Thursday, 13 April 2017

PREVIEW: New-FM Northern League One Round 6


1st Grade Match of the Round:
Belmont-Swansea United (3rd) v New Lambton FC (2nd)
Kickoff: 2:30pm

What an intriguing match this looks to be. Belmont-Swansea sit 3rd despite some indifferent performances to start the season. Their performance in a 1-1 draw with Cessnock was simply out of character and they showed a lot more with a 2-0 victory over Wallsend in the Grand Final rematch. Tega Marcus would get both goals against his old club. A night that the Belswans boys enjoyed greatly.

Their FFA Cup exploits saw them through to the next round with a fair bit of work. A 1-1 draw with Southy went to penalties and thanks largely to Benny Parmenter in goals, Belswans went through. Parmenter was strong all game and it'll be interesting to see whether he or Matt Redmond get the nod this week.

New Lambton's come from behind win with ten men over Singleton showed exactly what that club's about. Team spirit was high, belief was high and the Eagles will be a force to be reckoned with in most matches they play in this competition. Alex Ihlow got a double off the bench last week so may be used again as an impact substitute.

Inside news says that a former New-FM keeper from last season (Newysports will leave him unnamed) is joining up with the Eagles and may be an addition to the squad this weekend. They took on Stockton last night in the FFA Cup and were so close to being victims of a 'cup-set'. Once again, Packer's men came from behind to draw 4-4 and win a penalty shootout. Unbelievable really. 

Prediction: Two sides who can definitely produce some entertaining football on their day, Belswans probably go in as favourites seeing as it's at Blacksmiths but it's hard to rule out the Eagles in any match this season. Belswans are getting better each game so it's definitely going to be a tough game for New Lambton. If the home side produce their best, they should win it.

My Tip: Belmont-Swansea 3-1 New Lambton (sorry Tega Marcus!)



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Under 23's:
Belmont-Swansea United (4th) v New Lambton FC (8th)
Kickoff: 12:45pm

There's been some indifferent form across sides this season to start the competition but Belswans' 23's are definitely a strange case. They've picked up two wins but neither was convincing. Both games finished 1-0 and Emmanuel Okumu was the lone scorer. Their last match was a scoreless draw with Wallsend. It's not the sort of form you'd expect from a team sitting fourth.

New Lambton's form in the 23's has just gone flying out the window since last week. A disappointing loss to Singleton at Alder Park last Sunday was followed up midweek on their home turf by losing to West Wallsend. Paul McGuinness certainly has a job on his hand to get this side back into their groove. 

Prediction: This is certainly a hard one to pick as are most 23's games. New Lambton probably have the better side on paper but if they turn up and under-perform then it may be Belswans who take the points. The Eagles need to bounce back though.

My Tip: Belmont-Swansea 1-2 New Lambton



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Under 19's Match of the Round:
Belmont-Swansea United (6th) v New Lambton FC (1st)
Kickoff: 11:00am

Newysports sat at Alder Park last week thinking 'when does New Lambton play Belswans'. Then Newysports remembered, then Thornton v Kahibah got called off and now this game will be the centre piece of the lower grades at Blacksmiths tomorrow. It could turn out to be one of the best games so far this season in any grade.

Belswans free-scoring 19's put eight past Cessnock last time out with the likes of Ellis, Nicholson and Dundas having a field day. Unfortunately for them, most teams won't give them the amount of time and space that Cessnock did that day. This is a true test of the defending champions ability against the competition leaders.

New Lambton have been blasting expectations out of the water in most grades and certainly Newysports saw the 19's as a top-four contender but not the best team in the competition. As it stands they are the best team going and they've got players across the park who can do damage going forward. Knocking off the defending champions on their home patch will give this side loads of confidence.

Prediction: Definitely the match of the year so far in the Under 19's. This on paper looks good and both teams are playing some brilliant attacking football as of late. Defences will be crucial as will the goalkeepers. Belswans arguably have the better attack so this is New Lambton's greatest test to date. As for a tip, they can't be split.

My Tip: Belmont-Swansea 3-3 New Lambton



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Under 17's
Belmont-Swansea United (8th) v New Lambton FC (2nd)
Kickoff: 9:15am

Belswans looked the goods in the Under 17's way back in the opening game of the season but since then they've been beaten twice, a fairly convincing loss to Cooks Hill United and then in their last game, a late loss to Cessnock at home. Defensively they're playing some good football with Solomon Amos really standing out but they just have lapses and it's proven costly so far.

New Lambton 17's are one of the surprise packets of the competition so far. A classy win over struggling Singleton was followed up midweek with a draw against pre-season title favourites West Wallsend. The Eagles are up there in the top four with a few teams locked on seven points. This is a chance for them to really stamp their foot down and take over as a contender at the top.

Prediction: Belmont-Swansea on paper have a side that can compete with New Lambton but form is always an indication of how things might go. Belswans lost to Cessnock, the Eagles are better then Cessnock going forward so it may very well be an Eagles victory.

My Tip: Belmont-Swansea 1-3 New Lambton



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**ALL GAMES CANCELLED**


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1st Grade:
South Cardiff (5th) v West Wallsend SFC (10th)
Kickoff: 7:00pm

South Cardiff going into last week were absolutely flying after ending New Lambton's dream start and proving to be the spoilers once again after also gate-crashing Wallsend's homecoming with new coach Chris Gallagher earlier in the season. The Gunners were stunned last week by a resurgent Toronto and from all reports, the 1-0 scoreline could and should have been more.

The Gunners did miss a penalty that had to be retaken but nonetheless they weren't good enough on the day and Denis Fajkovic will know exactly where and what they need to improve on. No side was ever going to go through without a loss so it's no doubt all systems go at Southy and focus will be on turning around a disappointing week with the Gunners also exiting the FFA Cup.

West Wallsend's FFA Cup exploits may have just reinstalled some belief in their potential. They lost the plot against Thornton last week with both coach Gary Rowe and Tye Jones sent off in a fiery 6-1 loss. Tensions boiled over and like previous years, the Bluebells lost their cool. Fortunately they showed a lot of character in a 4-3 loss to Singleton last night in the FFA Cup.

Prediction: Westy look a side that will struggle this season. Their expected discipline issues popped up last week and they've conceded more goals than any other side. Going forward they have some decent players but defensively, lapses are proving costly and Southy will punish them if they don't put their best foot forward.

My Tip: South Cardiff 3-0 West Wallsend



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Under 23's Match of the Round:
South Cardiff (3rd) v West Wallsend SFC (6th)
Kickoff: 5:15pm

Southy's travelling nicely in the Under 23's with another win last week (this time over Toronto-Awaba). Zach Tapp has five goals in his last two games and will no doubt be one to watch out for going forward for the Gunners. Further back, their defence is a fairly strong one compared to some sides in the 23's and they'll be again vital for their chances.

Westy 23's have surprised a little bit this year. A big loss to Thornton last week hurt them but they turned that around with a solid 2-0 win away to New Lambton during the week. They've brought in one or two new faces (Chris Walker from Lakes is one to watch for) and they're playing some good football. This is a tough test for them though as they travel to Ulinga Oval.

Prediction: This game sits on a knife-edge if both teams produce their best football. South Cardiff have goals in them as they've proven but Westy can certainly bring a fight on their day. The two sides may just very well cancel each other out at the end of the night (yes this will end at night with the kickoff at 5:15pm!)

My Tip: South Cardiff 2-2 West Wallsend



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Under 19's:
South Cardiff (6th) v West Wallsend SFC (4th)
Kickoff: 3:30pm

South Cardiff's win over Toronto-Awaba last week saw them bounce back from a loss to New Lambton. Ethan Spiers was once again a key factor for them going forward but defensively the Gunners really stood firm and it's defence where this game will be won or lost for them. At home they'll want to make it two in a row no doubt.

West Wallsend picked up a solid win over Thornton last week but it came at a huge cost with two injuries in the game. Kale Preston was injured (still unsure how badly) and Jaryd Hayter suffered a broken pelvis. Absolutely shocking news and no doubt the Bluebells will be playing with Hayter firmly in their minds as he starts the long road to recovery.

Prediction: It's a chance for South Cardiff to really take that next step and announce themselves as a side to watch out for but when Westy play their best football, there's not many sides that can stop them. Westy to win this one to solidify a spot in the top four.

My Tip: South Cardiff 1-3 West Wallsend



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Under 17's:
South Cardiff (10th) v West Wallsend SFC (3rd)
Kickoff: 9:15am

It's not often Newysports receives team news about the 17's before match day. According to the source, Dylan Simone will be the starting goalkeeper for South Cardiff so unsure where their regular keeper Kyle Furness is. Whoever is in goals, this side will need their very best in this one as they have gone down in tight matches in both of their last two appearances.

West Wallsend were the pre-season title favourites and have started the season well but not as well as they could have. To their credit, no 17's team have started the season like a house on fire ala Cooks Hill 23's or New Lambton 19's but there's a lot of teams just waiting to stamp their authority on the competition. Westy are one of those teams.

Prediction: Southy will like their chances at Ulinga Oval but it's hard to see them warding off West Wallsend in this one. Goalkeeping change aside, the Bluebells on paper look a side to look out for and this is a chance for them to perhaps even boost their way into top spot depending on results elsewhere.

My Tip: South Cardiff 0-3 West Wallsend



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1st Grade:
Singleton Strikers (8th) v Toronto-Awaba (9th)
Kickoff: 2:30pm

Singleton's midweek 4-3 FFA Cup victory over West Wallsend came at a brilliant time for David Willoughby. The coach was left fuming last week after his side threw away the three points against a ten-man New Lambton side at Alder Park. Despite losing Sam Ford to injury early on, the Strikers should have won that game from the position they were in.

Fortunately they would turn it around with said FFA Cup win and now the Strikers make their first appearance at Howe Park this season and it comes at a good time with the side sitting 8th and possessing just one win out of four starts. A win here would be just what the doctor ordered. Expect some shuffling though with Sam Ford out and one or two new faces featuring in the midweek line up.

Toronto-Awaba were tipped to struggle by a lot but they proved some of their worth with a resilient 1-0 win over South Cardiff. Goalkeeper Blake Redman was one of their stars with a solid display between the sticks and no doubt Adam Routledge would have been pleased with his side's victory that lifts them about both Cessnock and West Wallsend.

However the Stags were outclassed midweek by a very solid Newcastle Suns outfit from the Zone Premier League. Not many gave them a hope against a side possessing John Majurovski and the Palozzi brothers. The Suns would beat most New-FM sides on their day so that result was not a shock.

Prediction: Toronto may very well win this one. The Suns result isn't a pretty one but let's not believe that affects this game too much. Singleton will be without Sam Ford who is often a key man going forward for them and pressure will again be with the likes of youngster Nathan Hall. Singleton still look on the slide in New-FM competition. Expect a tight game nonetheless.

My Tip: Singleton Strikers 1-2 Toronto-Awaba



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Under 23's:
Singleton Strikers (2nd) v Toronto-Awaba (10th)
Kickoff: 12:45pm

Singleton 23's have endured a fairly wild start to the season. Two superb comebacks show that the side possess a lot of character and belief this season and it's a very good skill to possess. Gael Basana was key for them going forward last weekend and they'll be looking to get a first-up home win as they return to Howe Park.

Toronto's 4-1 loss to Southy was probably a drop-off from where the side where after drawing Kahibah and losing in a tight contest with Westy. Conceding four goals at home is never good enough and the Stags will need to once again try to stand firm in defence as it's in attack that Singleton do their best work. 

Prediction: Toronto need to pick up some points soon to try and kickstart their campaign but this is not a game where their chances of winning rate very highly. Singleton are playing some quality football and have proven that they can not only come from behind but they can lead from the front.

My Tip: Singleton Strikers 4-1 Toronto-Awaba



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Under 19's
Singleton Strikers (2nd) v Toronto-Awaba (11th)
Kickoff: 11:00am

Singleton 19's started the season with a solid set of results but met their match last weekend when they went down to New Lambton. The Strikers weren't at their best as they'd shown in recent matches although a improved second-half display did leave a few positives to take out from the result.

Toronto 19's have been arguably the poorest performing side when it comes to pre-season expectations versus actual results. They were beaten last week by South Cardiff and remain rooted to the bottom of the table and a loss here would leave them a long way outside the top four.

Prediction: Even if they had home advantage, it'd be hard to see Toronto overcoming the challenge of what is a very strong Singleton side. The Strikers will want to bounce back after last weekend's loss and there's no better time for them to do just that than their first appearance for the season at Howe Park.

My Tip: Singleton Strikers 3-1 Toronto-Awaba



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Under 17's
Singleton Strikers (11th) v Toronto-Awaba (4th)
Kickoff: 9:15am

Statistically speaking, Singleton's 17's are the worst side in New-FM football after four games played. They've conceded more goals than any side (19), they've got the worst goal differential (-15) and they sit bottom of the table. Fortunately there is some light at the end of the tunnel as there's still a lot of football to be played and the 17's comp is a tight one.

Toronto's start to the season has been superb with the Stags showing a lot of heart in some very close games so far. Thomas Appleby got a double last week to lead them to a win over South Cardiff but it's defensively where this side really shine with some quality players who like to win the ball back well.

Prediction: Toronto enter this as the deserved favourites but it is a lengthy road trip up to Singleton and the Strikers will no doubt fire up in front of their home crowd. The Stags can become a real force with a win here and form says they could do just that.

My Tip: Singleton Strikers 1-3 Toronto-Awaba



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1st Grade:
Cessnock City (11th) v Cooks Hill United (1st)
Kickoff: 2:30pm

Cessnock City picked up a timely win in the FFA Cup midweek to re-install some much needed belief about what they're trying to do this season. Jason Zechel has been a key factor since rejoining the club and picked up all three goals in the 3-0 win over Zone Premier League side Jesmond FC.

Tendai Chivezhe is also one to watch out for and his partnership with Zechel will be vital for the Hornets. They can get the ball forward and wide fairly well at times but it's at the other end where the spotlight will shine. Swapping out goalkeepers and defenders last week to share 1st Grade game-time around didn't work out in the Hornets favour as they went down 4-1 to Wallsend.

Cooks Hill's last game in New-FM football was a thrilling 4-3 loss to Kahibah at the AthField last week. It was the first loss for Graham Law's men but nothing to lose sleep over. The Cookers were the better side but luck favoured Kahibah on the day and they won with a late own goal. Certainly the dust still sat on Graham Law's panic button, until Wednesday night...

The Cookers travelled to Swansea for the FFA Cup, lead 1-0 early on but were taken on a ride like no other by the underdogs Swansea. With seconds remaining Swansea made it 2-2 to send it to a shootout and then the lights would go out. That game will be played on the 26th but Cooks Hill were outplayed by the Zone Premier League side.

Cooks Hill showed barely any desire in a horrendous First Half and Graham Law let them know about it at half-time. It was an un-Cooks Hill like performance and they'll need more in most New-FM games.

Prediction: Cooks Hill were far from their best against Swansea but they'll win this one. The players Cooks Hill have going forward will be too good and too classy for an under-manned Cessnock side. Lino Gatti's defence is always a hot topic and is Cessnock's weak point. They may be found out in a big way if Law's men show up to score goals.

My Tip: Cessnock City 1-7 Cooks Hill United



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Under 23's
Cessnock City (11th) v Cooks Hill United (1st)
Kickoff: 12:45pm

Cessnock rotated some players between 23's and 1st Grade last week against Wallsend and if anything it back-fired completely, especially for 1st Grade. Wallsend picked up a 3-0 victory over the Hornets' 23's to leave them trapped at the foot of the table and already 7 points behind the team in fourth. It's definitely not an ideal situation but with numbers low at Cessnock, it shouldn't come as a huge surprise.

Cooks Hill sit top of the league and with a near-perfect record. Only near-perfect as last week's last-minute 1-0 win over Kahibah was anything but perfect. The free-scoring Cookers were really in a dog-fight against a Kahibah side that were out to prove themselves. Luck was on Cooks Hill's side and they got the points to make it four from four.

Prediction: Cessnock simply don't have the quality to match it with Cooks Hill if the Cookers actually put their best foot forward. They were kept quiet by Kahibah last week but if this game goes as expected, they may return to their free-scoring form. It's only Round 6 but Cessnock need a miracle to win this one.

My Tip: Cessnock City 1-6 Cooks Hill United


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Under 19's
Cessnock City (9th) v Cooks Hill United (3rd)
Kickoff: 11:00am

Cessnock 19's picked up an unexpected win over Wallsend last week in what was probably the shock of the season in the 19's. After copping an 8-goal hiding at Blacksmiths, the Hornets turned it all around to knock off the Red Devils. Quiet an impressive form reversal and now who knows what exactly Cessnock might offer this week. Connor Garrington and Brayden Mortimer were the goalscorers last week.

Cooks Hill after three games have a goal difference of 4 scored and 2 conceded. It's almost unbelievable to look at the attacking prowess they possess and then realise they've only scored 4 goals. It's obvious they know how to win tight games and they possess a very strong defensive unit but it's difficult to rate them alongside the likes of New Lambton as a front-runner just yet.

Prediction: Cessnock picking up the win over Wallsend at this stage seems a surprise one-off and no doubt Cooks Hill will enter as the favourites. Still, it might be unwise to rule out the Hornets but for now this seems a chance for Cooks Hill to prove they can actually score more than 1.3 goals a game or so.

My Tip: Cessnock City 1-4 Cooks Hill United



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Under 17's Match of the Round:
Cessnock City (5th) v Cooks Hill United (7th)
Kickoff: 9:15am

Cessnock were brought crashing down to Earth in a big way last week in the Under 17's. Previously top of the table, they succumbed to a 6-1 beating at the hands of new table-toppers Wallsend F.C. It was the best side the Hornets had met to date and unfortunately for those in yellow and black, they weren't able to see off the challenge.

Cooks Hill showed some character late on to draw 1-1 with Kahibah last weekend. Luck favoured the Cookers as they picked up a point more than what they were probably expecting going into the final moments of that match. Cooks Hill possess some quality players in this grade and they're showing a lot of potential so far this season.

Prediction: Cessnock need no reminding of the two 17's losses to Cooks Hill last year. 11-2 was one of them and 10-1 at Turner Park. Whilst it's definitely not going to end like that, Cessnock were found out last week and defensively will need some effort to overcome the challenge of Cooks Hill.

My Tip: Cessnock City 1-4 Cooks Hill United



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Under 15's Fixtures:


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