Hat-trick for Joseph Civello in Singleton's 4-2 win over Toronto Awaba

ROUND ONE HERO: Joesph Civello has capped off a successful pre-season with a hat-trick in the Strikers' season-opening 4-2 win.
ROUND ONE HERO: Joesph Civello has capped off a successful pre-season with a hat-trick in the Strikers' season-opening 4-2 win.

Singleton Strikers 2019 New FM Northern League One season had a positive start at the weekend when, despite losing all minor grades, the senior side triumphed 4-2 at Toronto Awaba. 

The match was highlighted by a Joe Civello hat-trick.

Most of the youth grade sides were without several players due to other commitments while cohesion and lack of time together affected the supporting senior sides. Head coach David Willoughby was more than happy with his side’s first outing on a hot day; which was certainly not conducive to good football. But the performance had long time officials commenting on the quality of the Strikers play.

The visitors were the better side in the first half but had to be content with a 1-1 score line. The Strikers should have been ahead but the last kick of the half, a penalty was blasted wide by the taker.

The quality and movement of Singleton in the second half was too much for their opponents with Civello adding to his first half goal with a well deserved hat-trick. The other goal was scored by Lachlan Nichol. All showed quality with defensive pivot Jordan Phelan involved in two of them. Toronto did manage a further goal, their first was one of those scrappy affairs that are so prevalent early in the season.

Civello was voted Player of the day by his team mates but the outstanding performance was probably that of Jackson Cox who back to his dynamic best in the middle of the park. Another to catch the eye was Muswelbroo- based-Jake Barner on his Strikers debut.

The under-23 side found the going tough with several players having had little or no pre-season work. Ryan Dean, back after a couple of years stood out in a very tired group at the end of the game in which the host scored six. The under-19 side, relied on several players from the 17s, who had played the day before but despite a hard working performance let in four with out reply.

That could have been more but for the heroics of keeper Brae Wisink. Luke Mills-Witherspoon was mentioned in reports for his performance.

On Saturday both the 13s, with several players still summer sporting action had heavy defeats but there were some positive signs that when they start to gel as a team things will look up. Details of the were not to hand at the time of writing but special mention was by the 14s coach of the goal-keeping of Dominc Rohr.

Special mention was made of the work of the defence, of Trae Rowan, Aiden O’Loughlin, Dew Parnell and Joe Morriarty

The under-15 side, who had started to look good in trial games, were trounced by their opponents but a goal by Bailey Rougham was a consolation which slowed the Toronto onslaught. On a positive note it should be noted that they ‘kept going to the end’.

The seventeens were disappointed to lose by the only goal of the game as they were maybe just the better team on the balance of play. The first half goal conceded while the young Strikers were failing to stick to their possession based game. Despite controlling the second half (and the ball) they were unable to pull back a goal and grab at least a point.

All seven teams are again on the road this weekend, but for a shorter trip to neighbours Cessnock. The Youth teams are in action on Saturday with seniors on Sunday.​