By Jay Mwamba
Dave Fitzgerald’s brace moved St. Barnabas to within four points of Cosmopolitan Soccer League (CSL) First Division leaders New York Athletic Club last Sunday, after the Saints downed Bantul S.C. 2-0 at St. John’s University.
Fitzgerald hit peak form in the second half of the keenly contested match, nodding in a Chris Boyne cross in the 52nd minute, before latching onto a through ball from the tireless C.J. Doherty for his second goal, 12 minutes from time. Vidu Cusu (60th) was the Banatul scorer.
The result capped a highly successful afternoon for St. Barnabas, whose reserves trounced the Banatul second team 4-1 on goals by Sean O’Flynn, Mark Maguire, Paddy Murphy and C.J. Doherty. The latter earned kudos from the Saints Aidan Dennis for his ironman exploits.
"He had two excellent games and was Man of the Match in both games," Dennis noted.
On the game, Dennis said: "We made hard work of it. We were a little short with players, so some guys played two games."
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He, however, expects the first team to be back at full strength for this weekend’s Travers Island clash with the Ronan Downs-coached Athletic Club, in a showdown with major ramifications for both sides in this year’s title race.
Although only four points off the pace, the fourth-placed Saints (7-2-1, 22 pts) have two games in hand to the top three: NYAC (26), Dinamo (25) and New York Albanians (24).
St. Patrick’s dispensation
Shamrock asked for and were granted a special dispensation by the CSL to take the St. Patrick’s Day weekend off. That left relegation-threatened Second Division side Lansdowne as the only other Irish club in action last weekend.
Save for a last minute collapse, Lansdowne might have nicked a point off Concord S.C. at the Bay 54th St. Field in Queens. They lost 2-0 when Tihomir Serpionov (80th) and Evgene Milovchov (89th) struck late.
"They scored two goals in the last ten minutes. It was a pretty close game," said Lansdowne’s Kevin Madden observed.
Eamonn McEvoy had the visitor’s best scoring chance (55th), but shot wide after rounding the goalie.
Concord forfeited the reserve fixture.
League Cup NYAC and New York Hungaria both posted victories over Second Division opposition in the League Cup.
Chris Mitchell (25th) and Gregg Smalling (67th) tallied in a 2-0 decision over New York Wanderers at Travers Island to put the league champs in the quarterfinals.
Hungaria, meanwhile, booked a second round date with Albanians via a 4-1 romp over Clarkstown at Kennedy Field. Joe Kovacs (two), Laszlo Pataki, and Attila Hangyasi scored.
Earlier at Travers Island, NYAC’s reserves had edged Over-30 hotshots Scala Brasil 3-2 in the Saunders Cup. Pat Judge, Jules Mbogi and Malte Fischer connected.
Second-placed Koha (6-0-3, 21) maintained their unbeaten record in Division Two (West), at the expense of leaders Ripensia-Romania who they trounced 3-0 at Erasmus High School in Brooklyn.
Qazim Hakramaj (20th), Valdet Kelmendi (40th) and Nikola Gjokoj (65th) were on target for Koha, who cut Ripensia’s lead to six points. The Ripensia reserves prevailed 7-1.
Bergen Kickers were the other winners in the West, pipping Homenetmen 3-2 at the Sportfriends Oval in New Jersey. Antranik Balian (40th) and Vagan Boyajian (80th) were Homenetmen’s marksmen in the losing cause. Kickers took the reserve match 3-1.
Tony Alessandro’s 80th minute goal against ailing Ukrainian S.C. kept S.C. Eintracht (25) three points ahead of CD Iberia in the East. Eintracht, whose reserves lost by the odd goal, won 1-0 at Roosevelt Island.
Iberia dispatched Nag’s Head United 2-0 at Randalls Island, courtesy of Primitivo Rey (27th) and Anthony Russo (83rd).
"My guys were exceptional. They were at their best," Iberia’s proud boss, Raf’l SanMartin, said. His reserves won 3-2.
Third-placed Manhattan Kickers (7-2, 21) knocked off Barnstonworth Rovers 3-0 to keep pace with Eintracht. John Miottel (35th), Norman Pile (90th) and John Bolster, with a goal deep in injury time, did the damage.
"It’s a great win for us," said Kickers’ player-coach Mike Fitzgerald, whose second team lost 3-2.
Third Division pace-setters Guyana Juniors improved to 11-0 (33) with a 5-0 pasting of Chile FC behind Kester Darlington’s hat-trick at Julian Curtis High School field in Brooklyn. Germaine Smarte and Christopher Giles also scored.
Sunnyside Genclik (8-1-2, 26) nudged idle Central Park Rangers out of second position with their own 5-0 drubbing of CD Iberia. Cem Sahin (two), Murat Hasan (two) and Onder Koksol starred.
Ridgewood (25) moved into third place, ahead of Rangers on goal difference, after a 2-1 decision over S.I.C.J.A. in Long Island City. Bichi Dumitru and Dan Ciabuca scored.
There was a rare victory in the Third Division for Jam’s who held off Brooklyn Stars 3-2 on goals by Tokoro Kyohei (75th), Obata (80th) and Shiomi (85th). Jam’s won for only the second time this season.
New York Anatolia also picked up three rare points following their 3-1 result against Barnstonworth Rovers. Oguz, Radvan and Charlie connected.
At Randalls Island, Terrence Heywood (35th) and Ian McLean (75th) gave B.W. Gottschee the nod over Jersey City FC.
Banatul, bottom in the West, won their second of the season, 4-2 against Athletic Club. Rosario Simone (two), Yani Cocia and Romi scored.
Pele Masters were sunk by Philip’s 87th effort for New York Pancyprians at the Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn, while Steve Bodden of East leaders G.H. Metros finished off a cross by Julio (63rd) to defeat Eintracht 1-0.
And B.W. Gottschee could afford to miss several chances and still beat Fairfield/Westchester United 3-0 at Randalls Island. Pablo Perez (60th), George Lesmes (75th) and Mario Mercado (86th) led Gottschee.
"Defensively, we played well, offensively, we missed a number of opportunities," Gottschee’s Frank Lackner said