Game of the weekend across all divisions was undoubtedly the division one clash at Aberdeen on Saturday as two unbeaten sides faced off against each other in the form of Irish Harps against DBFC under the floodlights. Disco Bay were clinical in the first half, scoring with three headers all crossed in by the left boot of Paul Crompton. First, Matt Zoller nodded home, then Ethan Squires did the same. The Irish squandered a chance to halve the deficit from the penalty spot, and Christian Romano got his sides third header before the interval. The score remained 3 nil until around 20 minutes from the end, when the Irish fightback began. Darren McHugh got the comeback going with a classy hit from outside the box. Ronan O’Boyle made it 3-2 and it was twitchy bum time as the DB lads tried in vain to hold on. Po Sing Lam’s low volley brought the scores level, and late in the game, the upturn was completed as O’Boyle got his second to take home all three points. The Guinness would taste all the sweeter in Delaney’s for the Irish boys after that as they moved into second place, relegating DBFC to third.
There were also goals a plenty at the Valley on Saturday where J-Leaguers topsy turvy start to the season continued as they overcame a stubborn Tropics side by 4-1. The final result flattered them somewhat, as Tropics had strong claims for a penalty overturned as the ref claimed a foul was just outside the box, with the score at 2-1; had they equalized, things could have been very different. As it was though, a Yusuke Igawa hat trick and a Shunske Nakamura penalty sealed the win with the Japanese lads making full use of their 22-man squad. Stephan Farias’ direct free kick into the top corner was the highlight of an otherwise frustrating afternoon for Club Tropicana.
There were also five goals in the Corinthians v Soho game, but they were all scored by the Spartans as they inflicted a heavy defeat on the Cors. Despite a fairly even first half, a Daniel Dun double and further strikes from Richard Cowley, Patrick Malinula and Frank Gonzalez moved Soho above their opponents in the table on goal difference. Wanchai Spartans also took home the spoils but it was a far closer affair in a close contest with Goodfellas in the quintessential game of two halves. A mix up in the Sparts back line left Steve Franklin in to open the scoring for Fellas, but Oli Baijings equalized then Ali Thompson netted a free kick to seal the turn around.
Elsewhere in division one, HK Scottish Stags continued their fine recent run of performances against basement dwellers KCC Cavaliers, with a convincing 5-1 win. Stags aging player-boss Tommy Bartles bagged the first at the back post before Miles Winter got a scrappy second. Winter got his second, Stags third after being left acres of space to run free but KCC were able to pull one back. Rob Scott got a penalty before half time to make 4-1 and he completed the rout late on in the second half as the Cavs were left to rue giving the ball away cheaply in the first 40 minutes. Lastly, USRC maintained the only remaining 100 % record in the Legal League, though they had to do it the hard way against a battling Revolution side. Despite being well on top, and a goal up via an audacious Jonathan Mok lob, the Gunners mis fired, including from the penalty spot, as the game remained at one nil until late on. Revolution took full advantage of USRC failing to add to their solitary goal and equalized with a smart Geoffrey Gardiner finish to jubilant scenes as Revs looked to have rescued a point. It was nearly all three but for a last-ditch Mark Jobling challenge, but USRC then went down the other end and James Lewis nodded back to Harry Barnard from 12 yards, who smashed home the winner with a volley.
Onto the second division where we had an eight-goal thriller at the top of the table between San P’s and Krauts. The roller coaster match saw Pellegrino’s get into a two-goal lead courtesy of Reid Bailey and Jean-Niklas Zanatic, but Krauts fought back after a tactical change in formation with three quick fire goals leaving them 3-2 up at the break. A fourth goal made it 4-2, but San P’s did not go down without a fight as Charlie Whittaker brought them within one again. However, a worldie of a finish late on settled things for Krauts whose goal scorers were Nick Gerigk (2), Roberto Pascareli (2) and Etienne Boing. There were another eight goals in the game between Samurai Blue and Vikings, who were missing a whopping 16 players- a fact which no doubt contributed to them going down by six goals to two. The first half however had been a very even contest as the score was 1-1 at half time. Vikings boss though admitted the second half performance would have been more befitting of a Laurel and Hardy movie, with Blue Samurai deservedly pulling away to bag all three points. Vikings had Peter Ibsen and Henrik Andersen on the scoresheet while Blue Sam had three lads bagging themselves a brace, namely Mir Zeshan, Soufiane Er-rafiay and Limbu Rishi Hang.
There were two close games elsewhere in division two, both resulting in 2-1 wins for OSM and the Eagles. Firstly, Old Speckled Men got their third win of the season in a closely fought match at a wet and windy TKO on Friday night. Ben Thompson put them one ahead, but a misplaced pass left Michael Frank through to equalize for Legal Head with a tidy finish after rounding the keeper. Kieran Karolak proved to be the unlikeliest of match winners though for OSM as the centre back hooked a volley into the top corner after a flick on from a set piece, netting his first goal in a competitive match for nine years. Well done sir! The other 2-1 win came as Eagles shaded Wolves in a tough game that could have gone either way. Wolves remarkably hit the bar three times in the first half but were undone by George Fenwick and Will Banner goals leaving Andy ‘Hulk’ Ho as their only scorer on the day.
On Monday night in a ding-dong affair, KCC Royals came out 4-3 victors against a Mes side who were two up early on through a Louis Keates penalty and a Tom Rogerston fluked cross shot. Against the run of play, KCC got back on level terms with two goals. Mes were back on top by half time as Damien Cozzolino scored, but KCC piled the pressure on in the second half and got the win as they overturned a 3-2 deficit with two more goals in the second half. At the time of writing, the scorers were yet to be announced.
In division three, Bants went a point clear at the summit of a very congested table with a draw against Dong Feng. In an entertaining match, DF showed their determination from the get go and started the better team, taking an early lead from the boot of Fang Wen after a goalkeeping mistake, as described by DF boss: “a somehow lucky knuckle ball…the bugs bunny ball found the back of the net.” Bants though recovered and found some fluency on the large playing surface and had their skipper Eamon McMurray to thank for their headed equalizer. They could not produce a winner, however, which allowed the chasing pack to close in.
Dragon Valley and Stray Dogs both moved onto 9 points just a point behind Bants thanks to one nil wins against the Shooters and BOC’s, respectively. In a goalless first period, the DV v Shooters game was decided by a set piece as Jimmy Zhang poked home a rebound after a header from the CB had smashed the post. Despite a potential penalty claim for handball in the second half, the Shooters were unable to make inroads and went down narrowly in the end. Stray Dogs had Leo Mimasu to thank once again as he proved to be the match winner for his side after a defensive error. In what looked like being a comfortable game as BOC’s were chasing shadows early on, heads didn’t drop and in fact late on, their hard work nearly paid off as a cross to the back post was met with a diving header that was just a ball width wide of the post with the goalkeeper stranded. It wasn’t to be though leaving BOC in the bottom half with seven points, but still only three from top spot. Lastly in div three, HKZJ defeated Barbarians 2-0 with a couple of classic counter-attacking goals from Yu Xing Cao and Qi Fei Guo. They then had to rely on some solid defending from the centre backs and the keeper to keep the Barbs at bay and see out the victory.