HIT106.9 Northern League One Round Six Review: Southy get grand final revenge over Westy, while BelSwans win battle against Toronto Awaba

Match of the Round
South Cardiff FC 4-2 West Wallsend SFC

South Cardiff got their revenge at Ulinga Oval on Saturday night when they stunned defending champions West Wallsend with a 4-2 victory in the grand final rematch.

The Gunners went into the match off the back of a two-game losing streak but they bounced back as Justin Banek opened the scoring 14 seconds into the contest. He tapped home a loose ball from close range after West Wallsend’s goalkeeper Isaac Watts spilled an Angus Read cross from the right.

The hosts doubled their advantage in the third minute when central midfielder Lachlan Wright found the top-left corner from outside the 18-yard box with a sensational first-time strike that made the score 2-0.

It became 3-0 in the 23rd minute when Brendon King charged in behind the defence onto a perfect diagonal pass from Wright and found the back of the net with his one-on-one strike.

But just when it looked like the Gunners were cruising towards a big win, West Wallsend hit back in the 34th minute as Jake Bower found the back of the net to reduce the visitors’ deficit to two.

South Cardiff entered the half-time break with a 3-1 lead before they struck again in the 78th minute when Tom Walker became the fourth Gunner to get on the scoresheet with a tidy finish after beating two defenders just outside the box.

Westy managed a late consolation goal in stoppage time when Spencer Clarke found the back of the net, but Southy had already wrapped up the three points by that stage and the hosts won the match 4-2.

The victory was the Gunners’ second in five games this year and coach Perry Mellon was thrilled with the way his men bounced back from back-to-back losses in rounds four and five.

“I’m really pleased with the result. It was a result we needed,” Mellon said.

“The performance overall was pretty similar to the Toronto game (a 1-0 loss away from home on Wednesday night). Our levels were good and we were quite aggressive and organised. The difference is we were quite clinical, really, which we weren’t on Wednesday night.

“A fast start helped that. I knew before the game that with both teams backing up, no one would want to be chasing the game, and we were 3-0 up after 20-25 minutes, which we haven’t done all year to be honest. That was really good.”

Mellon was also impressed that four different goal-scorers got on the scoresheet, which flowed on from their 2023 campaign, during which the Gunners did not have a breakaway leading goal-scorer but were potent right across the field on their way to a grand final appearance.

West Wallsend’s coach Bailey Cox thought his side’s performance and the game itself were similar to their loss at home against Kahibah during the week.

“We got it back to 3-1 and we regrouped at half-time. When we came out, I reckon we would have missed five clear one-on-one chances,” Cox said.

“We should have easily got it back to 3-all. Then they went down the other end with 10 minutes to go and scored with their one shot in the second half. It summed up our day.

“Other than the first 20 minutes, we dominated the game in my eyes. They still had a couple of chances, but other than that first 20 minutes, we had all the possession. We were down 3-0 and still should have won the game.

“Both games this week have been the same for us. Just can’t score and the momentum changes from the other team’s goals.”

South Cardiff’s victory saw them climb off the bottom of the table and into sixth spot. They joined fifth-placed West Wallsend on six points and the two 2023 grand finalists are now just one point outside the top four.

West Wallsend will be back in action this Thursday night when they kick off round seven at home as they host Toronto Awaba under lights at Johnston Park, and South Cardiff will travel to Turner Park on Saturday afternoon where they will meet Cessnock City Hornets.

Cessnock City Hornets FC v Kahibah FC

The match was postponed.

Wallsend FC 1-4 Thornton Redbacks FC

Thornton Redbacks bounced back from their first loss of the campaign in style with a dominant 4-1 win away from home against Wallsend at The Gardens on Sunday afternoon.

After going down by the same scoreline away from home against Belmont Swansea United at Blacksmiths Oval on Wednesday night, the Redbacks were determined to hit back on Sunday and reclaim the second spot on the table.

They struck early when striker Mamadou Diop scored his first goal for the club in his second start with a fourth-minute strike.

Thornton took that 1-0 lead into half-time and doubled their advantage when the in-form Jack Wetney netted his fourth goal of the campaign in the 65th minute to make the score 2-0.

Wallsend set up a grandstand finish when Matt Williams got the hosts on the scoresheet with about 15 minutes to go, but the Redbacks put the game to bed with two late goals to Albert Whitney as they ran away with a 4-1 win.

Thornton co-coach Gary Wand said that he was pleased with the manner in which his side was playing and scoring their goals.

“We did okay and it was a pretty even game,” Wand said.

“It was a good, solid team effort to rebound off our first loss. The guys up front capitalised on good work that was done by the whole team. Our goals were good team goals that came on the back of some good pressing. We just make it hard for teams.

“Our defenders did really well and eliminated their mistakes.

“We didn’t underestimate Wallsend one bit. We knew they’d had some good results and it’s a hard place to play there. We got stuck in and we had to match them because they play with intensity. They are up for a battle all the time.”

The win saw Thornton climb back into second spot after spending a few days in third place following their mid-week loss. They are now on 11 points, one ahead of Toronto Awaba (10) and seven back from league leaders Belmont Swansea United (18).

The Redbacks have the bye in round seven over the Easter long weekend and will return in round eight on April 6 when they host Kahibah.

Wallsend’s loss saw them finish the weekend in eighth place on three points. They trail Kahibah but lead Cessnock both on goal difference and they are just four points outside the top four. It does not get any easier for the Red Devils this week as they prepare to take on table leaders Belmont Swansea United at Blacksmiths Oval on Good Friday.

Toronto Awaba FC 0-6 Belmont Swansea United FC

Belmont Swansea United registered a statement victory at Lyall Peacock Field on Sunday night when they defeated the defending premiers Toronto Awaba 6-0 to move seven points clear at the top of the table.

Playing in their second top-of-the-table clash in five days, BelSwans looked to have finally met their match against the Stags as the scoreboard still read 0-0 on the half-hour mark.

The two sides had their chances during the opening 30 minutes but neither were able to find the back of the net.

The visitors had two penalty shouts turned away but there was no denying their third in the 31st minute when Ethan Hall was brought down inside the penalty area.

Reece Newton stepped up to the spot and slotted the ball into the bottom-left corner, sending Stags goalkeeper Drew Olsen the wrong way.

BelSwans then made the score 2-0 in the 38th minute when Adam Woodbine found the back of the net with a diving header after Cameron Lodge floated a ball into the box with a cross from the left.

The away side took the two-goal advantage into the half-time break and it did not take them long to find their third goal of the game in the second stanza.

It came in the 52nd minute via another spot-kick after Olsen fouled Matt Hall in the box and Newton blasted the ball into the bottom-right corner.

The competition’s leading goal-scorer Kane Woolston made the score 4-0 three minutes later with a powerful left-footed strike into the top-left corner from just outside the box.

Toronto’s night went from bad to worse on the hour mark when Noah Fittler was sent off for an off-the-ball incident at a set piece.

BelSwans rubbed salt into the wounds six minutes later when Ethan Hall scored a tap-in at the back stick following a corner kick to make the score 5-0.

Woolston then netted his 10th of the season with three minutes to go to make the final score 6-0.

While BelSwans fans were ecstatic with their team’s ability to entertain and find the back of the net with ease, coach Mick Stafford was most proud of the way they defended on the night which gave them a platform to go forward at will.

“I’m pretty pleased with the performance, mostly with the clean sheet and the defensive effort against a pretty deadly Toronto attack,” Stafford said.

“I’m proud of the resolve we showed and the intensity we played with. Every time we went forward, we had purpose, and we scored some good goals too.

“I think Toronto started well and the boys were a bit stand-offish, but once they got into the game and we stuck to our game plan, then we sort of rolled over them.

“At half-time we said we wanted to go on with it, and what was pleasing is that we did go on with it.”

BelSwans have won all six of their games this year to sit on top of the table with 18 points, seven clear of the second-placed Thornton Redbacks (11). They will go in search of win number seven in a Good Friday clash on home soil against Wallsend at Blacksmiths Oval this week.

Toronto Awaba’s loss was their first of the season and it saw them finish the weekend in third place with 10 points. They will have a chance to hit back this Thursday when they kick off round seven away from home against West Wallsend at Johnston Park.

Singleton Strikers FC had the bye.