MATCH REPORT – 3rd  July 2016

NEWFM First Division ROUND 17 vs West Wallsend

The Singleton Strikers returned to the winners circle last Saturday against the former State League heavyweights West Wallsend.

A slick West Wallsend took no time getting started in the Under 17’s. A quick-thinking free-kick taken quickly found the head of the Westy attacker who made no mistake, sending it over a diving Brad Fairclough. 1-0 after 3 minutes.

The lead doubled in the 7th minute after some neat individual work lead to a goal. To say West Wallsend were on the front foot would be an understatement. They’re were dominating the Betts Bower Haulage U17’s.

In the 14th minute, West Wallsend was awarded a penalty but it was saved well by a full-stretch Brad Fairclough.

Westy would soon have a 3-goal lead, despite a valiant attempt from Fairclough in goals.
Fairclough was kept busy and pulled off a couple of top saves to keep his side within touching distance.

The visitors capped off a near-perfect first half with a late goal to make it 4-0 on the cusp of half-time.

The second-half saw fewer highlights as West Wallsend ground Singleton out of the match. A late goal to the visitors brought up the final 0-5 result.

West Wallsend’s U19’s began where their 17’s left off earlier, in control of the match. The visitors came out firing against an out of sorts Singleton outfit. The Viatek U19 Strikers took their time getting into the match.

A glaring error at the back gifted West Wallsend the lead after 8 minutes.

Singleton’s style left a lot to be desired as turnovers and long balls to no-one became a familiar sight. Their goalkeeper Jeremy Wilde was under fire at times and was harshly fouled in a challenge that rightly resulted in a yellow card.

Nick Hough was by far Singleton’s key man during the first half. His calmness in dangerous situations at the back was quite something and he moved around well, often making up for errors from his teammates.

Singleton coach Todd Geddes would have been severely disappointed with a sloppy first-half effort and he made some changes at half-time. Luke Geipel and Tyler Felsch were off and Jesse Mackaway and Sam Barry were on. Barry especially showed something off the bench.

The changes and an improved performance led to Singleton finding a way back into the contest. West Wallsend were punished for not killing the game off with the chances they had and a goal to Tully Winsor would put Singleton back into the contest.

Singleton looked the better side as soon as they put that 65th minute goal away and five minutes later they had a deserved lead. Boom youngster Nathan Hall was again the hero for Singleton as he pounced on a rebound and tapped it in for a 2-1 lead.

Singleton’s win that keeps the U19’s finals hopes alive.

It was a slow back and forth start to the Under 23’s but it wasn’t going as expected. Strong favourites Singleton were showing some sloppiness that gave lowly West Wallsend confidence.

More sloppiness from Singleton led directly to the opening goal as West Wallsend pounced and took lead after 24 minutes. Singleton were looking poor as they realized they were in a slightly unexpected dog-fight with the lower-ranked side.

West Wallsend completed a quality opening half-hour with a brilliantly-taken free-kick giving them a 2 goal cushion. Singleton would get a crucial goal back just before half-time to Nic Hough who showed his versatility by playing down the flanks in this match after coming on early for Tate Edwards.

The second half saw a lot of frustration from both sides. Singleton’s come back became much tougher as West Wallsend scored in the 61st minute.

A penalty conceded by West Wallsend allowed Rob Field to convert and make it 2-3 for Singleton and set up a grand stand finish, but time ran out.

It didn’t take long for West Wallsend to take a lead in the First Grade game at Howe Park.

The Onekey Resources Singleton team failed to clear a corner kick, and in the resulting scramble a West Wallsend header found its way over the line.

But Singleton would soon get an equaliser. Klaudon Ahmataj picked up the goal to make it 1-1. Dan Palozzi picked the pocket of Westy’s defender and got a through ball to Ahmataj who would make no mistake.

All in all it was a fairly even first half.

The decisive goal of the game would come in the 58th minute. A threatening ball in from Sam Ford had the West Wallsend defense at 6’s and 7’s and an own goal resulted from the ensuing confusion.

West Wallsend was reduced to 10 men after a red card was issued for dissent, but with the Onekey Resources first grade playing their 5th game in 15 days, the fatigue factor was apparent and Singleton could not take advantage of the numerical superiority.

Kieron Burrell was classy for Singleton at times but none more classy than his 68th minute back-heel style through-ball…… one of the more memorable passes of this season.

Westy had one or two looks at goal but they’d go down to a Singleton side that was delighted to hang on for the 2-1 victory.

The Royal Hotel Singleton Strikers have the bye next weekend, and it couldn’t have come at a better time as they recharge their batteries for the run home.