USRC Gunners returned to Kings Park on Friday night in torrential rain to record a 3-0 victory over a resurgent Corinthians whose performance without the recently departed league secretary Manjeet suggested a move up the table is imminent. In a scrappy first half in crazy conditions, both sides carved out chances but were denied by decent goalkeeping- as USRC in particular were thankful to Alessio for a couple of fine saves. Their dominance in possession though eventually bore fruits, as Sean Taylor nodded home after a header back across goal from a corner early on in the second half. Kieran McBride then hit a lovely free kick skidding of the surface into the bottom corner to make it two before a tidy Taylor finish from the edge of the area sealed the win.
In an equally difficult game, Irish Harps overcame a stubborn Club Tropicana side in a game that was all square with around fifteen minutes to go. Steph Bafa had gotten Tropics off to a flying start, scoring direct from a corner but Harps scored with a nice Ian Killoughery header to go in level at half time. It always looked as those the boys in green would go onto win, but after missing a penalty, they were fortunate to see a free kick from Tropics bounce back off the bar. With Gianlucca pulling off a string of fine saves for Tropics in goal, it was left to Cian McNamara to find the top corner from 30 yards. Lee McQuade scored the Harps third, nicking a goal off Irish captain Ronan O’Doyle, who looked like he’d had a decent lockdown. The top 2 will face each other this Friday.
DBFC kept pace with at the top with a demolition job against Revolution. Despite creating a few chances in the first half, Revs were unable to trouble the scorers and DB took full advantage. A Matt Zoller miss hit, Ethan Squires strike and Paul Crompton tap in put the Bay up 3-0 at half time. Squires helped himself to 3 more, with Crommy also getting a second to complete the 7-0 rout. Wanchai Spartans also kept in the hunt for the title with a similarly impressive win against the young KCC Cavs. Dan Barrie, Jose Aguilar, Oli Baijings, Benoit Douche and Ali Thompson were the scorers on the night as they controlled the game after scoring early on. Credit to KCC who Sparts gaffa believes should have more points than they do, and they at least managed to get a late consolation goal.
In the other fixtures after the three month lay-off, Shouhei Shida and Yuji Hirano made sure the J-Leaguers started off with a win against Soho Spartans, the latter team sporting an interesting new kit, ‘sponsored’ by Marmite! The Japanese scored both their goals at the start of each half from set pieces. Finally, in an epic game down in TKO, the spoils were shared between Goodfellas and HK Scottish Stags. Fellas saw Steve Franklin score a brace and were also helped by a Stags OG, but the Scottish boys scored a late Jevon Marsh equaliser having had Tom Canham and Tom Clark on the scoresheet earlier on with the game finishing 3-3.
Into division two, where a Monday night defeat saw Krauts slip into second place as KCC earned a win that was a tad fortunate. As the German boss explained, ‘if you waste the best opportunities, the opposition will score,’ and so they did as Sam Trayford and Luca Merlone (again) were on hand to net in a 2-1 win. Nick Gerigk did get one for Krauts, but they couldn’t find a second way past ‘The Octopus’ in goal for KCC, who are up to 7th on 12 points. Old Speckled Men took full advantage to move top after overcoming HK Eagles by the odd goal in five. Eagles went one up after a Bob Chapman nodded home from six yards after a fine delivery. That was the HT score and OSM regrouped and came out firing, with Nathan Gibbon looping in the equaliser, which is rare for him by all accounts! Philipp Meurers prodded home from close range to make it 2-1 to the Old Men before Joe Chagas was brought down in the area after a mazy run, converting the penalty himself. Howard Kelly got a late second for the Eagles after sloppy defensive play but OSM move top, all be it having played one more than Krauts.
San Pellegrino’s moved level with two others in mid-table on 12 points after overcoming a stubborn HK Viking side 2-1. They had to do it the hard way too, after an even contest saw Vikings go one up through Rasmus Brendborg. Vikings rued the chance to double their lead after ‘John’ smashed his penalty onto the underside of the crossbar. Dan Martyn led the fightback with a quality finish and the post COVID lockdown tiring legs of the Vikings eventually succumbed to a Joel Yang goal as San P’s saw the game out to take all the points. Wanchai Wolves are the third team to sit on 12 points after another come from behind 2-1 win, this time against Samurai Blue. Harry Scowen started the comeback with a delicious volley from a corner and Daniel Derani got the winner with a well-placed header, rendering Thapa Kushal’s opening strike redundant. Lastly in div 2 and a much-improved Mes side ran out comfortable winners against Legal Head, winning 4-2 thanks to a Liam Kelly brace and one apiece from Alex Wong and Tom Rogerson. Mes were 3 to the good by the interval, and 4-0 up just after but tiring legs saw LH fight back towards the end. However, Jose Cabot and Thomas Bombardieri’s goals were in vain.
The race for the Div 3 title is proving to be an exciting one as wins for Bants and Dong Feng along with a draw for Shooters left all three teams on 16 points at the top. DF Express were the most emphatic winners after beating Barbarians by 7 goals to nothing. Wang Wei Zhi led the soring with a fine hat-trick and there were also goals for Pablo Chong, Ho Wing Hang, Liu Sheng Duo and Li Yong Sen though Barbs were less than happy with some of the decisions from the female assistant, not for the first time it has to be said! Alex Devaud, Chris Tang and Perry Sea were all on the scoresheet in the first half for Bants as they went 3 nil up at half time against Dragon Valley. It was the proverbial ‘one of those days’ for DV as they missed a pen, hit the bar and missed a one-on-one but the damage had been done in the opening 40 minutes. Shooters were held to a 1-1 draw with Stray Dogs after going a goal in front through a Yohei Nakao free kick. The Dogs however levelled the game thanks to Kakai Tsang. Finally, HK Zi Jing overcame BOC’s scoring four without reply and thus leapfrogging them into 6th place. De Yang Kong helped himself to a couple of goals, while Yu Xing Cao and Wei Cheng Wei also chipped in with one strike each thanks in no small part to BOC’s going down to 10 men early on. Untidy scenes at the end saw a player from each team receive their marching orders as the game finished 10 against 9, leaving both teams to deal with suspensions in the coming weeks.