Shooters fired their way to top spot in the ultra-competitive Legal League division three over the weekend with a 4-0 demolition job of new boys HK Zi Jing, with a perfectly executed game plan according to HKZJ boss. The Shooters were 2 up inside 20 mins and doubled that to 4 in the second half courtesy of Kazuhisa Takeda, Shunsuke Tsuchiya, Yoshiki Kobayashi and Shinichi Yoshimoto. HKZJ on the other hand were just lacking in quality to break the opponent down, with frustrations boiling over late on as a couple of players received their marching orders. Bants slipped back to third in the table after a surprise 2-1 defeat at the hands of Barbarians, as Perry Sea netted the solitary Bants goal. Credit goes to the Barbs centre backs for an unbelievable rear-guard action, and plaudits also for new striker Tim Lo who got the equalizer and for Phumlani Maxwell Ndlovu for getting the winner. Seems like the refs struggled to control things in this one, but credit to both sides for keeping a lid on things, especially the cool-headed Bants boss on the day.
Elsewhere, Dong Feng took full advantage of Bants losing by leapfrogging them into second place after a fine 3 nil win at the expense of BOC’s. Huang Hao Le opened the scoring with a calm finish when one on one before Wang Wei Zhi dribbled round the keeper to slot home and make it 2-0 from a tight angle before HT. Pang Chao eventually got his sides third after a couple of missed chances and BOC’s were soundly beaten. Lastly in the bottom tier, it was a point apiece between Dragon Valley and Stray Dogs to leave them 4th and 5th respectively. Stray Dogs took the lead from the spot after a Harry Maguire esque pull down from a corner; Leo Mimasu making no mistake from 12 yards. DV were level though soon after as a poor clearance left Dave Reid to lash home from 6 yards. The Dogs were back ahead in the second half, Mimasu on hand for a second time to meet a Kaki cross with a fine header, but poacher Reid was at it again to make it 2-2 and that’s how it finished. It is a pretty congested table now, with four out of eight teams all level on 10 points.
Onto division two now where Krauts recent run of fine form continued as they disposed of Mes 2-0, but the score line perhaps flattered the Germans somewhat as Mes were probably the better team for most of the game. However, they were unable to recover from going two goals down inside the opening ten minutes. Etienne Boing and Sebastian Da Silva got the goals, then a tactical switch to park the proverbial bus and protect what they had saw the Krauts to the three points. HK Scottish Eagles kept up the pressure on Krauts after a comprehensive victory versus San P’s by four goals to one. George Fenwick and Howard Kelly both bagged a brace down in TKO, all after Elliot Nichols had actually put San P’s ahead early on when they looked strong. Alas, Eagles were deserved winners in the end.
Old Speckled Men remain in third place after beaten a strong squad of Vikings 3-0 and in a way not too dissimilar to Krauts, as the Speckled boys found themselves two up inside ten minutes. The first came from Ben Thomson after a delightful back heel assist from Bowman and the second was a smart finish from Philip Meurers. Despite an even contest thereafter, the game was sealed in the second half by a third OSM goal once again scored by Ben Thomson. There was an unsavoury moment when an OSM player got a nasty cash after a shoulder barge left him skirting with some concrete and a handful of stitches, so we wish him a speedy recovery. KCC Royals got themselves another three points to climb away from the danger zone after downing Samurai Blue at the park of kings on Monday with Luca Merlone scoring in his sixth successive game. Lee Fitzpatrick and Sam Trayford got the other two goals in a 3-1 win which saw a player from each side shown a red card when perhaps a yellow apiece would have sufficed. Mir Zeshan got the Blue Samurai goal.
Last game to report on was a seven-goal thriller between Legal Head and Wanchai Wolves, the latter team guilty of sloppy play to ruin early command of proceedings. Willie Lee got one while Harry Scowan had 2 for the Wolves but it was Legal Head who took home all 3 points after goals from Manuel Pena, Jose Cabot, Conor Mannion and Darragh Kennan, with the second half introduction of Deon Burton helping matters. LH’s Jay Patel gave the following account, “On a beautiful day for football, Legal gathered for a 1pm kick off at Aberdeen. As kick off approached El Capitan was on the phone frantically trying to convince Sevvas that he had to cancel any kayaking plans - and bring the infamous black suitcase with our kits and balls. Sevvas pulls through with the kits with 5 minutes to spare! Our start was frantic, and we conceded an early goal from a corner. However Legal were determined and Manuel put his chess wizardry skills to use, by confusing the keeper, to slot away an ugly equalizer. The Wan Chai Wolves continued to come back strong and secured a second goal from a set piece. After winning a corner on the left side a perfect ball in from Manuel finds Darragh’s head for a magnificent equalizer. We would go into half time level at 2-2. After an inspiring half time talk where ensuring a winning mentality was emphasized, we started the second half strong. Somehow the Wolves score a third against the stream of play. However, this is a story of comebacks, grit and determination and that is what we showed them! Our play became more fluid with Deon and Jose on the pitch and we won a free kick from a good position. Conor stepped up to the plate and put it away - it is what we have come to expect from this passionate right back. Our final winner was a penalty where Jose slotted Deon through and the keeper touched him, and Deon did classic theatrics. Jose had no issues finishing (his gf will be asked if she is also able to finish at the Xmas BBQ - more to follow) The Wolves had some great chances but were unable to capitalize on a flurry on corners and a couple of 1 on 1’s that Elliot saw through. Mehdy was throwing around his pink boots around loosely and giving it all to cling on. Perhaps he was getting his frustration out, but good to see his and Deon’s partnership continue to flourish. Special thanks to our fans - Jacob and Rosie. Without them I’m sure we wouldn’t have ended the night with the skipper and Felipe offering up free salsa lessons!”
Irish Harps took top spot in division one after the weekends game, thanks to USRC’s humbling defeat against Spartans as both results on Friday threw the title race wide open. Spartans were well up for their game with USRC Gunners and were 3 goals to the good inside 20 minutes with Matt Goss scrambling one in from a corner, then Oli Baijings netting a sublime second before catching the Gunners backline napping for Ali Thompson to run through and make it three. Despite that, USRC came back strong and could have nicked one before HT. Ali Thompson’s free kick just after the interval secured the points though and two late goals from Jose Aquilar and Chris Mendez put the icing on the cake as Gunners had a Giacomo Galina spot kick as the only reward for their efforts on the night. Irish Harps thus remain the only unbeaten side in the division after overcoming Revolution 4-1 and will fancy their chances of adding the division one title to the division two championship they won last season. The Irish had most of the play in the first 30 minutes going three up thanks to a tidy Lee McQuade finish, an emphatic Cian McNamara strike and a powerful one from the left boot of Luke Moynagh. Revs got one back late into the first half via Sam Webster but the back four went to sleep again early in the second period to allow Ronan O’Boyle to get the fourth and seal a dominant win.
J Leaguers continued their fine upturn of recent results, this time seeing off Goodfellas 3-1 in a competitive match at the Valley. Fellas were on top in the first half and went one up thanks to a Steve Franklin header, but a goalkeeping error allowed Shunske Nakamura to equalize. In the second half, it was mostly Japanese possession and Susumu Hatakeyama showed superb balance and skill to get his sides second before a counterattack was rounded off by the prolific Yusuke Igawa. Down in TKO later on Saturday evening, Corinthians held on for a priceless three points against a misfiring Tropics side, who played against ten men for three quarters of the game. Cors got the only goal of the game from Nohman Muhammed after a nice side foot finish from a decent Manjeet Barr free kick. With a silly red card to follow for two daft yellows, Cors were up against it but missing a couple of front men, Tropics were unable to find a breakthrough despite hitting the woodwork and having a decent shout for a pen waved away.
KCC Cavs continue to get closer to getting some points on the board, but once again came up just short, this time against Soho Spartans. KCC went one up through Michael Ho and had more chances to extend the advantage before the interval but couldn’t. They were made to pay as Sparts came charging out after the break scoring twice in ten second half minutes from Vernon Davids and Ian Samson. Soho then had a decent defensive shape to see out the win by 2 goals to one. Saving the best game of the weekend till the end, and once again involving DBFC- who seemingly love a goal fest this season- there were ten goals to savour in their match with HK Scottish. Scottish went 2 up from set pieces via the head of Miles Winter and the boot of Will Bright. DBFC roared back into contention before HT though thanks to a Paul Crompton tap in a twice taken Matt Zoller spot kick. HK Scottish restored their two-goal lead thanks to a Miles Winter screamer and a Rob Scott penalty. Calamity thereafter, and confusion as to whether or not Crompton got his second and Fong Chun Yan the equaliser, or as HK Stags saw it, two own goals from their centre back. We’ll let the dubious goals panel decide. At 4-4 with DBFC pushing forward for the win, Rob Scott scored with a volley and Alex Hussey added a remarkable sixth goal for his team with a lovely finish from a tight angle to leave the final score 6-4 to Scottish.
In the Over 35s Legends League HKFC booked a place in last seasons cup final with a sterling come from behind 4-3 win against Godfathers in the first semi-final. Godfathers were 3-1 up at half time with a brace from Chris Ingham and a goal from Kyle Wagner. HKFC manager Grahame Lane inspired speech at half time saw Simon Galvin scored a brace with Stu McInnes and Tony Hamilton getting the winners.
In other over35s Legends league games KCC Monarchs have been struggling to get a point after 3 games with heavy defeats to Spartans Masters, HKFC and Discovery Bay FC. While Discovery Bay also smashed USRC 6-0 to lead the league table with some early form to the delight of manager Stephen Rundall.
In over 45s league SIA recorded a stunning comeback after trailing 2-1 against Spartans Immortals with 10 minutes to go. Immortals had a penalty which would have sealed them the game but missed by some distance only to see SIA score 3 late goals to win the match 4-2. While USRC Vitese scored a 4-1 win against Godfathers Capo dei capi after the game was 1-1 for much of the second half.