Despite another frustrating draw on Sunday the Strikers first grade side are still within reach of a semi-final spot but can afford few slip ups in the run in to the end of the season.
On a brighter note both Over 35 sides recorded victories, elevating G grade to the top of their table, and a win for the Storm consolidated their third place spot.
The weather at Howe Park over the weekend was horrendous with strong gusty winds, turning cold on Saturday and Sunday making good football difficult.
The first grade battle against Kahibah was one that was of a quality above what could be expected given the conditions. Both sides, with difficulty, tried to play good constructive football. At the break neither side had found the back of the net: one side found the going hard against the wind, the other had the problem of the ball running away from them as gusts played havoc with passing.
Midway through the second half, a leaping Jackson Cox (one of the smaller players on the park) powered home a cross to give the Strikers the lead.
Both sides continued to attack but it was the visitors who broke the Singleton defence (maybe attacking a little too much) to bring the teams back level. From then on it was frenetic as both sides pushed for three points. Singleton probably had the better of this last ten minutes could just not get the ball into the net. Once again Players Player was Jordan Phelan.
The 23s yet again had a disrupted lead in as far as the line-up was concerned but they gave their all in going down 0-3. Players Player saw three names on level terms, one was young keeper Brad Fairclough, stepping up from the 19s, who made several top class saves. The 19s were against the hot competition favourites and were determined to show that were no push over. The visitors took the lead but Jack Clare pulled the score back to one all before the break. Early in the second half Singleton conceded a penalty. The visitors were unable to add to their tally.
On Saturday the junior grade sides took on Wallsend at Howe Park. The 14s had been beaten 9-0 in the first round by their opponents but demonstrated the improvement they have shown by only going down by the odd goal in five. Twice in the first half, the mid field set up Alex Staffa, who made no mistake and sent the teams into the break at two all. If space permitted every member of the team deserved a mention for their performance in a most entertaining game. Yet again the 15s failed to fulfil their promise as they were beaten 1-3 with the goal scored by Peter Brown.
As has so often been the case the defence looks so solid then lapses and the opposition capitalises. Highlight of Saturday was the performance of the 17s who beat their opponents (also sitting in mid table) by 3-1. Wallsend had the better of the first half but were unable to score. The scoring was opened by a classy strike from outside the box by Marlow Court-Kriesh and then Cameron Neal added a second with a long distance free kick. The young Strikers appeared to take their foot off the pedal and conceded a penalty. Initially it was brilliantly saved by Tyler Morris but the ensuing scramble saw it find the back of the net. Late in the game Atticus Sinclair headed in a corner to seal the match.
The All Age men took to the field at Howe Park after the youngsters on Saturday but were unable to match Hamilton Azzurri, going down by two goals without reply. While the Women on the other hand consolidated third place on the ladder with a 2-1 win at University.
On Friday night the Over 35s also battled windy conditions (but warm ones). At last D grade are finding form and a goal by Paul O’Loughlin was enough to give them the points against Dudley and G grade’s 4-0 win takes them to the top of the table by two points. The Strikers dominated their opponents and were soon a goal up when Gary Thorley found the back of the net. Before half time Darryl Messenger added a second. After the break Thorley again scored before a thunderous long distance drive by Glen Cook completed the scoring.
This coming weekend sees all Community football (All Age and 35s) taking a break while the grade sides are all at Thornton, the younger teams on Saturday and the seniors on Sunday.
The 23s and 19s were set down to play West Wallsend in washed out games on Tuesday evening at Howe Park.