Thursday, 17 May 2018

PREVIEW: New-FM Round 10 2018



Under 19's Match of the Round:
West Wallsend (4th) v Toronto-Awaba (2nd)
Kickoff: 10:45am
2017 Meetings: WWB 5-2 TAW & TAW 1-4 WWB

Tipped to be serious title contenders in 2018, West Wallsend 19's have sorely lacked the results needed to keep pace with Kahibah at the top of the table. Despite having 17 goals, they have clearly been missing the clinical touch in the attacking department. Caleb Morley-Davies has five goals (three game in one game) but they don't have a clear striker. Enter Cameron Wamsley who Newysports tipped to be the answer to their problems. He played and scored last week but it was still not the result (1-1 draw) they wanted.

Toronto on the other hand sit in 2nd position and enjoyed the bye last round. It's been complete and utter madness in the senior ranks over the last few weeks with player departures, coaching changes and a tidal wave of goals raining down on the Stags goal but the 19's have won three on the bounce and three clean sheets to boot! 63 goals conceded between 1st and 23's in 16 games whilst the 19's have conceded 8 in 8. Clearly the shining light of the club at the moment.

Prediction: This game could potentially be the one that breaks West Wallsend's Premiership hopes. 11 points behind Kahibah, if it becomes 13 or 14 it may be too much to claw back. On the flip side, Toronto want to stay five points behind or potentially even close the gap at the top. Interesting top four match up but to simply put it, at home, Westy need to produce the goods.

My Tip: West Wallsend 3-1 Toronto-Awaba

Additional Tip: Cameron Wamsley to score two vital goals.

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Under 23's:
West Wallsend (5th) v Toronto-Awaba (10th)
Kickoff: 12:30pm
2017 Meetings: WWB 2-1 TAW & TAW 1-2 WWB

With such an even competition, West Wallsend 23's sit firmly on the edge of the top four despite only picking up one point from the last six on offer. There's a few new faces in the squad this season but some familiar names in Josh Knight, Bronson Marshall, Jarryd Jones and co. have been powering the side along. With a late loss to Wallsend and a scoreless draw against Cooks Hill, the side will certainly be aiming for all three points on Saturday.

Toronto's bye round may have given them time to work on some of the issues plaguing the 23's side, mostly defensive issues. Fortunately for the 23's, the club's free-falling 1st Grade side has taken some of the negative spotlight away but for last year's wooden spooners, the Stags are in dire need of a positive result. Considering Westy beat Cessnock 6-0 and Cessnock beat Toronto 5-0, most will expect a walkover which may play into Toronto's favour as the heavy underdogs.

Prediction: The stats don't lie. It's been a torrid few weeks for Toronto in the 23's. After starting the season well they've slid down to 10th position and unfortunately it's another tough challenge this weekend. West Wallsend sit in 5th but will look to move back into the top four with a win. The Bluebells will want a few goals too.

My Tip: West Wallsend 4-0 Toronto-Awaba

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1st Grade:
West Wallsend (4th) v Toronto-Awaba (11th)
Kickoff: 2:30pm
2017 Meetings: WWB 4-1 TAW & TAW 4-1 WWB

No-one expected West Wallsend to win every game for the remainder of the year so it was always going to be a case where they'd have to bounce back from a loss. Their first loss in over a month saw them go down 3-0 to ladder leaders Cooks Hill and perhaps showed where West Wallsend stand. They're doing well but there is room for improvement to try and become a top contender.

No doubt the loss didn't please anyone at the club but Gary Rowe will have his side head into this weekend with calm being the key factor. A win could take them to equal 2nd but a loss could see them slip potentially as far as 7th so no doubt it's a key game. The Bluebells have been good against sides sitting below them as of late but certainly they need to be at their best to win this.

Toronto come into this weekend after a period of madness over the last fortnight. Rumours are up to four players have left the club (two of them confirmed) but the bigger news was the departure of Adam Routledge as Head Coach and the sudden announcement that Blake Glennie would immediately take the role and return to the top gig for the first time since his ill-fated tenure at Cooks Hill.

Anyone expecting overnight success is maybe jumping the gun. Glennie will look to steady the ship but this isn't a quick fix. It could take the remainder of this season and the off-season to get Toronto-Awaba back on track. The Stags have been horrendous as of late with a whopping 19 goals conceded in the past three games. Beware a wounded animal and perhaps that is the case with the desperate Stags.

Prediction: Certainly it'll be interesting to see what the Stags offer with the new man in charge and indeed West Wallsend is a former club of Blake Glennie. Realistically it's hard to see Westy coughing this one up. They sit in a teetering position in 4th place and a win would certainly boost their hopes heading into the halfway point of the season. But will it be a big win or not?

My Tip: West Wallsend 4-1 Toronto-Awaba

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Under 19's:
Cooks Hill United (3rd) v Wallsend FC (9th)
Kickoff: 10:45am
2017 Meetings: WAL 1-8 CHU & CHU 0-1 WAL

With two draws from their last two home matches, Cooks Hill 19's will be looking to return to winning ways or risk falling even further off the pace of ladder leaders Kahibah. The gap is currently seven points. At times the defending Premiers have shown what they are capable of but at other times they've let the foot off the gas a little. The lineup they put out last week was about the strongest they have so definitely a bit more performance quality is needed.

Wallsend seemingly turned a corner with a dramatic Derby Day win at Westy but last week they stumbled to a 2-2 draw with the winless Thornton Redbacks. As they sit in 9th position they simply need to start patching together wins and climbing the table to achieve their goals this campaign. Belief goes a long way in this grade and the Reds showed a lot of it on their last visit to the AthField. Not many players remain from that 1-0 win but it's motivation for them.

Prediction: Wallsend's ability to get under the skin of Westy helped them and Cooks Hill are a side that are easy targets for that sort of mental game. Think there may be a bit of that going on here but as for a result, if Cooks Hill are to keep touch with Kahibah at the top they simply need to start turning these draws into wins.

My Tip: Cooks Hill United 3-1 Wallsend FC

Additional Tip: Obscure tip...Chad McCarter to score a header for CHU off a corner.

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Under 23's:
Cooks Hill United (3rd) v Wallsend FC (6th)
Kickoff: 12:30pm
2017 Meetings: WAL 3-2 CHU & CHU 0-3 WAL

After winning 17 from 20 games and indeed the Premiership by six points, Cooks Hill 23's have dropped off so far this season. Just four wins from eight games which compared to the rest of the inconsistent 23's competition isn't too bad but sees them trail ladder leaders Thornton by nine points. They lost just three times last season and twice to Wallsend so no doubt this is a key game. Consistency is needed.

It's hard to get a read on just how good Wallsend are. They smashed Kahibah but then were very fortunate to get over arch rivals West Wallsend with a late goal. Their battle with runaway leaders Thornton ended in a 2-0 loss and it sees them sitting in 6th position. No doubt a win will ease some concerns and as already mentioned, the 23's comp is fairly even. Not much else to say about it really.

Prediction: The two games last season were quiet dramatic. Especially when Wallsend came to the AthField and handed a near-perfect Cooks Hill side a 3-0 home loss. Of course the Cookers would stumble in the playoffs and Wallsend would go on to win the Grand Final. On paper this could go either way but with home advantage it might just fall to Cooks Hill.

My Tip: Cooks Hill United 2-1 Wallsend FC

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1st Grade Match of the Round:
Cooks Hill United (1st) v Wallsend FC (5th)
Kickoff: 2:30pm
2017 Meetings: WAL 1-3 CHU & CHU 1-1 WAL

This weekend's Match of the Round is once again at the AthField and it's another chance to see if "the real Cooks Hill" are back or not. Last week's 3-0 win over the then in form side of the competition West Wallsend was a much more convincing display then in recent times and did mark the return of Graham Law from overseas. The coach called for a more complete display and certainly got what he asked for.

One notable fact at the Cookers as of late is the rise of Vito Cosentino into the 1st Grade squad. He has certainly caught the eye recently. Two other solid additions to the squad this season have been Jarryd Johnson and Jack Wilkinson. Both scored goals last week as well as cult hero Tom Liolio. You could argue that the Cookers' attackers need to up their game but things are looking much livelier now for the Champions.

As for Wallsend, the wheels have fallen off in the past fortnight. They headed into Derby Day unbeaten but West Wallsend cruised home to a 2-0 win and then disaster struck last weekend as the Red Devils were hammered 6-1 on their home turf by Thornton. Their goal last week came from the penalty spot meaning they are without an open play goal in New-FM matches for 230 minutes or so.

The Reds have proven that they are a serious side this year when leading games but they have clearly struggled when trailing in matches as of late. Frustrations seem to do them no help and they need to control that and get back on track in attack but clearly after last week they also have some defensive tweaks to make. Westy were hammered 6-1 in Round 2 by Thornton and it woke them right up so hopefully for Wallsend they can produce a similar return.

Prediction: The ladder is very tight but for Wallsend this is a game that could potentially shape their season. With back-to-back losses, the pressure is on to turn that around. The injury curse hit some of their big names last week so it's crucial to have everyone on board. The Reds are certainly a more worthy contender this season but this may be beyond them on current form. Cooks Hill to go seven from seven at home this year.

My Tip: Cooks Hill United 3-0 Wallsend FC

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Under 19's:
New Lambton FC (6th) v Thornton Redbacks (10th)
Kickoff: 10:45am
2017 Meetings: NLE 2-4 THO & THO 1-2 NLE

Well sitting at 4 wins and 4 losses, the pressure is firmly on New Lambton 19's now. Are they capable of carrying on as serious finals contenders or will they begin to slide. Yes they beat Singleton but they lost to top three sides Kahibah, Toronto and Cooks Hill. 4th position is certainly up for grabs but it's games like this that the Eagles simply have to win if they are to play finals. The departure of star goalkeeper Blake McDonnell certainly makes life difficult.

Thornton on the other hand enter Round 9 without a win in the 2018 season and remain the only winless team in the senior competition. With 4 draws they've certainly shown they are more competitive than 10th place suggests but football is a results-driven game and constant draws amongst some losses won't get you very far. However they do it, they simply need to find a way to win games.

Prediction: This is a difficult one to call. Thornton have shown decent signs and New Lambton were fairly average in their last outing. The Eagles were too predictable and their preferred down the flank play might not work well against one of the comp's underrated fullbacks in Vincent Plater. Both sides have lacklustre attacks this season so it's got draw written all over it.

My Tip: New Lambton 1-1 Thornton Redbacks

Additional Tip: Frustrations all round. Neither side happy with this game.

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Under 23's Match of the Round:
New Lambton FC (2nd) v Thornton Redbacks (1st)
Kickoff: 12:30pm
2017 Meetings: NLE 2-3 THO & THO 1-1 NLE

Things were ticking along nicely for Paul McGuinness and New Lambton 23's but last weekend they certainly hit their biggest bump in the road yet. An unexpected 4-1 loss to lowly-placed Kahibah was a pretty shocking result and ultimately just about everything that could have gone wrong did for the Eagles as they missed multiple chances of their own to at least make the score respectable. Perhaps a wake-up call but certainly they face the ultimate test this weekend.

Thornton finally returned to peak form last weekend with a well-fought 2-0 win in atrocious conditions at a wind-swept Wallsend. Despite some underwhelming performances as of late, the Redbacks have won all eight games and sit eight points clear at the top of the table. It's hard to see them losing any more than three or four games at best in the remaining 12 fixtures so the Premiership is certainly something they're capable of winning.

Prediction: This is a huge test for New Lambton's resolve. To bounce back after last week's loss with a result against the runaway ladder leaders would be quiet something. Thornton on the other hand are just two games away from beating every single team the competition has to offer. The Eagles have shown a lot to like this season but this might be beyond their level. Thornton to send a message to the league with a solid win.

My Tip: New Lambton 0-3 Thornton Redbacks

Additional Tip:  Stony to score a bomb!

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1st Grade:
New Lambton (10th) v Thornton Redbacks (3rd)
Kickoff: 2:30pm
2017 Meetings: NLE 1-3 THO & THO 1-0 NLE

A lot of eyes were on New Lambton last weekend to see how they'd react to their 8-2 hammering the weekend before. They'd react well and show some much more sturdy defensive fight against Kahibah in a 1-1 draw. Goalkeeper Josh Cox was the key reason the Eagles managed to move off the foot of the table on goal difference as he produced save after save to deny his old club a victory.

But the jury is certainly still out for the Eagles. With their Zone and NewFM Youth on at the same time, their away support was very small at Kahibah Oval and no doubt a lot of the club's followers have jumped ship to keep more of an eye on the club's very successful WPL side in their first season. These players have to turn results around and bring back the feeling of the first half of last year. It's a world of difference.

As for Thornton, things are certainly travelling a lot better. After a poor showing at Singleton and their first loss against Kahibah, they bounced back in a big way with a 6-1 smashing of Wallsend at The Gardens. To score six goals on a day of high winds on a very difficult pitch shows a lot of quality. It's almost unheard of. Most other games last week had one or two goals scored.

On Wednesday night they faced Broadmeadow Magic in the FFA Cup. A big crowd at Thornton Park and a good showing from the Redbacks as they kept one of the biggest clubs in town to just two goals. Certainly fatigue may play a part on Sunday but in reality a lot of the Redbacks have played in the NPL and should be fit enough to show up on Sunday with a professional display. Good times at Thornton but certainly there's no room for error in a tight league.

Prediction: These games both went the way of Thornton last year. Their midweek trip to Alder Park really set them off on a brilliant season and they'll be hoping that ground brings them more success. Kahibah weren't able to overcome the brilliance of Josh Cox but can see Thornton doing so. New Lambton's attack looked a little off last week.

My Tip: New Lambton 1-4 Thornton Redbacks

Additional Tip: Thornton to send a message but Riley Taylor to score...again.

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Under 19's:
Cessnock City (8th) v Singleton Strikers (7th)
Kickoff: 10:45am
2017 Meetings: CES 0-3 SIN & SIN 0-1 CES

Newysports will see bottom-placed Southy for the first time this weekend but so far the worst performance of the year belongs to Cessnock for their display at Blacksmiths last weekend. The majority of the game consistent of defensive clearances, Belswans attacking in numbers, defensive clearances and repeat. Connor Garrington was the striker on the day but saw very little of the ball as the team continual gave away cheap possession.

Singleton obviously aren't on the same level yet as the top teams but they're fast improving and they've proven so far that they can more than punish poor performances. Southy learnt the hard way, Thornton coughed up some mistakes in their loss, the Strikers are more than capable of winning this one and they know it. With the bye next weekend, a win would propel Singo up to mid-table and perhaps a position to challenge for finals later in the piece.

Prediction: This like many games this weekend is a key match with the sides sitting 8th and 7th respectively. Cessnock need to correct the wrongs from last weekend and a similar performance will see them dispatched. Singleton however need to string a second straight win together and head into the bye with confidence. Can only see one of these teams perhaps pushing for finals and it's not the Hornets.

My Tip: Cessnock City 0-2 Singleton Strikers

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Under 23's:
Cessnock City (4th) v Singleton Strikers (11th)
Kickoff: 12:30pm
2017 Meetings: CES 2-5 SIN & SIN 2-1 CES

Both meetings between these sides took place mid-week last year and Newysports was on hand for both. Neither team were in any real contention of finals but still Singleton finished with double the points that Cessnock earned. Now the roles have changed and the Hornets have shown a fair bit to like this season. Their win at Belswans last weekend was hard-fought and boosted them back into the top four. With a log-jam of teams on 12 points and Cessnock on 13, they certainly need another win.

For Singleton the season is a total write-off. This weekend marks the halfway point of their campaign and if there's anything to be pleased with it's the fact they've slowed down the goals raining down on them. After conceding 15 goals in the first fortnight of the season, 100+ looked very likely but they've only conceded 36. But 36 goals in 9 games still averages at a whopping four goals conceded per game. And with only 6 goals scored, it's safe to say they need to keep improving.

Prediction: The simple fact is Cessnock City should be winning this game and fairly routinely if they are to have any business in the playoffs this season. These are the sort of games that really test a side's focus and will. They can ill-afford to be complacent so if anything expect a solid win if they can put their best foot forward.

My Tip: Cessnock City 3-0 Singleton Strikers

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1st Grade:
Cessnock City (7th) v Singleton Strikers (2nd)
Kickoff: 2:30pm
2017 Meetings: CES 1-3 SIN & SIN 4-0 CES

This is no doubt the biggest game of the season so far for Cessnock City. The Hornets have shown major improvement on last year but in recent weeks have stalled a little bit. Last weekend's 1-0 loss to Belswans highlighted what many are cracking onto. The Hornets' attack simply isn't up to that of the top teams and they need to overcome that if they are to make finals this season.

Defence wins football games and that is obviously the key for Brendan Slade's side. Their backline has been brilliant this season and given a lot of confidence to Jed Horder in goals. The midfield works well but when they get to the final third, things seem to stall. A win here would give them so much belief but a loss and a trip to Kahibah next week might leave them sliding a little bit. It's a tight competition and each game is very important.

Singleton play their 10th game this weekend and with the bye next round, this week marks the halfway point of their season. To sit in 2nd place is an amazing achievement so far but no doubt the club and team will want to turn that into a drought-breaking finals appearance. For David Willoughby's side, it's simple. Get through this game with a win and then break to reset and focus on the second half of the year.

Last week's highlight was the lone goal of the game to Nathan Hall. Individual brilliance and a determined run all the way to goal had Willoughby comparing this to Maradona's 86 World Cup Final goal. Hall has been a rising star at Singo for a few years and there's two bright prospects coming through now. 17 year old's Jack Clare and Marcus Morris both sat on the 1st Grade bench last week and whilst not getting onto the park, both are ticking the boxes in the eyes of the Head Coach. 

Prediction: This is an intriguing match-up. Both sides are doing well this year but obviously SIngleton are doing a little bit better than their Hunter Valley rivals. Cessnock's next two games could determine their hopes and they certainly realise it. Singleton to head to Turner Park and produce a solid win to remain within touching distance of Cooks Hill.

My Tip: Cessnock City 0-2 Singleton Strikers

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Under 19's:
South Cardiff (11th) v Kahibah FC (1st)
Kickoff: 10:45am
2017 Meetings: KAH 1-2 SOU & SOU 1-0 KAH

This is a banana peel of a match-up if there's been on for the runaway ladder leaders. Southy were a thorn in the side of Kahibah last season and the Gunners are primed to cause the upset of the year. Their scoring woes came to a temporary pause last weekend as they found the back of the net twice. However they did concede three goals. If they can fix the defensive woes then maybe they may stand a better chance.

Kahibah are just two wins away from beating every singlet side put before them and with Southy and Cessnock standing in their way, there's no reason this team can't finish the first half of the year with the perfect 10/10 record. It's all about complacency again. Last weekend's win over New Lambton was done professionally and saw one or two players really up their performance level. A couple of last year's 17's are really starting to find their feet in this squad.

Prediction: Pre-game messages have apparently been exchanged between Steve Blunt and Jarrod Gorsuch with the two coaches sharing a friendship. On the field, it's the last chance to see the "Gorsuch Effect" in motion. The three ex-Kahibah players at New Lambton couldn't haunt the coach but perhaps it's time for Jake Amodio to pop up and hit his best form for Southy. Kahibah should be winning this but this looks a tricky game.

My Tip: South Cardiff 1-2 Kahibah FC

Additional Tip: Jake Amodio to score but Kahibah to win in the final minute with some garbage rebound tap-in and Jarrod Gorsuch to knee-slide Jurgen Klopp-style on the sideline.

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Under 23's:
South Cardiff (9th) v Kahibah FC (8th)
Kickoff: 12:30pm
2017 Meetings: KAH 1-1 SOU & SOU 2-1 KAH

Nothing sums up the 23's competition more than the fact that Southy sit just two wins outside the four and Kahibah only one win outside the top four. Both teams have struggled at times this season but still there is hope for them. Whether that highlights an "even competition" or a competition full of fairly inconsistent teams is up to the reader but the Gunners certainly did things the hard way at Singleton last week. That 1-0 win was good but they need more.

Kahibah really should have been the first team to take anything from ladder leaders Thornton two weeks ago but had a momentary three minute lapse that cost them two goals. Form 1-0 up to 2-1 down, they answered some harsh criticism with a more than convincing 4-1 victory over 2nd-placed New Lambton. Easily their best performance of the season and perhaps some belief now. They need this win just as bad as Southy do so hopefully it'll be a good match-up.

Prediction: This game could really shape the season for both of these teams. With the halfway point fast-approaching, three points is more valuable now than ever before. Southy did do the job against Singo last weekend but most teams have done this year. Kahibah looked the goods against New Lambton and looked a top four side. They need to show that again.

My Tip: South Cardiff 1-3 Kahibah FC

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1st Grade:
South Cardiff (6th) v Kahibah FC (9th)
Kickoff: 2:30pm
2017 Meetings: KAH 0-1 SOU & SOU 0-0 KAH

Southy rocketed up the league table with wins over Toronto and Cooks Hill but have slumped back to 6th after a draw with Belswans and last week's 1-0 loss to Singleton. Whilst their defence has been a lot better in recent times, their attack has indeed gone a little bit quiet with just a lone goal in the past two outings. That sort of return is never going to get desired results.

There's really not much else to say about Southy at this point so onto their opponents Kahibah who couldn't get over the line against lowly New Lambton last weekend despite a catalogue of chances including a penalty. Eagles' goalkeeper Josh Cox came back to haunt his former side and thus Kahibah remained in 9th. The next two games before the bye could very well determine if Kahibah are a serious chance to continue their brilliant record of making every New-FM finals series since joining the league in 2015.

Prediction: There aren't many games this season that aren't crucial. It's such an even competition and certainly this game could shape the campaign for these two sides. It's probably safe to say the pressure is on Kahibah here as they sit low in 9th position and simply have to kick-start their form in the coming fortnight. For Southy though it is a home game and that may give them a slight edge.

My Tip: South Cardiff 2-1 Kahibah FC

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YOUTH GAME(s) OF THE WEEK: TBC





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