By Jay Mwamba
Shamrock battled back from a two-goal deficit to tie 2-2 with Banatul S.C. in an intriguing Cosmopolitan Soccer League First Division match at Randalls Island last Sunday.
After a languid first half during which Banatul went up 2-0 on goals by Vinny Naletilic (30th) and Alessio Giaccobone (36th), Shamrock were jolted back into the game by a tongue-lashing by assistant coach John Guildea at the break.
They received a further boost midway through the second half when Giaccobone was red-carded for a second caution. Banatul suddenly fell apart under the incessant Shamrock pressure, allowing Aidan Welsh (72nd) and Carlos Grande (85th) to earn the Sunnyside outfit a point.
"They had the game in the bag and they threw it away. At the end of the day we were happy with the point considering how bad we were at half time," Guildea said later.
"Very unfortunate [result]," sighed Banatul veteran Zak Ivkovic, whose cross Naletilic headed in for the ice-breaker. "We needed this one. I thought we played well in the first half, and until Alessio was sent off."
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Banatul were left searching for their first win this season, while Shamrock climbed into seventh place (4 points).
Shamrock club president Scotty Shevlin proved to be an impartial referee when, by mutual consent, he was asked to handle the Shamrock-Banatul reserve fixture. The ‘Rock reserves triumphed 3-0, courtesy of Dennis O’Boyle, Paul Rogan and Brendan O’Reilly.
Earlier at Randalls, Shamrock’s third team forced a 1-all draw with Krimean Turkish. Naill Carolan and Raf’l Sicheran scored, respectively.
St. Barnabas, without injured goal-ace Simon Cahill, his attacking partner David Fitzgerald, and several other starters, were edged 1-0 by New York Albanians at Evander Childs High School. Blas Cordazo (20th) got the only goal of the match.
"We were short of a few players, but they were full value for the win," the Saints’ Aidan Dennis conceded.
Vinny Norton and Sean Cassidy scored in the St. Barnabas reserves’ 2-2 tie.
Gerald O’Brien, Derek McKenna and P.J. Burke scripted Astoria Gaels’ 3-1 victory over Central Park Rangers in a Metro Division II encounter at Riverside Park. Greg McClaughlin was the Rangers scorer.
"A great performance by everybody," noted Gaels coach Jimmy Ralph.
At Van Cortland Park, Paddy MacLeer had Lansdowne’s lone goal in a 2-1 loss to in-form Brooklyn Thunder.
Defending champs New York Athletic Club suffered their worst defeat in recent years, slumping 3-0 to Koha at Brooklyn College.
Fatos Selimi made up for a first half penalty miss by shooting Koha ahead in the 50th minute. Qazim Hakramaj (60th) and Herolind Hajdari (65th pen.) also struck.
"We destroyed them," Koha boss Omer Hakramaj remarked.
NYAC’s reserves returned the favor, posting a 3-1 decision.
In other First Division action, Mike Barrish’s two strikes for Fairfield/Westchester United could not deter a 5-2 defeat by leaders Pancyprian Freedoms, whose reserves prevailed 6-1, while Polonia iced luckless CD Iberia 3-0 at Cantiague Park. The reserves drew 2-2.
Scott Conti’s 83rd minute penalty was enough to propel Manhattan Kickers to a 1-0 win over tough FC Japan in a top-of-the-table Second Division (East) clash at Randalls Island.
Kickers goalie-coach Mike Fitzgerald, who thwarted three one-on-one opportunities by the relentless Japanese side, was happy with the result but critical of his side’s sometimes sloppy play.
"We just didn’t play smart. We turned the ball over too often," he said. "But everyone worked hard and we’re very happy to be in sole possession of first place."
Kickers reserves tied 1-1 on top scorer Owen Idehan’s well-placed shot.
Ex-South African youth international and New York Wanderers captain Clint Groom had a goal, while Steve Anderson contributed another in a 2-0 triumph over S.C. Eintracht at the Commodore Barry Field. Wanderers’ reserves lost 3-2.
At McCarran Park, Ukrainian S.C. held off Nag’s Head United 3-2 in a meeting of the East’s two bottom sides. The reserves tied 1-1.
There was also a win for Guyana Juniors who topped short-handed Barnstonworth Rovers 2-0 at Roosevelt Island. Guyana took the reserve fixture 2-1.
Edward Laibner struck six times at Grover Cleveland High School, on an afternoon that Ridgewood’s two teams scored a combined total of 20 goals against Bergen Kickers.
Laibner’s six goals came in Ridgewood’s 14-1 massacre of Bergen’s senior side, while their reserves triumphed 6-2. Dan Ciabuca (two), Robert Cretulescu (two), Dany Anton, George Ghiorghita, Bichi Dumitru and Tase Iorgoveanu also tallied for Ridgewood "A".
New York Dinamo unveiled midfielder Espinosa Luis, formerly with Spanish First Division side Zaragoza and Peru’s Cristal, with devastating effect against Homenetmen at Allerton Field.
Luis (70th, 80th), Jairo Munos (20th, 60th) and Murem Ibraimov (55th) led Dinamo to a 5-1 rout. Abilio Arabjo (60th) got Homenetmen’s consolation goal. Dinamo’s second team run off 5-2 winners.
Ripensia-Romania’s Adrian Ionete missed an 85th-minute penalty that could have broken a 2-2 deadlock with Central Park Rangers at Riverside Park.
Ionete (35th) and Michael Schiop (41st) had scored earlier for Ripensia. Marcio Concalves and Simon Knightbridge starred for Rangers.
B.W. Poughkeepsie picked up their first win, thanks to Kevin Longacre (57th) and Marcos Dimitri (78th), who sank Clarkstown at Germania Field.
Poughkeepsie took the reserve game as well, 3-2.
Onder Koksol (two), Freddy Dolmo (two) and Mert Akbulut kept Metro Division I Sunnyside Genclik’s unbeaten streak going with a 5-2 result over Chile FC at Julian Curtis Field.
Newcomers Gotham FC, staffed mostly by NYU alumni, edged United Bulgaria 2-1 on goals by Dave Vorcheimer and Diego Olego. Bulgaria’s prolific scoring player-coach Tim Serpionov upped his team-high tally to six goals with his team’s only strike.
Guyana Veterans "A" knocked off their sister club, Guyana Veterans "B" 11-1 in a West fixture at Carnasie Beach. Jerry Lee (four), Horace Chase (two), Junior Walker (two), and David Simpson scored. Robert Meertins had the lone Veterans "B" goal.
At Randalls, BW Gottschee thrashed S.C. Eintracht 7-1. George Lesmes (three), Thomas Feldhof (two), Pablo Perez and Ed Kracker tallied. Fernando Vellagas was the Eintracht scorer.
Rory Finn, missing several starters including midfielder son Rory Jr. and ace striker Steve Bodden, saw his G.H. Metros beaten 2-1 by NYAC at Randalls. Etsu Tamaguchi netted NYAC’s winner, who had taken the lead on an own goal. Gyula Hegyi replied for Metros.
Also in the Over-30s, Brooklyn Celtic and New York Greek-American/Atlas drew 0-0.