By Jay Mwamba
Lansdowne Bhoys’ roller coaster season in the Cosmopolitan Soccer League continued last Sunday when they came from behind to force a 3-3 tie with United Bulgaria after blowing a 2-0 lead at Van Cortland Park in the Bronx.
Sean Hall’s 86th minute penalty salvaged a point for the Bhoys in the Metro Div. II tussle on the first day of spring action in the league.
"A draw was probably a fair result. It was a very physical and competitive game," said Lansdowne coach Eammon Duffy, who refereed the second half by mutual consent.
The home side had made a flying start to what turned out to be a seesaw game with early goals by Michael Walsh (1st minute) and Paul Doherty (7th).
The Bulgarians, second from the bottom in the division with a mere two wins from ten starts, began a dramatic fight back late in the first half, clawing back to tie the game through Bobbi Trominov (42nd) and Val Mikhoilov (49th).
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Bulgaria’s prolific scoring player-coach Tim Serpionov made it 3-2 in the 52nd minute and just as time seemed to be running out for Lansdowne (2-4-4, 10 points), Hall stepped up to earn them a draw with a well-taken spot-kick.
Ronan Downs’s CSL defending champions New York Athletic Club got another taste of Englishman Ben Hickey’s clinical finishing at St. John’s University, where the ex-Millwall midfielder hit them for three in a 4-1 thrashing by Pancyprian Freedoms.
And this after the Hickey-coached Pancyprian reserves had crushed the NYAC second team 5-1 in the curtain raiser.
Hickey, who’s 27, took over the show in the senior fixture after Anastasious Polydefkis had shot the Cypriots ahead in the tenth minute. He struck in the 17th, 50th (penalty) and 65th minutes to take Pancyprian (8-1-2, 26) to the top of the First Division standings.
NYAC, who got their face-saver from the penalty spot 10 minutes from time, remain fourth (5-3-1, 16).
G.H. Metros followed up their 3-0 romp over Pele Masters a week earlier with a 1-0 decision over BW Gottschee in an Over-30 match at Randalls Island.
Brazilian Julio netted in the second half to steal full points for Metros’ delighted coach Rory Finn, after goalie Armandio Rodriguez had repeatedly denied Gottschee’s rampaging strikers.
"They should have scored five goals but Armandio stopped four point-blank shots and made one fantastic save in the first half," Finn said. "We’re back," the long-time Metros boss added.
Julio had earlier bagged a brace in the win over Pele Masters, with Steve Bodden accounting for the other goal.
Metros improved to 3-3-2 (11) and moved into middle of the "B" Division table with the two results.
In other Over-30 action, Pele Masters edged Brooklyn Celtic 4-3 at the Shore Road Field, while Guyana Veterans "A" pipped Brasil 1-0 on Bernard Britton’s strike.
Hiroo Hagiwara put Central Park Rangers in the next round of the League Cup with the only goal of the match against New York Wanderers at Randalls Island.
Earlier at Randalls, Rangers’ third team had bowed out of the same tournament following a 3-1 loss to First Division Fairfield/Westchester United. Ernesto Teran scored for Rangers.
Allan Mendoza (two), George Gonzales (two), Steven Ziegler and Ian MacLean were on target as BW Gottschee routed Brooklyn Stars 6-2 in a Metro Div. I clash at Grady Field.
Balkan rivals Ridgewood Romac and Ripensia Romania battled to a 1-all tie at Grover Cleveland. Tase Iorgoveanu’s 80th minute penalty clinched Ridgewood their share of the points after the reserves had drawn 3-3.
And in another in-house rivalry of sorts, New York Greek-American/Atlas "A" trounced their under-strength "B" side 7-3 in a delayed "B" Division fixture at St. John’s University.
"The ‘B’ side was missing a few key players, so it was easier than the ‘A’ team anticipated," said George Mellis, GM of the organization that runs both clubs.
Hat-trick hero Jose Luis Leva and Gus Tsirkis (two) were among the "A" scorers in the first meeting between the two sides in the Cosmopolitan League.
"It was a much anticipated first meeting that has created a fun rivalry between the two teams," Mellis said.