Northern League One – Round 6 Singleton vs Toronto Awaba

First grade notched up a much-needed win on Easter Saturday when the Strikers hosted heavyweights Toronto Awaba. The U17’s kicked off the club’s first home games of the season and the encounter started out as a fairly even affair. Singleton were playing perhaps their best football of 2017, and although Toronto Awaba probably had the better of the statistics, Singleton were not without their chances.

At the half hour mark, the visitors pressure finally told and they took a one goal lead. Goalkeeper Brae Wissink did well to save the first effort on goal, but his parried save fell invitingly to the Toronto attacker who made no mistake from close range. The second half started promisingly for the Strikers but they couldn’t maintain the pressure and a second goal to Toronto had the U17’s hanging their heads. The visitors then added a late third goal to seal a comfortable win.

Singleton’s in form U19’s were hot favourites going into the match, but paid the price for profligacy in front of goal when they lost 2-3. Custodian Brad Fairclough continued his good form with two quality saves early to keep the slate clean, before Callan Stubbs continued his rich vein of goal scoring form as he slid his shot under the advancing goalkeeper.

The score remained 1 nil until the break, and Singleton spurned 2 early gilt edged chances to double their advantage when Stubbs and Dylan Bentley both went close to scoring. Toronto Awaba made them pay when a floated free kick snuck over Fairclough’s head, and into the net. Singleton hit back straightway when Will Holz was on the end of a sweeping move and lashed his volley into the roof of the net. But while the lads were still celebrating, Toronto scored an equaliser. And as is so often the case, a late strike from long range gave the visitors the lead in the dying minutes. 

Once again, an understrength U23’s relied on younger players to back up. Whilst this has proven to be a winning formula in previous weeks, it probably cost the Reserves on Saturday as they appeared just a little flat and could only muster a 0-0 draw.

The first grade team started well enough when Brad Millar smashed a shot into the Toronto keeper who made the save but knew nothing about it.

But it was the visitors who drew first blood after 13 minutes when Singleton coughed up a scrambled goal.

Singleton responded in kind when Jackson Skinner strode majestically forward from defence and slid a perfect pass through to Joe Civello who made no mistake.

Unfortunately, Skinner soon went from hero to zero when he could only steer a defensive header into his own net to gift Toronto the lead.

But once again, Singleton returned serve when Civello found himself on the end of a Millar free kick and steered his header home. By this time, Joe Civello was proving unstoppable, and he added his (and Singleton’s) third goal with another well taken header. This was the last action of a first half that offered everything. The second half was a more settled affair, and Singleton’s Tristan Muir gave the Strikers the 2 goal cushion they craved when he headed home from close range after a goal mouth scramble. It was a much needed win for the Strikers who were playing their third tough game in six days. Next week will see the Strikers travel to West Wallsend on Saturday with the U17’s kicking off at 9.15am and the main game at 2.30pm.