Northern League One: South Cardiff avoid double defeat at the hands of soaring Cooks Hill outfit | photos

South Cardiff and Cooks Hill battled their way to a 2-all draw at the Newcastle Athletics Field, the first time a club hasn't tasted a second defeat against the league leaders this season. Picture: Hunter Sports Photography
South Cardiff and Cooks Hill battled their way to a 2-all draw at the Newcastle Athletics Field, the first time a club hasn't tasted a second defeat against the league leaders this season. Picture: Hunter Sports Photography

Despite leaving Newcastle Athletics Field with only a single competitive point, South Cardiff will feel like they bagged a major victory as they became the first side to avoid a second defeat at the hands of Cooks Hill.

Although Cooks Hill will see the two dropped points as inconsequential in their march to a successful defence of their League One premiership, the shared spoils within touching distance of a top four finish after a mixed season.

Nathan McAllister was the player to kick off the Gunners’ run to an eventual 2-all draw, putting the visitors ahead early before Daniel Wells doubled the advantage just after the half an hour mark in the first half.

It wasn’t until the second half that the defending champions answered back, with Nick Russell slotting two penalties to keep the Cookers’ undefeated home run alive sixteen matches into the season.

South Cardiff helmsman Denis Fajkovic believed his squad was “robbed”, he said in the post-match interview. 

“In big matches like that, for such a penalty to be given, those three points are massive for us in the semis race and we went out and gave it to Cooks Hill,” he said.

“We were two up at half-time, we set up defensively in the second half and we talked about them having the ball, shutting them out, and we did that.

“But we’re just talking about it now, the points are gone. It’s hard not to be frustrated, especially because Cooks Hill is the team, they’re doing well, we turned up and the boys performed and to lose two points is hard to take.”

Despite slipping to a draw after the two goal lead, Fajkovic praised his South Cardiff outfit for a strong performance, and said Cooks Hills’ coach agreed.

“Graham [Law] said to me after the game, that it was the hardest game at home they’ve had in the two years he’s been there,” said Fajkovic.

“Like I said to the boys after the game, if we take anything away from this result it’s to go in with the same intensity and play the same way. We’ve done it against Cooks Hill, we’re one of the teams that can match Cooks Hill when it comes to that and that’s the positive out of that game.”

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Elsewhere on the weekend in League One, Belmont Swansea put two past Thornton to level them on the ladder, with both now sitting on 26 points – the second highest haul in the competition.

West Wallsend kept place in fourth place after a 4-nil thumping of Cessnock, after goals to Joseph Holt, Tye Jones and Bailey Maxton in a five minute flurry just before half-time broke the Hornets’ resolve.

A red card to Blake Roy a minute after the third goal nearly sealed the deal, and if that hadn’t the whistle-beating strike from Brad Andrews to net the Bluebells their fourth certainly did.

Finally, Singleton and Kahibah ground to a 1-all draw, keeping the Strikers from making ground on the leading top four pack, and New Lambton leapfrogged Kahibah with a 2-1 win over Toronto Awaba.

The Stags had taken the lead ten minutes in with a penalty converted by player-coach Blake Glennie, but goals from Dan Luther and Alex Ihlow reversed the scoreline and kept Toronto Awaba firmly rooted to the bottom of the standings.

TABLE: Cooks Hill (38), Thornton, Belmont Swansea (26), West Wallsend (25), South Cardiff, Singleton (22), Wallsend (21), Cessnock (16), New Lambton (15), Kahibah (13), Toronto Awaba (8).

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