USRC boss Stephen Cairns led his Gunners side to back-to-back division one titles, though this year’s success was won purely on merit rather than last season’s points per game victory. USRC did it in style as they saw off Irish Harps, who sat second in the table, by an astonishing 9-2 score line in the best first half performance of the season. Marcus McMillan fired in the opener from a direct free kick, but Fiachra McArdle equalized for Harps. A fifteen-minute five goal blitz though saw Giacomo Gallina head home a superb corner, Sean Taylor volley home a set piece, Taylor drive home his second and Jonathan Mok cut inside to arrow one into the corner. Lee McQuade got one back to leave it 6-2 at half time. Harps fought hard to get back into the game after the break, but Gunners threw bodies on the line to keep them out and fresh legs had Gwillym Cornes, Gallina again and Marcello Vastola all net in the last 10 minutes to seal the title.
HK Scottish Stags played out a fiery encounter against Wanchai Spartans, running out eventual 3-1 winners after player-gaffa Tommy Bartles bagged a couple with Findlay Mayo also getting one in a 10-minute spell early in the second half. Simon Liu pulled one back for Sparts, but they remain in third with two games to play. DBFC overtook Irish Harps on goal difference all be it having played a game more after Ethan Squires (2), Harwood Lee and Dave Rollinson all scored in their 4-1 victory over J Leaguers, who had Kensuke Hoshino to thank for their goal. Tropics beat Goodfellas by the exact same score line, going 3-0 up in the first half with all three goals coming from headers back across goal for tap ins. Alex Dujardin got one back but a fourth from Tropics in similar fashion again sealed the win. Kyle Wagner, Nathan Beaumont, John Ramage and James Francis got the tap ins.
Soho Spartans ended Revolution’s fight to survive with the third 4-1 win of the weekend meaning Revs will be playing their LL football in division two next season. Gabriel Brettell scored from a corner to make the early pressure count before Marc Beaton got the second after a nice cut back pass. Tom Lipton made it three before HT and Byron Grealy notched a fourth early in the second half. Sam Webster grabbed a consolation, but Snelly’s men are down. In the battle to beat the drop, it looks like Corinthians will join Revs after they were downed 4-2 against a strong KCC Cavs side on Monday. Cors went one up, but a defensive mix up enabled Cavs to equalize, and that’s how it stayed until HT. A calamitous mix up at the back saw Cors stalwart Mitch slice into his own goal, then a long ball was not cleared allowing Shehreyar Piracha to coolly finish before he laid a second for his teammate and KCC’s fourth, putting the game to bed. Ricardo Chesti put a free kick into the roof of the net with the last kick, but it all came too little too late and Cors now look destined for the drop.
Congratulations are in order for Krauts as they returned to the topflight after a hard fought 2-0 win against San P’s with Angel Suarez and Kei San Chan getting the goals. Whilst promotion is assured, Krauts will almost certainly go on to be crowned champions before the end of the season so watch this space. Wanchai Wolves out fought KCC Royals winning 4-1 after going 4-0 up by the interval. Nick Lumley-Smith at least won the second half for KCC, but Royals look set to miss out on promotion to the topflight for this year at least. For the Wolves, Stefan Schratz got two goals, the second a ‘pure Wengerball with 1-2’s’ according to he gaffa, while Harry Scowen and Daniel Derani both got one apiece.
In the bottom half of division two after the split, Old Speckled Men narrowly overcame Mes 1-0 with Ben Thomson getting the only goal in a typically tough fixture in the afternoon heat. The other division two match saw Samurai Blue and HK Vikings battle out a 1-1 draw that saw HKV relegated to division three. Sam Blue played an excellent game creating many chances and missed a penalty but did go ahead via Limbu Rishi Hang but a late equalizer from Kenneth Peterson earnt a point for the Viking men while Sam Blue edged clearer of Mes, who remain in the relegation zone.
In division three, Shooters and Stray Dogs confirmed promotion with 6-4 and 8-0 wins respectively, meaning the top two will have a play-off game in round 22 to decide who will go up as champions. Shooters had six different scorers, namely Haruto Matsumoto, Yohei Nakao, Yosuke Kuramae, Yoshiki Kobayashi, Fuminori Ishimaru and Ippei Hayakawa and they were 3-1 up at HT. HKJZ though fought back and with 15 minutes to go, it was 4-4 only for Shooters to score two late goals to win it. Stray Dogs fine recent form continued and this time there were braces for Silvio Jit Ruprah, Leo Mimasu and Sony Han with further goals from Nathan Lui and Dan Yee as Dragon Valley could not match their speed and technique as the Dogs comfortably won each half 4-0.
DF Express came unstuck against BOC’s going down by the odd goal in three, despite having players turn up late and fearing the worst at the size of the DF squad. Nevertheless, Harsha Matura had BOC one up after a corner and Kamel Dridi made it two after a quick break. BOC’s keeper made some great saves, but he was eventually beaten with 10 minutes to play as Li Yong Sen curled in a brilliant goal to hand DF a lifeline. However, BOC dug deep, defended deeper and hung on for a deserved win. Lastly, Bants remain in fourth place after beating Barbarians 3-0 but no other details on the match were to hand at the time of writing.