By Jay Mwamba
Englishman Ben Hickey, who once had a stint with Millwall, scored a late equalizer at his alma mater last Sunday to deny St. Barnabas a stunning victory over Cosmopolitan Soccer League First Division leaders Pancyprian Freedoms.
The two teams drew 1-1, but neither the result nor the wet, freezing conditions at St. John’s University in Queens could dampen the Saints’ collective spirit.
"We are very happy with that result. It was a good, tough game," St. Barnabas spokesman Aidan Dennis said.
Sean Cassidy got sixth-placed St. Barnabas (7 points) off to a good start in the eighth minute when he rounded the goalie and scored after being put through by C.J. Doherty.
The lead held until the 75th minute, when Hickey, a member of St. John’s 1996 NCAA championship side, struck.
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Morgan Burns tallied for the St. Barnabas reserves in their 2-1 loss.
Former St. Barnabas forward Tony Camaj handed Shamrock a tough 2-1 loss against second-placed New York Albanians (15) with an 87th minute goal at Randalls Island.
Shamrock went ahead through Red Pena in the 10th minute, but it was a costly effort, as the young forward was injured while scoring and substituted.
With several other starters, including fullback Michael Bishop and midfielder Billy Henderson, absent, Pena’s departure would ultimately hurt the Rocks.
After Albanians had tied the game in the 40th minute, Shamrock missed two excellent chances that could have put the visitors away. Instead Camaj crept in three minutes from time to head in the Albanians’ winner from a corner kick.
Shamrock assistant coach John Guildea was left to rue those two wasted opportunities.
"We missed two sitters in the second half when it was 1-1. [Then] Camaj was left unmarked on a corner and buried it. A draw would have been a fair result."
Guildea himself was in rare form in the curtain-raiser, connecting in the 10th and 75th minutes to lead the reserves to a 2-1 victory over the Albanian second team.
Earlier at Randalls, Shamrock’s third side had Barrett O’Rourke’s penalty to thank for a 1-1 tie with Brooklyn Stars.
Derek McKenna’s 30th penalty spot kick was all Metro Division II Astoria Gaels had to show for in a 2-1 loss to CD Iberia, also at Randalls, despite having most of the possession.
"The result should have been 2-1 for us. We had 90 percent of the game, they had two attacks and scored," coach Jimmy Ralph lamented.
Skipper Eugene Coyne was among the Gaels standouts.
At Red Hook in Brooklyn, Sean Hall earned Lansdowne Bhoys a point from a 1-all draw with ASA McCarthy in another Metro Division II tussle. Chris Piliero scored for McCarthy.
Bad Fiona’s "We were terrible," admitted Fiona’s FC boss John Marron after his side crashed 6-3 to Chile FC at Julian Curtis Field upstate. "We didn’t have much of a side."
Ian Whitter, David Noonan and Paul Cunningham were on target for Fiona’s in the losing effort. Mauricio Menes, who reeled in four goals, led Chile. Alvaro Leva added a brace.
Hat-trick hero Eaves, Rath Glenand and Medrick Cadet ended Scala Brasil’s unbeaten run in the Cosmopolitan League Over-30 Division with goals in Brooklyn Celtic’s 5-1 rout.
"A great all-around performance," noted Celtic’s James Murray.
New York Athletic Club coach Ronan Downs was touting Dominic Hardy, his latest scoring sensation, for an Irish international cap after the sharpshooting striker reeled in three goals in the 7-1 destruction of Polonia at Travers Island.
"He may be eligible for Ireland. His father’s Irish," Downs remarked.
Hardy, NYAC’s top scorer so far, scored in the 35th, 50th and 65th minutes. Billy Cronin (2nd), Pepper Brill (55th), Gregg Smalling (80th) and John McCallion (85th) were the other scorers for the defending champs.
Marcin Poeielski had Polonia’s face-saver. NYAC’s reserves triumphed 7-0.
NYAC (12) remained in joint third place on the table with Fairfield/Westchester United, who edged CD Iberia 2-1 on the snowy, windy turf of Woodlands High School in Westchester.
Martin Munnelly (80th), an ex-Long Island Rough Rider, and Zack Viders (87th) produced the late flourish that saw off Iberia, ahead 1-0 from the 7th minute through Sebastien Agis. Iberia’s reserves prevailed 6-2.
At Brooklyn College, Fatos Selimi (two), Mesudin Deqaj (two) and Herolind Hajdari steered Koha to a 5-2 rout over Banatul. Koha took the reserve encounter 2-1.
East leaders Manhattan Kickers improved to 6-0 with a 2-0 decision over S.C. Eintracht at Roosevelt Island. Scott Conti (35th) and Joe Whiteman (70th) scored. The reserves tied 0-0.
"They played us tough, even with 10 guys. I’m surprised that they are not winning more games," said Kickers goalie-coach Mike Fitzgerald, who thwarted several Eintracht breakaway opportunities.
Guyana Juniors (15) stayed three points behind Kickers with a 3-1 victory over hard-fighting Ukrainian at McCarran Park. Nesly Devis shot Ukrainian ahead after five minutes.
"It wasn’t that one sided," observed Ukrainian coach Steve Kovalenko.
Guyana’s reserves fell 2-1.
Nag’s Head United and New York Wanderers battled to a 2-2 draw at the Commodore Barry Field. Marcus Davidson (35th) and Hakim (40th) connected for Nag’s, while Shadie Sharofon (6th) and Clint Groom (70th) replied for Wanderers, 2-1 winners in the reserve meeting.
Also in the East, Barnstonworth Rovers held off FC Japan 2-1 at Randalls.
West front-runners Ridgewood Romac (19) knocked off New York Dinamo 3-0 in a top-of-the-table clash at Allerton Field. Dumitru Bichi (20th, 65th) and Bacula Sofrone (70th) scored.
Dinamo, whose reserves won 5-1, dropped to third place (12) following Central Park Rangers’ 5-2 romp over Clarkstown at Riverside Park. Rich Enticott, Simon Knightbridge, Brazilian Marcio Goncalves, Ray Licata and Jason Costa starred for Rangers (13).
Clarkstown’s reserves won 1-0.
Kevin Longacre (four goals) led BW Poughkeepsie’s 11-1 thrashing of Bergen Kickers at the Germania Grounds. Dimitri Marcos (two), Josh Thomas, Jimmy Bush, and Brian Kennedy were the other scorers. Kickers’ reserves lost 7-2.
There was also a 7-0 Ripensia-Romania victory over struggling Homenetmen, in the West. Homenetmen’s second team was crushed 7-1.
Jersey City survived a last-gasp penalty miss by Onder Koksol to pip Sunnyside Genclik 2-1 at Ferris High School. Freddy Dolmo was the Genclik scorer.
Krimean Turkish posted their biggest win over the season in the Metro Div. I, trouncing Barnstonworth Rovers 5-0 at Red Hook on goals by Raph’l Sicheran (two), Ali Gul and Senol Ozer.
Greg Doerge scored for Central Park Rangers in their 1-all Metro Division II tie with Brooklyn Thunder, while player-coach Tim Serpionov had a brace in United Bulgaria’s 5-3 defeat by Roosevelt International. Valeri Mikhilov was the other Bulgaria marksman.
West pacesetters Guyana Veterans "A" subdued S.C. Eintracht 4-2 at Roosevelt Island, courtesy of Bernard Britton (two), Horace Chase, and Junior Walker. Killian Schalk and Juan Mieles replied for Eintracht.
Guyana Veterans "B," meanwhile, notched their first victory, 3-2 over Fairfield/Westchester. Kenneth Joseph (two) and Richard Hing tallied.
At Randalls Island, George Lesmes had a goal for BW Gottschee in their 1-1 draw with Athletic Club.
In the East, GH Metros and New York Greek-American/Atlas Over-40 played out a goalless draw, while Greek-American/Atlas had a forfeit win over Pele Masters.