After an all-conquering season last year, Forward were looking to continue their domination but this would be without their top scorer from last year, Kaffi Harun, who parted ways earlier in the week. Forward faced up to last seasons 4th placed side, J-Leaguers, who are always a strong outfit and it proved to be a tightly contested affair with a single goal deciding the game. Forward had the chance to get their season off to a flyer when they were awarded a penalty early in the first half but this opportunity went a begging as they failed to convert and with J-Leaguers defense holding strong it provided a platform from which they could begin to get into the game. The deciding goal was scored by J-Leaguers Tomoo Takahashi when a miss-hit cross (or was it actually a shot??) found its way into the top corner. Another rare occurrence in this match was both teams awarding the ref 5/5....who is this phantom person that could achieve the seemingly impossible??
Corinthians and Krauts faced off on Friday night at Sandy Bay and with both teams narrowly avoiding relegation last season this was never going to be a slick passing game with teams cutting each other open with breathtaking football and so it proved. However, Corinthians won't be losing any sleep over that as they ran out 2-1 victors with a brace from Alec Kotakis cancelling out Jannis Wittmann's goal. However, it seemed the game was a feisty affair with the referee missing 1 or 2 sending offs for each team so don't get too carried away by the previous games rating for the referee!!
Newly promoted Soho Spartans edged a tight game against a severally depleted Tropics who had to call on two over 50 year old's to piece together a team. In a game where both teams had their chances it was Soho who managed to get the ball between the sticks when, in wet conditions, a corner slipped through Tropics keepers hands and bounced off an unsuspecting Chris Macaulay. Soho has a few other chances but couldn’t find their way past the Tropics keeper while at the other end Tropics lacked any real cutting edge to trouble Mr. Vera in goal. In an unfortunate incident from an innocuous challenge a Soho player broke his wrist in two places, hope he mends quickly.
Goodfellas and HK Scottish Stags got the brunt of the downpour for their 1pm kick-off at Happy Valley but despite the drenching put on a good game and shared the spoils in a 2-2 draw. In a game of errors and bad calls from the referee the most contentious decision seems to be the penalty awarded late in the game to allow Goodfellas to equalize. Goodfellas manager Stuart Pang commented it was an "unbelievably schoolboy" defending which gifted Scottish their first and again another pen decision allowed Stag's to move 2-1 ahead but a phantom foul as the Scottish keeper came to catch the ball allowed Fella's to equalize and secure their first point. Scorers for Goodfellas, Ash Kerr & Seb Rech with Scottish goals coming from Myles Winter & Aaron Tennant
It was a summer of uncertainty over on Lantau for Discovery Bay FC as they looked for some new blood to take over the reins and were 48 hours from folding their Saturday team but up stepped a couple of knights in shining amour and they maintained their presence in the league which is good to see. And what a start they had, roaring into a 3-0 first half lead against Wanchai Spartans through a Jordon Brown hat-trick before their lack of pre-season and fitness began to take its toll. Spartans got back into the game through Ali Thompson and Deon Brophy and then should have made the scorers level when they were awarded a penalty but a good save saw the score remain 3-2 and as Spartans pushed on DB capatalised in a defensive mix up with that man Brown scoring his, and DB's fourth. Final score DB 4-2 Spartans.
Division 2 kicked off over the weekend with spirits high, expectations raised, a shed load of goals, 2 new teams annnnnnd....some refereeing howlers.
The opening weekend is the perfect opportunity to lay down a marker and last seasons relegated sides did exactly that. Firstly a clinical San Pells hammered MBFC 5-0. The game was all square at HT but the flowing waves of attacks at Sandy Bay were too much for MBFC to handle as goals came from Peter Harrod, Charlie Clack, James Redmayne, Craig Luton and Mark Eade. San Pells were very upset with the standard of refereeing in this one and let’s hope this is not a sign of things to come from the officials. The other team to come down from Division 1, Mes recorded an impressive 4-0 win over an admittedly depleted Samurai Blue. SB manager Kais conceded that their opponents were very good value for their win as their superior numbers and control of the game helped Chris Delaglasia and Massie Kallon bag a brace each.
The other Saturday games involved the new boys joining the Legal League and they would both fare quite differently. Manager Hao helped win Division 2 with Bants last season and his new team Wanchai Wolves look like they could be contenders this year as they recorded a comfortable 3-0 win over HK Vikings. Goals came from a Victor Johanssen bullet header (surely with a name like that Vikings have missed out!) and 2 from Henry Li. Fellow newcomers Dragon Valley FC went down 2-0 to Shui Wei on their LL debut. Luke Facer and Tristan Massart getting the goals for the Shenzhen based team.
On Monday night, Revolution drew 2-2 with a strong KCC Royals side. In a game that kicked off late due to non-arrival of referees, Revo took the lead when Dave Brown rasped home a left footed screamer from all of 5 yards. Royals fought back well and scored twice from long range through Chris Pickles – the first of which was a wonderful free-kick. Revo equalised in the 2nd half through Tim Rechter’s thumping volley. Both managers agreed that Royals keeper was MOTM after a string of fine stops. Unfortunately there were more refereeing grumbles as the most blatant of red cards was not shown but all in all a good game and a great battle.
In the remaining Monday fixtures KCC Cavs started their season with a bang as they shot down Shooters 4-0. In a high intensity game played in good spirits, Cavs pulled away thanks to goals from Stefan Fernandes (2), Nikhil Narwani and Gauravdeep Singh Pansotra. Young Guns went top of the embryonic table with a 6-0 thumping of league stalwarts BOCs. BOCs were full of praise for their opponents stating that they moved the ball well and scored some excellent goals (waiting on scorers and report from YG).