By Jay Mwamba
Astoria Gaels showed no signs of rust after ending a four-week layoff in the Cosmopolitan Soccer League’s Metro Division II last Sunday with a 2-1 victory over Brooklyn Thunder.
Gaels silenced the Thunder with a goal in each half by P.J. Burke (25th) and Steve Woods (55th). Burke’s strike followed a rare penalty miss by the Irish side’s set-piece specialist Derek McKenna.
"They beat us 4-0 earlier in the season and we’re very pleased with the result," said Gaels’ Patrick Mulrey. "We beat a very skillful Brooklyn Thunder team."
Gaels, who suited up only 11 players, last played on Nov. 5 when they beat United Bulgaria 2-1. They’ve had three of their games postponed since but remain second in Metro Division II (6-3-2, 20) after this latest win.
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Former Celtic United youth prospect Sean Conaghan connected twice as Brooklyn Celtic overrun Guyana Veterans "B" 5-2 in an Over-30 fixture at the Shore Road Ground in Brooklyn. Jim Murray, Danny Shields and Ralph Glemand also scored.
"One of our better performances after last week’s cup defeat," Murray noted. "It should have been 10."
Fiona’s FC led Metro Divison I pace-setters Sunnyside Genclik, courtesy of Thomas Anthony’s first half goal (30th), until the 80th minute at Randalls Island. Then Cen Sahin (two) and Mirk Akbulut took over as Sunnyside improved their record to 11-1 (33).
Undefeated Jersey City went to 10-0, two points behind Sunnyside, with a 2-0 Mark Heslop-inspired performance against Barnstonworth Rovers at Ferris High School in Jersey City. Heslop fired in a 25-yard free-kick (43rd), then had his inch-perfect cross turned into the net by Rovers’ Sasha Pilipovic (85th)
Manhattan Kickers’ seven-game unbeaten run that took them to the top in Divison II (East) now seems a distant memory after a 2-1 loss to FC Japan — their second in as many weeks — at Randalls Island.
Kaname Hasunuma got Japan off to a dream start with two goals — the second from penalty — in the opening 20 minutes. Though Norman Pile pulled one back before the half, Kickers couldn’t get back into it despite a spirited rally in the last 45 minutes.
Said Mike Fitzgerald, Kickers’ player-coach: "Second half we were all over them. Free-kicks, corner kicks, one-on-ones, everything. We had our chances."
Kickers, whose reserves turned on the style to triumph 3-0, fell to five points behind new leaders Barnstonworth Rovers (28). Rovers thrashed Guyana Juniors 3-0 at Canarsie Beach on goals by Ron Baskin (25th, 75th) and Stavros Zomopolous (40th).
"Very pleasing. We outplayed them," Rovers’ coach Dave Brooks remarked. His reserves won 3-2.
Striker Brian McLaughlin’s brace spurred Second Division (East) stragglers Nag’s Head United to their first win of the season, an impressive 4-0 romp over Ukrainian S.C., at McCarran Park. Mike Zadorski and Rolando Paz were also on target.
"Our first victory, and we’re very happy," said Nag’s boss John Delaney.
It did nothing to ease Nag’s’ relegation woes, though as the team remains mired at the bottom of the table (1-8-3, 6 points).
The reserve meeting ended in a 3-3 draw.
New York Wanderers paid dearly for starting nine reserve players against S.C. Eintracht at Roosevelt Island, succumbing 5-1 in a Division II (East) tussle.
Eintracht’s Eric Oram did most of the damage, hitting a hat trick in 35 minutes (8th, 30th, 35th). Tony Alessandro (15th) and Andy Doczy (75th) got the other goals. Mark Burns (55th) got Wanderers’ face-saver during a second half they dominated.
"We self-destructed," said Wanderers assistant coach Eamon Reynolds. "But we actually played well in the second half."
Eintracht’s reserves prevailed 5-0.
Marcio Gonclaves’s 89th minute effort powered Central Park Rangers to a 1-0 victory over Ripensia-Romania at Grover Cleveland High School and first place in Division II (West).
Rangers (7-1-2, 25) lead Ridgwood Romac and New York Dinamo, both of whom didn’t play, by three points. Ripensia’s second team was also beaten 1-0.
Insult and injury
First Division Banatul lost veteran striker-turned-sweeper Roger Taylor with a broken leg at SUNY-Maritime and then, to add insult to injury, were beaten 2-1 by New York Albanians, whose winner came from a disputed 85th minute penalty.
"We got robbed royally," cried Banatul coach Zak Ivkovic. "They got a phantom penalty. It was a heck of a game to be decided that way."
Albanians’ Martin Shkreli disagreed. "Tony (Camaj) was in the box going for a shot and the guy clipped him from behind. No question it was a penalty."
Roland Demo converted the spot-kick. Naum Kove had earlier given Albanians a 60th minute that Mark Mihelic (75th) canceled out with a header.
Bantul’s reserves were trounced 4-0 in the curtain raiser to the only Division I match played at the weekend.