Let’s start in division three this week where Shooters and DF Express continue to fight it out at the top with HKZJ in hot pursuit. Shooters got their weekend off to the perfect start by beating BOCs 4-1 thanks to a double from Haruto Matsumoto and single goals from Yohei Nakao and Hisahi Takamura. Matty Chan got the BOC goal and their manager admitted his side were chasing shadows all afternoon. DF Express responded to that with a win themselves, overcoming Stray Dogs 3-1. Li Yong Sen was on the scoring trail yet again with two and Liu Shenng Duo also scored while it was Thomson Yung who netted for the dogs. In a feisty affair which saw each side reduced to ten men, Stray Dogs had taken an early lead but the double red changed the dynamics of the game and DF would equalize before the aforementioned pacey striker went on to get his brace and win the game.
HKZJ remain in touch with the top two thanks to another double from De Yang Kong and further goals from Wei Cheng Wei and Qi Fei Guo to see off Bants by a score of 4-2. The first half was an intense affair, with teams going in at the interval all square at one apiece. HKZJ though took advantage of two slick corner kicks to edge in front. Perry Sea had got Bants opener and Chris Tang made it 3-2 but Fei Guo’s late goal sealed the points. Max Remington was the hero for Dragon Valley as he netted a hat-trick in his side’s 4-1 victory at bottom club Barbarians. Dave Reid also notched and while Stanley Thijssen was on hand for Barbs, who had a player go off in what seemingly was a nasty innocuous clash that saw him sent to hospital with a broken arm. Both Barbs and the rest of the league wish him well with his recovery.
In division one, there was a surprise result in the first match of the weekend down in TKO as Soho Spartans bounced back from last week’s 8-2 drubbing to edge out title chasing Irish Harps 1-0 with Soho’s 5ft 5in winger having to play in goal. After a very tight and competitive first half, the deadlock was broken with an audacious near post back heel from Marc Beaton. The proverbial luck of the Irish though failed them thereafter, as a miss of the season, the cross bar and a string of fine saves from the stand in keeper saw Spartans to victory. Wanchai Spartans took advantage of that slip up to close in on the top three by beating DBFC 3-1 in the early game at Happy Valley. Spartans scored on the breakaway through Simon Liu but Ethan Squires delightful lob had the DB lads derervedly level. However, almost straight away Ali Thompson looped a header in and Jorge Rodrigues was on hand to net the third after some terrible defending. DBFC rang the changes throughout the second half but were unable to break down a resolute Spartans who take momentum into their crunch tie versus USRC in the next game.
Also on Saturday at Happy Valley were HK Scottish and they proved much too strong for Corinthians running out eventual 7-0 winners, though Cors did have to put an outfield player in goal for the second half. Tom Canham and Joe Jenkinson but got two and Jack Morris got a hat-trick lifting Scottish up to fifth. That result left KCC Cavs with a prime opportunity to close the gap to Cors at the bottom, and they did so with a fine 4-2 win against Tropics, who now look perilously close to getting dragged into the relegation dog fight. The young and energetic Cavs were two up thanks to Gabriel Ho and Krish but Steph Bafa gave Tropics hope with a goal on half time. George Y made it 3-1 but again Tropics fought back with Kyle Wagner making it 3-2. Thomas Wiggers tapped in the fourth for KCC and they saw the game out with relative ease.
The other two games saw firstly, USRC gain a routine win against Goodfellas thanks to two goals in two minutes in the first half through a Kieran McBride pen and an Ian Casey thunderbolt, and that’s how the game would finish with the 2-0 score-line a fair reflection overall. While the penalty was a soft one, the quality of the second goal cannot be underestimated as Casey hit a half volley from 25 yards straight into the top corner. From then on, chances were few and far between with Marcello Vastola hitting a post and Fellas threatening without really testing the Gunners keeper. Lastly, Revolution earned a valuable point against J Leaguers in a hard fought 2-2 draw. JL went ahead with a great free kick from Shun Hamano but Chris Field got the equalizer for Revs. Kensuke Hoshino scored against the run of play before HT but Geoffrey Gardiner was on hand form 12 yards to equalize again sending both teams home with a share of the spoils.
The game of the weekend, and indeed the season perhaps, was between Legal Head and San P’s with the latter coming out on top by 5 goals to 4 thanks to a Dan Martyn hat-trick and the odd goal apiece for Austin Tenny and Todd Rush. Legal Head sent the following report about the game: “LH reunited with SP for this 14th game of the league, several warning signs prepare us for a total match: a first leg lost against the course of the match, a streak of two consecutive losses, the return of el Capitan, and the arrival of young recruits for this match. From 7.15 p.m. we could feel the will and the seriousness of the players, the desire to change the course of events. With a friendly Ramadan Weather, LH started the game in earnest with the usual suspects and the contribution of Mehdi # 2 aka Dimeh, and secured more favourable situations than SP. But some errors of concentration led the SP to lead the match in the first half, 2-0 then 3-0 thanks to sharp counterattacks. Despite the difference in score, LH never looked down and continued to attack and had a few scoring opportunities. The entry into play of the second recruit Vincent energized the attack of LH, on a magnificent pass from Mehdi # 2, Vincent blew up the defence but unfortunately, he could not conclude on his first ball. His goal arrived a few minutes later just before half-time. During the half-time, our coach of the night, José Mourinho, adapted the formation for a 4-4-2 and some changes of players which brought even more control. In a second half where LH played everything for everything, we saw a pretty crazy scenario until the last second, the goals came from both sides, but this half was definitely that of LH. Despite 2 new goals from SP, Chris, Deon and Mehdi # 2 responded with strength and self-sacrifice. Every LH player wanted to smother the opposing team and reverse the score. Despite great opportunities (Chris almost scored the goal of the year) such as a double shot blocked by the goalkeeper, a few opportunities that ignited their goal box, a few well-played corners/free kicks, and an (allegedly) shocking hand ball in the penalty box, LH couldn't score a 5th and a 6th goal to win this match. Scorers: Vincent Saint-Aime, Mehdi Khelifi, Deon Brophy and Christophe Armand.”
Krauts kept up the relentless march to the title with a 5-0 win against Vikings with goals from Max Voigt, Moritz Krause, Sebastian Da Silva, Jan Lonmer and Jorg Segatz and both sides would share a good few beers after the game, which is always nice to see. KCC Royals edged yet another close game by the odd goal, this time against Eagles by a score of 3-2. Raphael Bouchet, and own goal and Shu Kitamua were the scorers this week while George Fenwick’s double wasn’t enough for the Eagles. Lastly, OSM overcame Samurai Blue 4-1 with goals from Jeremy Olsson, Ben Wiggins, James Chambers and Tom Abbot. Two early headers set OSM on their way, but Sam B pulled one back. Despite lots of possession, SB were not able to score again so it was left to a lovely, swivelled shot from Chambers and a nice Abbot finish to take home all three points.