5 and the 19's match was one of them. Five goals were scored that day and Kahibah came away with a win thanks to Bailey Chaplain's match winner. The stand-out goal had to be to a player Chaplain knows very well in Belswans' Matt Ellis; a cracking goal from near-abouts the halfway line.

In the race for the premiership, this is one of the biggest if not the biggest game of the year for both these sides. Kahibah have a game in hand on Lakes and Belswans and a win here would fire them right into contention. They've lost two of their last three though which isn't a good look for their form coming into the game.

Belmont-Swansea's form in the last three games has been perfect. 4-1, 5-1 and 5-1. Fourteen goals in three games and a whopping nine of them have come from top goalscorer Joel Nicholson who alongside William Dundas (who has three in 3 games) is a formidable force up front for the boys in yellow and green. Confidence is high and they'll be eyeing off a big win here against a Kahibah side that needs something more in front of goals than they've shown recently.

My Tip: Belmont-Swansea 3-1 Kahibah F.C

Bailey Chaplain (Kahibah) and Matt Ellis (Belswans) were both goalscorers when the two sides met in Round 5.
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Under 17's Match of the Round:
Belmont-Swansea United (7th) v Kahibah F.C (5th)
Last Time They Met: Kahibah 1-1 Belmont-Swansea
Kickoff: 9:15am

Belmont-Swansea's Under 17's will believe they're still a little chance of making the playoffs but this Sunday's match against Kahibah is simply a must-win game if they want to push for finals. It's their key match of the campaign and it's a home which plays into their favour. Not to mention they're unbeaten in their last four outings, winning three of them.

Kahibah F.C come into this game on the edge of the top four in fifth position and like Belmont-Swansea, it's a key game for those in green and black. Tristan Newbold fired in a rocket goal when Kahibah drew at Blacksmiths back in Round 5 in the relocated match and they'll come into this with some confidence after a hard-fought 1-0 win over South Cardiff.

I'm tipping the home side to overcome the challenge and pick up another crucial win for their finals hopes.

My Tip: Belmont-Swansea 3-1 Kahibah F.C

Kahibah's Henry Gibson in the 1-1 draw with Belmont-Swansea in Round 5.
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1st Grade:
Lake Macquarie City F.C (1st) v Singleton Strikers (8th)
Last Time They Met: Singleton 0-6 Lake Macquarie City
Kickoff: 2:30pm

Lake Macquarie City need to be applauded for the manner in which they handled West Wallsend last week. After being dumped from top spot as a result of other teams' misdoings, the Roosters simply let their football do the talking as they smashed West Wallsend 7-0 and regained top spot in some style.

With seven weeks remaining, it seems only Belmont-Swansea have an answer for the premiership favourites, they've beaten them twice. Lake Macquarie City have won 10 of their last 11 games and at home they are a force to be reckoned with. 

Last time these sides met, Lakes put six past a hapless Singleton. I'll give you two dates though, 25th July 2015 & 9th May 2015. July 25th saw Singleton beat Lakes 6-3 in what was arguably the game of the season last year. Five goals in the first eight minutes and then some after that.

The 9th of May is what the Strikers need to remember. The day they went to Macquarie Field and handed Lakes a 3-1 loss on their own turf. Two of the goalscorers on that day last year were captain Jackson Cox and Klaudon Ahmataj...the same Klaudon Ahmataj who meets Lakes for the first time since leaving the club after a short-spell at the start of the year.

Singleton met a classy side in Edgeworth last weekend and were disposed of fairly convincingly. Central defender Jackson Skinner was arguably one of their best in that game. The 18-year old celebrated his birthday a few days before the FFA Cup weekend and proved his worth by showing up to training on the night of his birthday. A player to watch indeed.

Lakes should win, Lakes probably will win but with Singleton you never quiet know. The likes of Sam Walker and Blake Green will be difficult to handle for the Strikers and with attacking outlet Kieron Burrell missing, the Strikers are going to be up for a real test.

My Tip: Lake Macquarie City 4-1 Singleton Strikers

Ever-consistent youngster Jackson Skinner showed quality in the FFA Cup matches last weekend.
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Under 23's
Lake Macquarie City F.C (1st) v Singleton Strikers (7th)
Last Time They Met: Singleton 1-4 Lake Macquarie City
Kickoff: 12:45pm

Lake Macquarie City are the form side in the Under 23's and are racing towards the premiership. They sit ten points clear and by this point will be making room in the club's trophy cabinet in belief that they'll finish top of the pile. Only a severe drop of form will cost them from here and confidence is high. Four-straight wins, two of them big and two of them tighter games proves that this side is the best in the division at the moment.

Singleton Strikers stunned Belmont-Swansea last time out and picked up their biggest win of the season. They're one of many sides still in the race for the playoffs and a win here will do them wonders. Even a loss wouldn't be that harmful with a catch-up game against South Cardiff still to come. That being said, it's surely going to be a fired-up Singleton side that arrive at Macquarie Field.

The visitors will want revenge from the 4-1 loss back in Round 5 but Lakes are just in too much form as of late to go against.

My Tip: Lake Macquarie City 3-0 Singleton Strikers

Lakes 23's will be looking to continue their good form against an unpredictable Singleton side.
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Under 19's
Lake Macquarie City F.C (1st) v Singleton Strikers (6th)
Last Time They Met: Singleton 1-1 Lake Macquarie City
Kickoff: 11:00am

This is the biggest game of the season for the Singleton 19's as they look to keep their ever-slimming finals hopes alive with an away win over the ladder-leading Lake Macquarie City. The Strikers have scored 34 and conceded 34 this season, 19 of those goals scored have come from Nathan Hall, easily their player of the season even with seven weeks remaining.

Lake Macquarie City sit top of the league following a mid-week 4-0 win over West Wallsend last week. Before that though was a second loss of the season to their 'bogey side' Thornton Redbacks. When these particular teams met in Round 5, the Roosters were held to a 1-1 draw but that was early in the season when their form was still coming together. They know the race for the premiership is tight and a win is paramount to their chances.

My Tip: Lake Macquarie City 3-1 Singleton Strikers

Top goalscorer Nathan Hall was the hero in Singleton's FFA Cup win over Thornton last week.
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Under 17's
Lake Macquarie City F.C (1st) v Singleton Strikers (9th)
Last Time They Met: Singleton 0-2 Lake Macquarie City
Kickoff: 9:15am

Lake Macquarie City returned to winning ways after two or three games where they dropped points and lost the competition lead to West Wallsend. A win over Thornton was never going to surprise but their effort against West Wallsend in a mid-week fixture was arguably their best of the season. Coming from 1-0 down at half-time, two goals to Adam Mitchell and one to Kurtis McRitchie gave the Roosters a big win and took back top spot; ending Westy's eight-game winning streak in the process.

Singleton on the other hand are coming off the back of two tight losses to Belmont-Swansea and South Cardiff, both at Howe Park. Despite the disappointment, they can take some positives out of their recent form. From all reports, new inclusion, French exchange student Theo Moreau has shown quality at training and on the park in his two games and attacker Trae Proudlock has enjoyed a breakout spell in front of the net with seven goals in five games.

Singleton will bring a fight but Lakes at home is just too much of a challenge in my mind. In eight home games and eight home wins for that matter, the Roosters have scored 33 goals to 9 and look a force. 3-1 with a goal to Kurtis McRitchie and Singleton's goal to Trae Proudlock.

My Tip: Lake Macquarie City 3-1 Singleton Strikers

Lakes' goalkeeper Brady McRitchie will be looking for another clean sheet against Singleton.
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1st Grade:
Cessnock City (11th) v Wallsend F.C (4th)
Last Time They Met: Wallsend F.C 2-0 Cessnock City
Kickoff: 2:30pm

Depending on Saturday's result at West Wallsend, this could be a very important game for the visiting Red Devils as they take on a determined Cessnock City. Thornton have a game in hand on the Red Devils and play them next weekend. Seven points behind, a win for Thornton at Westy will make things very interesting, especially if Cessnock take a point or three off the visitors. Food for thought...

Cessnock City are coming off the back of a solid victory over a poor Toronto-Awaba side but they remain dead last and will be looking at this game as their biggest of the season, there's no excuses not to. Steve Thomson will have a near full-strength squad (something they've failed to have a lot this year) and the Hornets will be looking for revenge for that 2-0 loss in Round 5.

Kyle Clarke was on debut for Cessnock City against Toronto-Awaba and is expected to be key once again for the Hornets. No official player news for Wallsend but a supposed sighting of Cam Hughes at Charlestown City Blues might be worth a talking point.

The Red Devils are becoming known for their gutsy victories, scraping out 1-0 and 2-1 results with a bit of luck on their side. Luck can run out and Cessnock will be looking for their first home win of the 2016 season. It's a big game for both sides.

My Tip: Cessnock City 2-1 Wallsend F.C

Wallsend player-coach David Hodgson scored against Cessnock City last time the two sides met.
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Under 23's:
Cessnock City (8th) v Wallsend F.C (4th)
Last Time They Met: Wallsend F.C 2-3 Cessnock City
Kickoff: 12:45pm

A huge 3-0 win over top four side Cooks Hill United in their last home game gave Cessnock City a finals lifeline in the Under 23's and they added to that win with a second-straight victory when they downed struggling Toronto-Awaba in a mid-week catch-up game. The 2015 Semi Finalists will be looking to make the playoffs once again.

Their opponents on Sunday are the unpredictable Wallsend 23's. A highly convincing 7-0 win over derby rivals West Wallsend was followed with a draw against Cooks Hill United in a mid-week catch-up game. Teetering on the edge of the top four is not where the Red Devils would like to be and they'll be looking for some revenge over the Round 5 result that saw Cessnock grab a stunning win in a fiery match-up.

One player who shined in Wallsend's 7-0 demolishment of West Wallsend was winger Jason Zechel. The former Hornet provided some quality assists on the day and will return to play at Turner Park for the first time since leaving the club. With his brothers remaining at Cessnock, there's sure to be some feeling in this one. I'm tipping a draw.

My Tip: Cessnock City 1-1 Wallsend F.C

Cessnock City picked up a late win over Wallsend 23's last time they met.
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Under 19's:
Cessnock City (9th) v Wallsend F.C (8th)
Last Time They Met: Wallsend F.C 2-0 Cessnock City
Kickoff: 11:00am

There's no real possibility of finals for these two sides so a free-flowing game may very well prove to be one of the better matches of the day at Turner Park. Cessnock City copped 20 goals in three games not that long ago but since then they've turned their form around and are unbeaten in five, winning three of them.

Back-to-back wins over Toronto-Awaba and an impressive win over Cooks Hill has the Hornets' 19's feeling confident and there's no reason they can't pick up another win here. Wallsend's last outing came to a premature end due to an injury to captain Cal Stokes and as a result they picked up a 2-1 win over a Cookers side that may or may not have drew level in the remaining 16 minutes.

Wallsend haven't looked convincing as of late in the 19's and with Cessnock in a form patch and having the likes of 17's standout Will Forbes in reserve, I'm tipping the Hornets for the first time this season.

My Tip: Cessnock City 3-1 Wallsend F.C

The Zechel brothers (pictured above Brendon) will be feuding once again.
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Under 17's:
Cessnock City (10th) v Wallsend F.C (4th)
Last Time They Met: Wallsend F.C 1-0 Cessnock City
Kickoff: 9:15am

Cessnock City's 17's last home game didn't go exactly to plan as they were smashed by Cooks Hill United but they put that behind them with a hard-fought and at times fiery 1-1 draw with Toronto-Awaba. A win on Sunday will almost put them out of contention for the wooden spoon so there'll be some feeling in this one. They'll have to do it without Lucas Zechel who is suspended.

Wallsend F.C come into this match on the back of not just one rare loss but two. After a seven-game winning streak came to an end against West Wallsend, a short turn-around and a mid-week trip to Cooks Hill proved too much for the young Red Devils as they fell to a 3-0 loss. They have to turn it around or face the ever-likely risk of being dumped from the top four.

Individual player battles aren't mentioned much here on Newysports but two form players will meet on Sunday morning. Cessnock's Will Forbes has seven goals in his last five games...the same stats as Singleton's Trae Proudlock. Unlike Proudlock, Forbes' goals are across three grades and have come in the last two weeks. In simple terms, he can't stop scoring goals. 

This week he'll need to overcome a sturdy Wallsend defensive line including Jackson Manning. Manning's running battle with Westy attacker Josh Knight was one of the highlights in the Red Devils 5-3 loss two weeks ago and alongside captain Darcy Hall (returning from suspension), Manning will be looking to stop the good form of Will Forbes. This is sure to be an interesting encounter.

My Tip: Cessnock City 1-2 Wallsend F.C

Forbes v Manning will be one of the better duels to watch in the 17's on Sunday.
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