Thursday, 29 March 2018

PREVIEW: New-FM Round 3 2018


Under 19's:
Singleton Strikers (11th) v Toronto-Awaba (1st)
Kickoff: 2:45pm
2017 Meetings: SIN 2-3 TAW & TAW 2-2 SIN

It's last v first at Howe Park tomorrow as the Strikers host the Stags. Singleton's heavy Round 1 loss to West Wallsend no doubt had some worried about their potential this season but last weekend's unlucky loss to Cooks Hill showed what this sides all about. There are some exciting players in their ranks and none more so than key attacker Jack Clare. But last weekend was a full team performance from front to back and they'll need that again tomorrow.

Toronto's 3-1 win over Belswans on paper looked like a comfortable outing but coach Shaun Paterson was disappointed with some aspects of the game and it's safe to say the Stags will need a full 80 minute performance to overcome Singleton. Tom Appleby's return coincided with two goals for last year's Golden Boot winner last weekend and he'll again be a handful for Singleton's defensive line. Expect a more refined performance from the early pace-setters.

Prediction: There's some key battles within this game. Singleton skipper Josh Shade seemed to be a key feature in the midfield and will come against some decent quality for the Stags whilst it's an intriguing battle between two fairly strong looking players in Toronto forward Tom Appleby and Singleton centre back Marcus Morris. Last year this game was an absolute thriller so hopefully more of the same. Going for the exact same scoreline here.

My Tip: Singleton Strikers 2-3 Toronto-Awaba

Additional Tip: Random card tip: four or more yellows to be brandished.

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Under 23's:
Singleton Strikers (11th) v Toronto-Awaba (6th)
Kickoff: 4:30pm
2017 Meetings: SIN 0-0 TAW & TAW 3-1 SIN

This is a pretty interesting match-up. As bad as Toronto were last year, they managed to get four points out of a possible six against SIngleton. The Strikers were the victim when the Stags 23's picked up their only win of the season and the way Singo have started 2018 in the U23's is harking back memories of last year's Stags side. No goals scored and 15 conceded in just two games. They look like a bunch of strangers and fitness and confidence is severely lacking.

Toronto on the other hand started the year fairly poorly with a heavy loss to Wallsend but bounced back with a victory last weekend. Will Cinello was the hero on the day in a hard-fought game against Belswans. Now they sit in a position where they can potentially jump into the top four this weekend. Graham Jones will have no doubt seen the Singleton scores but will be reminding his side to not be complacent.

Prediction: This game doesn't jump off the page as a potential thriller. It's probably the exact opposite. If Toronto 23's are worth any sort of potential this year they have to win this game. The Stags were mediocre last season but still managed to win and draw against Singleton. Now Singleton are mediocre so chances are the Stags may boost their confidence with a big win. This scoreline really could be anything!

My Tip: Singleton Strikers 0-3 Toronto-Awaba

Additional Tip: Will Cinello to score again for the Toronto 23's.

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1st Grade:
Singleton Strikers (8th) v Toronto-Awaba (11th)
Kickoff: 6:30pm
2017 Meetings: SIN 4-2 TAW & 2-3 SIN

As of writing this, it's still uncertain if Newysports will be on hand for the Good Friday fixture tomorrow but it's sure to be an interesting encounter. Singleton started the year decently with a draw away to West Wallsend but last weekend's 5-0 loss to Cooks Hill showed that they still have a long way to go. Granted they were missing a couple of key names but still, it was an underwhelming result last Saturday.

David Willoughby was kind enough to confirm some squad news midweek and that is the return of key goalscorer Joe Civello and young centre back Jackson Skinner. The big omission is that of the Cox brothers (Jackson & Brad). Willoughby also announced Zane Hand's return to the club but the player himself last night said it's still a work in progress. Either way, he's unlikely the feature in the game at this rate.

For Toronto, it's been a tough start to the season once again and this game is indeed one of the most important, if not the most important of Adam Routledge's reign as Head Coach. There's a couple of big name players in this squad that rely heavily on confidence and self-belief. To put it simply, the Stags need to get that breakthrough win within the next two or three games. They can ill-afford to fall behind the eight ball.

Routledge of course keeps his cards close to his chest so squad news is hard to come by. A former player did say midweek he heard they'd picked up a new signing but didn't give away a name. As for the performance last week, the second half slide will be the major focus this week. They'll look to put in a full 90 minute display and definitely if they do that and produce their best football then the three points is certainly achievable.

Prediction: The inclusion of Joe Civello is big for Singleton. He's not the most clinical attacker in the league but he's proved to be Singleton's good luck charm over the back end of last year and start of this season. Both teams are certainly capable of scoring goals and the draw looks to be a decent option here. Neywsports is perhaps underselling the attacks by only tipping two goals to be scored.

My Tip: Singleton Strikers 1-1 Toronto-Awaba

Additional Tip: Goalscorers: Joe Civello and Nick Roberts.

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Under 19's Match of the Round:
Cooks Hill United (3rd) v Kahibah FC (8th)
Kickoff: 10:45am
2017 Meetings: CHU 1-0 KAH & KAH 0-3 CHU

What a match-up this could turn out to be. Cooks Hill are under a bit of pressure after two underwhelming victories to begin the year. Their effort against Belswans lacked whilst last week's smash and grab over Singleton was highway robbery. There was a heavy reliance on 17's player James Poslon to rescue the points last week and there's some big questions that need answering. The attack is lacking and most importantly the goalkeeping issue is fast becoming something the rest of the league is seeing as target point. Jesse Fyfe is a solid youngster but nowhere near ready for a starting 19's spot.

Kahibah were to begin their new era with a game against an impressive Westy side but that got washed out. It doesn't get much easier this weekend with this game against the defending premiers. There's never been such publicity about a 19's squad before. The recruits Jarrod Gorsuch has made puts out a serious statement of intent. Saturday is the New-FM return of a few championship 17's players from Lakes, namely the McRitchie brothers and Preston Cunningham. It's also the New-FM debut of former Edgeworth 18's attacker Jensen Hunt.

Prediction: The major advantage Cooks Hill have is that they've played two competitive fixtures and Kahibah haven't played a game of any kind in a few weeks now. Kahibah's form in pre-season was less than consistent but if their attack can fire, particular against Cooks Hill's still fairly shaky defence, then they can definitely pick up the result.

My Tip: Cooks Hill United 1-3 Kahibah FC

Additional Tip: Left-field first goalscorer option from the head of Kahibah's Kallum Garbett.

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Under 23's
Cooks Hill United (1st) v Kahibah FC (7th)
Kickoff: 12:30pm
2017 Meetings: CHU 1-0 KAH & KAH 0-2 CHU

The 23's will be an interesting match-up, although maybe not as much as the main fixture on the day. Still, Cooks Hill 23's answered questions of their attack in some fashion last weekend. After picking up a scrappy 2-0 win in Round 1, they blasted eight unanswered past Singleton. Emerson Augey with five goals and if he took his chances he may have had six or seven. They look a real treat going forward and it'll be a tough ask to stop them on their home turf.

This is a make or break year for Kahibah 23's. So close but so far for the last few seasons means that some attention has gone into strengthening the club's depth. Mat Moncrieff is adamant the reserve grade side will be better this season and they need to be if they want to push for potential bench spots in 1st Grade. The recent signing of goalkeeper Ben Corling is a big boost for the 23's and that's where he'll start this weekend as the understudy to club captain Nick Hartnett.

Prediction: Cooks Hill deserve to go into this one as the favourites and just like the other grades, they have more competitive game time under their belts than Kahibah. The corresponding game last year was close and there's no way this will be a walkover like last week. Cooks Hill if they're at their best will be tough to beat.

My Tip: Cooks Hill United 3-1 Kahibah FC

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1st Grade Match of the Round:
Cooks Hill United (1st) v Kahibah FC (9th)
Kickoff: 2:30pm
2017 Meetings: CHU 3-4 KAH & KAH 2-3 CHU

Saved the Match of the Round preview until last again because this preview pretty much writes itself. This match is far beyond the typical weekly clash. Last season saw Cooks Hill emerge as the premier club in the league and it's a position Kahibah intend to get within the next two seasons. Then there's the barbs that were thrown back and forth during the pre-season.

Graham Law and Mat Moncrieff both shared some interesting words in the Newysports video series and to this day there is still animosity between the two camps over all of that. Law was already taking about the Kahibah game about twenty minutes after last week's comfortable home win and it's safe to say Cooks Hill see Kahibah as their biggest rival. It's not shared by Kahibah who's rivalry with Belswans has been thrilling over the years but it's obvious the two teams just do not like each other.

Adding to the intrigue of the match is the fact that these two clubs are the most hated in the league. The other nine clubs would likely agree with that notion and it comes with the territory of being the two teams that at this stage look the clubs to gun down. This is like Lakes of 2016 playing themselves in the minds of the majority of the league!

Game-wise, the Cookers were classy last week and they'll be fired up for third-straight home win to start the year whilst Kahibah haven't kicked a ball in a competitive game this year. The pressure is firmly on the Cookers with Graham Law wanting a victory before he leaves for a month-long trip to Scotland. But for Kahibah, it's a big, big fixture. The debut of German recruit Tom Butzmann and the first game as skipper for goalkeeper Nick Hartnett.

Prediction: Whatever the result turns out to be, this could be one of the great New-FM games. There's been a lot said about money and no doubt it'll be worth the price of admission. Cooks Hill have two games played already and that could prove all the difference. The champions head into this one as the favourites but it's not going to be a walk in the park like last weekend.

My Tip: Cooks Hill United 2-1 Kahibah FC

Additional Tip: Asher Beasley to score in the biggest game of his NL1 career as he returns to the AthField.

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Under 19's
Thornton Redbacks (6th) v West Wallsend SFC (4th)
Kickoff: 10:45am
2017 Meetings: WWB 3-2 THO & THO 0-3 WWB

Both of these clubs had the weekend off in Round 2 so it'll be interesting to see how they back-up from their opening games. Thornton's first home game comes after a frustrating scoreless draw against Cessnock in Round 1. With a lot expected from their attack this season, it's safe to say it wasn't the ideal start. What they have here is a match against a side expected to challenge for silverware in 2018.

West Wallsend's opening match saw them cruise past Singleton five goals to one. The quality they have across the park has been talked about and with four different goalscorers in that opening win, it shows that they can indeed strike from anywhere. It wouldn't surprise to see the likes of Khye Drayton and Blake Ciappara to battle each other in who can score more goals. It's a high-octane attacking side but their defence will face a tougher test this time out.

Prediction: Thornton need a confidence boost in the final third and it's safe to expect them to open their scoring account for 2018 on Saturday. Whether or not it leads to a result is the key question. West Wallsend were rock solid in Round 1 and they deserve to head into this one as favourites even with the home ground advantage going to the Redbacks. Westy to edge it.

My Tip: Thornton Redbacks 1-2 West Wallsend

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Under 23's
Thornton Redbacks (5th) v West Wallsend SFC (4th)
Kickoff: 12:30pm
2017 Meetings: WWB 1-6 THO & THO 2-1 WWB

Thornton coach Scott Winslade admitted the bye week wasn't ideal for his side after prepping for the season and finally kicking it off at Cessnock two weeks ago. The Redbacks were 1-0 winners that day and will no doubt be looking to add to that performance and perhaps work on taking their chances when they come. The Redbacks won both matches last season but the second one was a tight affair and they'll know this week will be a tough one.

West Wallsend's opening game saw them ease past lowly Singleton and now true questions get asked of their depth and quality in the 23's. Jai Webster's hat-trick and Kyle Clarke's brace was a big reason they won in Round 1 so those two are players to watch out for. A win this weekend would really boost confidence in a side that were expected to maybe drop off this season.

Prediction: All three games are tough to call at Thornton Park on Saturday. For the 23's, the question is are Westy really as good as their Round 1 result showed. Thornton are a good side in 23's, among the top teams on their best day and they will have expectations that they can turn their home turf into a fortress. It was 2-1 last time they met and Newysports likes that score for this one.

My Tip: Thornton Redbacks 2-1 West Wallsend

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1st Grade:
Thornton Redbacks (7th) v West Wallsend SFC (6th)
Kickoff: 2:30pm
2017 Meetings: WWB 1-6 THO & THO 2-1 WWB

These two teams met in two fairly dramatic games last year. The early meeting saw Thornton thump Westy and the Bluebells fire right up over some refereeing controversy. The second game saw Steven Cummings win it for Thornton in dramatic late scenes at Thornton Park. This Saturday is like the rest of the weekend fixtures very interesting.

Thornton's Round 1 scoreless draw with Cessnock was hard to gauge in skyrocketing heat at Turner Park. A lot of knowledgeable football people are talking them up but Newysports is unfamiliar with some of their new recruits, particularly those from the NPL 20's. The Redbacks are the mystery team in the league and really it's intriguing to wonder what they might serve up in their first home outing.

For West Wallsend, Round 1 was again hard to judge. It edged 40 degrees in that 1-1 draw with Singleton but judging by Gary Rowe's post-game comments, the Bluebells believed if chances were taken they could have left with all three points. That sort of inconsistency plagued Westy last night and they need to get it right more often than not in 2018 if they are to break that finals drought.

West Wallsend were carrying one or two knocks into the season so last week's wash-out may help them in that regard. Their first choice eleven from Round 1 is quiet a strong line-up but their biggest test is keeping everybody fit and on the park. What they might have over Thornton is experience in this league and physicality. As well as a few dangerous options going forward so Westy will go into this one with belief of winning it.  

Prediction: This is probably the hardest game to pick out of the five 1st Grade fixtures. Round 1 results are incredibly tough to gauge after the heat that caused so many issues that day. So it's probably the safest option to draw a line in the sand and call it straight down the middle. An entertaining, hard-hitting 2-2 draw at Thornton Park to satisfy to two supporter groups and leave them hungry for more.

My Tip: Thornton Redbacks 2-2 West Wallsend

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Under 19's:
South Cardiff (5th) v Cessnock City (7th)
Kickoff: 10:45am
2017 Meetings: SOU 1-4 CES & CES 1-2 SOU

Southy's victory in the 19's last weekend was slightly unexpected but suddenly confidence is rising in the group and they'll definitely see this as a game where they can pick up maximum points. There was an element of luck last weekend with Wallsend unable to take their chances and a fortunate own goal but some quality was shown, particularly by newcomer Aaron Burns with his goal. A clean sheet to the debuting goalkeeper Ethan Cahill was no doubt a big plus as well.

The only question of Southy is who will be their key goalscorer, and it's the same question being asked of Cessnock City as well. With no goals scored in two games, suddenly the pressure is on to really go to that next level. Defensively they've been quiet strong which is a major improvement on last year but a lapse allowed New Lambton to pounce last week and if there's not a lot of goals going in, they can't afford for things like that to happen.

Prediction: Interestingly enough, Cessnock 19's only won three games last year and one of them came against South Cardiff. The Hornets do have some potential but they're struggling to find it in terms of goals. It's a tough game to call on paper and the draw may just the prevalent option here.

My Tip: South Cardiff 1-1 Cessnock City

Additional Tip: Zac Kronholm to score Cessnock's first goal of the season.

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Under 23's:
South Cardiff (10th) v Cessnock City (8th)
Kickoff: 12:30pm
2017 Meetings: SOU 1-0 CES & CES 3-1 SOU

It's been a tough old start to the season for Southy 23's. As mentioned in pre-season, this is a team chock full of young talent that will as the year passes by improve. They've fallen to consecutive three-nil losses and no doubt it'll be a worry for coach Chris Moylan. Results aren't the be-all end-all in 23's, especially this early in the piece but surely the focus is on scoring some goals and livening things up a bit.

For Cessnock it was a hard-fought match last weekend but ultimately a loss to New Lambton. In a way very similar to their Round 1 loss against Thornton. Jed Unicomb again added a lot of vital experience in between the sticks and further forward there seems to be a few options rather than just one potential scorer. Just like Southy, the Hornets are a work in progress. Interestingly enough, these two teams both shared three points last year, winning their respective home games.

Prediction: Chances are Keegan Pulik will make his starting Southy debut here in goals. No doubt the club will want to give him a look over before considering a promotion. As for the game, Southy are a side that as mentioned will improve but this is a game that looks like it'll favour the Hornets. Just have a feeling about the away side in this one.

My Tip: South Cardiff 1-2 Cessnock City

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1st Grade:
South Cardiff (3rd) v Cessnock City (4th)
Kickoff: 2:30pm
2017 Meetings: SOU 5-1 CES & CES 0-2 SOU

This is a very interesting match-up, second only to the big clash at the AthField. Unfortunately it's on at the same time! Southy played last night giving Newysports a chance to see them earlier than expected and whilst there were a few positives (four goals and a real will to win being two of them), it was a fairly lacklustre display at time. 

The Gunners just lacked fluency at times and last night was made just a bit more interesting by the fact Cessnock coach Brendan Slade was on hand to scout his opponents and no doubt he would have liked what he saw last night. The Gunners' defence looked shaky at times and with inexperience youngsters, it's certainly a test for them. Kynan Currey was taken off early for Ethan Spiers who gave away a penalty but on top of that, at times the transition from defence to attack (including through Denis Fajkovic) was lacking big time.

Cessnock weren't spectacular on the weekend but the drought-breaking win brought them much-needed confidence. It was a memorable day at Turner Park with nothing more memorable than the elation after the final whistle. Sunday was a long time in the making but it's just the beginning for this Hornets side and they need to quickly move on to the next challenge.

One key issue for the Hornets that some are asking is that of the number nine position. Kyle Williams was decent last week and scored a goal but being just 18 or so, he's not the most experienced option and apart from fellow youngster Kyle Gillis, the Hornets lack a true #9 in their ranks. That said, Williams was good last week and his support was even better. Isaac Peek was instrumental in last week's victory.

Prediction: The Hornets have picked up a former Lakes 1st Grader (unsure if we can spill the beans just yet) but it's not confirmed yet if he'll feature. Newysports had to put in tips for 1st Grade early for yesterday's Northern League One Weekly video. The original tip was 2-1 Southy and thus it has to stay the same but not feeling a lot of confidence after last night's display. Cessnock could potentially stun them.

My Tip: South Cardiff 2-1 Cessnock City

Additional Tip: Nathan McAllister and Klaudon Ahmataj to again combine for Southy's goals.

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Under 19's:
Wallsend FC (10th) v Belmont-Swansea (9th)
Kickoff: 10:45am
2017 Meetings: WAL 2-2 BEL & BEL 8-1 WAL

The underwhelming start to the 2018 season for Wallsend 19's continued last weekend and suddenly they are in need of a victory to get their confidence rolling. They've only scored one goal in their two outings and the player who scored that goal, Angus Bland, was a midweek departure to join the Cessnock City Hornets. The squad will be aiming for an 80-minute performance above all else after they dominated the first half last weekend to no reward.

Belswans are in an almost identical situation with a lot of new players and obviously needing some more time to gel together. Cooks Hill and Toronto's coaches both praised the team's ability to play the ball around the park well but improvement is needed in the final third. So all in all, it's a game between two sides hoping to move their way up the table in the coming weeks.

Prediction: Like a lot of the 19's teams this season, neither of these sides have an out and out goalscorer. And with the underwhelming start for both sides, it's safe to probably expect a fairly tight encounter. With the game being moved to Blacksmiths, that will play into Belswans favour and on form, they look most likely to win this if it's not a draw.

My Tip: Wallsend FC 0-1 Belmont-Swansea

Additional Tip: Rob Stuckey to open his Belswans' account with the match-winning goal.

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Under 23's:
Wallsend FC (2nd) v Belmont-Swansea (9th)
Kickoff: 12:30pm
2017 Meetings: WAL 0-0 BEL & BEL 2-6 WAL

The defending champions Wallsend have got off to a routine start with back-to-back victories propelling them to 2nd place. Eight goals scored and six different goalscorers so no doubt the squad will be pleased with its efforts so far. Competition for spots will keep this team ticking over this season and no doubt everyone will want to impress. A great start defensively and for goalkeeper Dylan Meyrick for two clean sheets in two games.

Things have been a bit tougher for Belswans. A disrupted pre-season had them behind the eight ball but their two games have been tight losses and belief is high that the team can solidify their form sooner rather than later. There's some exciting attackers in the lineup and that's an area where they need to up the ante. Chances haven't been taken in the first two weeks so expect a keen effort in the final third.

Prediction: The 23's competition looks a little lopsided at this stage. There doesn't seem to be many "top teams". Wallsend however are looking the goods so far and will head into this one as the favourites. Dan Rufo and his 23's are still a work in progress and whilst this would be some result over the defending champions, it feels like the Red Devils will get the win here.

My Tip: Wallsend FC 2-0 Belmont-Swansea

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1st Grade:
Wallsend FC (2nd) v Belmont-Swansea (5th)
Kickoff: 2:30pm
2017 Meetings: WAL 0-2 BEL & BEL 9-0 WAL

After the infamous 2016 Grand Final where Wallsend overcame Belswans in a thrilling penalty shootout, revenge was certainly a dish served cold with Belswans winning the corresponding game, also hosted at Blacksmiths 2-0 before handing Wallsend their biggest loss in several years later on the campaign.

That 9-0 humbling will be embedded in the memories of the players who remain and they'll be hoping to restore some sort of order in this fixture. Wallsend's start to the season has been positive with a win and a draw and some decent goals being scored. The attack has been boosted since last year but now it's a true test for the entire team, especially the back-line. It'll be very interesting too to see if the likes of Ty Goldsmith and Matt Williams will be able to overcome some of the league's best defenders.

Belmont-Swansea began the year with a Grand Final rematch against Cooks Hill and a tight 1-0 loss. Attacking questions were asked of the side that are still without a couple of big names and those questions were answered last week as a wonderful second half display saw Belswans beat Toronto 5-1. Two goals to Cam Lodge no doubt brought confidence to the young attacker and he'll look to add to that on the weekend.

As always, there's additional stories to this game. Belswans coach Josh Rufo once again coming up against his old club and of course the former Wallsend players now at Belswans. This year they've added Isaac Reeves and Jason Mcguire. It's normally very interesting when these sides meet and this Easter Sunday fixture should prove no different.

Prediction: A lot of talk about Wallsend's improved attack but suddenly they face their toughest test to date. If they can produce quality against Belswans then sure the hype is indeed real. Belswans were solid last weekend as they put five past Toronto and with that confidence in the final third, you can expect them to head into this one as the favourites. Wallsend's attack may fire but their defence will be under pressure.

My Tip: Wallsend FC 2-3 Belmont-Swansea

Additional Tip: Double goal-tip. Ty Goldsmith and Cam Lodge to both find the back of the net.

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YOUTH GAME OF THE WEEK: Newysports may do a game of the week for the youth each week. Not a promise every weekend but this game deserves a little bit of hype. Cooks Hill's 17's up against New Lambton. Bruce O'Donnell's lineup is quiet impressive and the Eagles will kick off their campaign after a dominant year in the 15's last season.

The Cookers have already shown what they can do with last week's 7-1 win plus the likes of James Poslon and Nicholas Crook featuring for the 19's. It'll be a tough first match for the Eagles but coach Nic Pepper looks to be quiet excited for the new season and the new challenges ahead for his impressive side.


Tuesday, 27 March 2018

New-FM NL1 Stats (Round 2 2018)

Results:




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Standings:

Under 14's:




Under 15's:




Under 17's:




Under 19's:




Under 23's:




1st Grade:



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Top Goalscorers:

Under 14's:





Under 15's:





Under 17's:




Under 19's:




Under 23's:





1st Grade:




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Clean Sheets:






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Newysports Tips:
Tip Counter: 17/26 (65.4%)
Correct Score: 4/26 (15.4%)




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Next Week: