HIT106.9 Northern League One Round Seven Review: The Stags and Westy finish all square, while BelSwans make it seven from seven

Match of the Round
West Wallsend SFC 2-2 Toronto Awaba FC

West Wallsend SFC and Toronto Awaba FC were forced to share the points following a thrilling finish at Johnston Park on Thursday night.

The game finished 2-2 after three goals were scored in the final 10 minutes of the contest.

The two sides looked set to go into half-time locked at 0-0 before the game came to life when Toronto Awaba striker Nick Roberts hit the back of the net in the 43rd minute to put the visitors ahead.

Westy had the chance to equalise two minutes later after Reece Green fouled Spencer Clarke in the 18-yard box and was sent off for denying an obvious goal-scoring opportunity. But James Lowe missed the penalty and the Stags entered the half-time break ahead 1-0.                                                                     

The visitors were forced to play the entire second half with 10 men following Green’s dismissal and also lost two key players due to injury.

The Stags lost their captain Zane Winslade early in the second stanza after he suffered a fractured foot in the 53rd minute before niggling injuries forced Roberts from the field 20 minutes later.

West Wallsend welcomed Jake Millsteed back from injury and made an instant impact as he equalised in the 83rd minute, two minutes after coming on as a substitute. Millsteed got in behind the Toronto Awaba defence and finished from a tight angle.

Five minutes later, Lowe made amends for his penalty miss when he scored a screamer from outside the penalty area to put West Wallsend ahead for the first time in the game.

But just when West Wallsend thought they would claim all three points in front of a home crowd, the Stags struck again as Damon Green found the top right corner with a curling free kick from close to the left sideline to make the score 2-2.

The Bluebells were reduced to 10 men just before full-time when Kaleb Cox was dismissed for match official abuse before the final whistle sounded as the two sides finished all square.

West Wallsend’s coach Bailey Cox thought that the performance was his side’s best so far this season especially considering they were without five first grade regulars through injury and sickness.

“It was probably our better performance of the year, I’d say, especially in terms of putting together a full 90 minutes,” Cox said.

“I was pretty happy with the effort from everyone. We worked a lot harder in defence and we just battled. No one threw the towel in and we made nowhere near as many mistakes.

“The game was a pretty good one. They had a couple of chances and we had a couple of chances.”

Toronto Awaba’s coach Jarrad Hiles was proud of the resilience his side showed on the night despite losing two key players to injury and playing a full half one man down.

“It was a pretty good game. It was a good night for it and the pitch was in good shape too,” Hiles said.

“There was some good footy played from both teams and 2-all was probably a fair result.

“I thought we would hang on, and then at 2-1 down I was thinking ‘oh the boys don’t deserve this’, so it was good to get something out of it.

“In the first half we played quite well and so did Westy. I was happy to go 1-0 up at the break. We had a bit of luck I guess you could say because they missed a penalty.

“Then we hung on and did quite well in the second half with 10 men.

“I thought Westy created more chances in the first half when it was 11 v 11. Then two late quick-fire goals and we were behind, but we showed good spirit to get something out of the game at the end. It was pleasing that the boys didn’t give up and they kept battling away.

“I thought we were really comfortable and we were going to hang on, but in the last eight minutes, the game came alive.”

The draw saw West Wallsend fall to sixth on the table by the end of the long weekend after being overtaken by South Cardiff.

The Bluebells will be back in action at home this Saturday when they welcome undefeated league leaders Belmont Swansea United to Johnston Park.

Toronto Awaba is still third on the table after Thursday night’s and are away again this Saturday afternoon when they travel to challenge Cessnock City Hornets at Turner Park.

Belmont Swansea United FC 6-1 Wallsend FC

Belmont Swansea United continues to steamroll their way through the competition on Good Friday when they dominated from start to finish on home soil at Blacksmiths Oval to defeat Wallsend 6-1.

The hosts went ahead in the fourth minute when the competition’s leading goal-scorer Kane Woolston netted his 11th of the campaign to continue his streak of scoring in every match this season.

Wallsend hit back and made the score 1-1 in the 10th minute when Bailey Ryan scored in his first start in first grade this season.

But Adam Woodbine restored Belmont Swansea’s lead in the 22nd minute and the hosts took their 2-1 lead into the half-time break.

It only took BelSwans two minutes of second half action to extend their lead as Adam Blunden headed home in the 47th minute to make the score 3-1.

Matt Hall netted on the hour-mark to make the score 4-1 and then second half substitute Daniel Steel scored his first goal in the top grade this season in what was just his second appearance to increase BelSwans' lead in the 79th minute.

Ian Matthews put the icing on the cake late in the contest with an 83rd-minute strike that made the final score 6-1.

BelSwans coach Mick Stafford was pleased to secure another three points.

“I think the whole club and community is getting behind everything that we want to do as a club,” Stafford said.

“There was a massive crowd there and great support. I think we’re the most well-supported club in the league at the moment. It’s a really good place to play and it really spurs the boys on.

“Sancho was very popular. All the kids loved him. It was quite good actually.

“It was good to come away with the result after a busy schedule, and again to score six goals was quite pleasing.

“We scored early and I think we got a bit complacent. To Wallsend’s credit, they had a crack and jumped on one of our mistakes and got a good goal. But at half-time we talked about not being complacent and what we want to get out of games and straight away in the second half we banged a few more in and it set the tone for the rest of the match.”

BelSwans extend their lead at the top of the table to 10 points after scoring their seventh win of the campaign. They have accumulated a maximum 21 points so far, with Thornton and Toronto Awaba their nearest rivals on 11 points. Next up for Stafford’s men is a trip out to Johnston Park on Saturday afternoon for an away game against West Wallsend.

The Red Devils dropped to the bottom of the table following Friday’s loss as they sit on three points following one win from seven attempts. They have the bye in round eight this weekend.

Cessnock City Hornets FC 1-2 South Cardiff FC

South Cardiff secures back-to-back wins for the first time this season when they scored a 2-1 victory away from home against Cessnock City Hornets on Saturday afternoon.

The Gunners scored first at Turner Park when centre-back Harrison Lambley headed home at the back stick off a corner to make the score 1-0 in the seventh minute.

Cessnock hit back in the 32nd minute when their leading goal-scorer Zac Kronholm netted his third of the campaign, which was from the penalty spot after South Cardiff were penalised for a handball.

The two sides were still locked at 1-1 when the half-time whistle sounded.

The Gunners edged ahead again in the 64th minute with a strike from Elijah Nyman after the central midfielder won possession of the ball and beat two players before slotting a one-on-one strike into the back of the net to earn the Gunners a 2-1 victory and all three points.

South Cardiff’s coach Perry Mellon praised his men for getting the job done on the day but he thought that Cessnock deserved a point.

“We’re happy to come away with the win. It’s a couple on the trot now too, which is good. We’re building a bit of momentum,” Mellon said.

“It was a bit of a scrap though, to be honest. A draw probably would have been a fair result.

“We dominated the first half-hour I reckon and they got a penalty around that time to make it 1-all. It was a bit of a grind for the next half-hour and we scored with about 25 to go. We had a couple of chances late to make it three of four, which we didn’t convert.”

Cessnock’s coach Brad Miles thought that his team’s performance was a solid 90-minute one but they lacked the hunger and desire to win a game that was there for the taking, something he wants them to improve on going forward.

South Cardiff rose from sixth place to fourth after securing their third victory of the campaign on Saturday. The Gunners will challenge Singleton Strikers this Saturday at Howe Park.

Cessnock entered round seven at the bottom of the table and despite losing they rose to eighth as they overtook Wallsend on goal difference. The Hornets are at home again this Saturday when they welcome Toronto Awaba to Turner Park in round eight.

Kahibah FC 4-0 Singleton Strikers FC

Kahibah marked a long-awaited return to their home ground with their biggest win of the season after they outscored Singleton Strikers 4-0 on Monday.

The hosts made it back-to-back wins in the competition with what their coach Mat Moncrieff described as their most complete performance of the campaign.

Kahibah almost went behind in the fourth minute but a brilliant save made by goalkeeper Jacob Zissis kept the score locked at 0-0.

The hosts created several chances of their own inside the first 20 minutes and could not find the back of the net until Daniel Byrne opened the scoring in the 22nd minute.

Bryne made a brilliantly-timed run between two defenders and charged onto a pin-point Riley Ferguson pass before slotting his one-on-one strike into the bottom right corner.

Ferguson doubled Kahibah’s lead in the 42nd minute when he tucked away a curling finish from just outside the 18-yard box, and the hosts entered half-time with that 2-0 lead.

It took Kahibah five minutes to score in the second stanza as Jaidyn Kianu beat the offside trap as he stormed onto an Isaac True pass in behind the defence down the left edge to make the score 3-0 with a second-chance effort after his initial attempt was saved.

The Strikers were reduced to 10 men in stoppage time when Shawn Honeysett was sent off for denying an obvious goal-scoring opportunity just outside the 18-yard box, and the visitors’ day went from bad to worse when Byrne smashed home the resulting free-kick into the back of the net with the last kick of the game to make the final score 4-0.

The home side’s coach said that his side was beginning to trend in the right direction following their second win on the trot and their first clean sheet of the campaign.

“To be honest, we’ve played better in patches here and there this season but it was the best overall performance so far,” Moncrieff said.

“We did get Singleton on a soft day with the amount of players they had out though.

“A clean sheet was what we ask for and it’s really good to get one.”

Kahibah remain seventh on the table after their victory but they are now one win outside the top four. They will go searching for their third win on the trot in round eight this Saturday when they travel to Maitland Number 1 Sportsground to tackle Thornton Redbacks.

Singleton dropped from fourth to fifth and will hope to turn things around when they challenge South Cardiff at Howe Park.

Thornton Redbacks FC had the bye.