By Jay Mwamba
Shamrock’s great Cosmopolitan Soccer League title run ended dramatically in their penultimate match of the season last Sunday, after a 5-0 defeat by New York Athletic Club at Downing Stadium.
NYAC, who shot to the top of the table with the result (36 points), can now clinch their fourth title in five years with a victory over New York Hungaria in their final game, on June 6.
The juggernaut of local amateur soccer, forged by Dubliner Ronan Downs, blew away any hopes of a Shamrock championship in their rookie year in the CSL First Division with a second-half blitz sparked by substitute Greg Smalling.
"They came out in the second half like a different team and gave us a hiding," conceded Shamrock coach John Guildea. "It’s our worst defeat as far as I can remember."
It might be not have been such as dismal afternoon for the fourth-placed Rocks (8-2-1, 31 points) had Billy Henderson not fluffed a 35th minute penalty awarded for a foul on Johann Lannon.
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Downs later admitted that Henderson’s botched spot-kick could have changed the complexion of the match, "although we’d still have won."
Shamrock, nonetheless, remained in the fray until the emergence of Smalling after the interval. The midfielder’s impact was immediate. He put NYAC ahead after five minutes, opening the floodgates for Andre Parris (60th), Matt Roberti (75th), and Justin Head (75th, 80th).
"Greg Smalling came on at halftime and changed the whole game. It was one-way traffic after that," the pleased Downs noted. "It may have been our most cohesive performance of the year."
"They’re no doubt the best we’ve played this year," said Guildea, whose Queens side gets one more chance to win a piece of silverware when they play the New York Albanians-Polonia S.C. winner in the League Cup Final next month.
The Shamrock-NYAC reserve tussle ended in a 2-2 tie, with Peter Hamill and Naill Swan, who finished off a Guildea rebound, connecting.
The St. Barnabas reserves scored six times against S.C. Gjoa but still lost a 14-goal thriller at Coney Island Creek in Brooklyn. Still, player-manager Aidan Dennis couldn’t help but love it.
"It was a crazy game, but it was enjoyable," Dennis remarked. "It was 6-6 with 10 minutes to play and there were four penalties."
The Saints, who forfeited the first team fixture for lack of players and suited up only 11 players, had two goals apiece from Timmy Yates, Harry Zep and Larry Carolan, who usually turns out for their Third Division side.
Gjoa’s marksmen included Randi Guerra (two), Chris Tolken (two), Nir Svera and Yves Lymarch.
Yassine Tazi (two), Rich Webb (two) and player-coach Vlatko Vuletic turned a 1-0 first-half deficit against Banatul S.C. into a 5-1 rout for defending champs New York Croatia in Boonton, N.J. Martin Noci had drawn first blood for Banatul.
"I think we’re OK now," sighed Croatia boss Tony Sucic. Seventh-placed Croatia (4-9-3, 15) are trying to avoid the dubious distinction of being relegated from the First Division a year after winning the title.
But the axe is ready to drop on B.W. Gottschee, who suffered their 13th loss of the season, 5-2 against Polonia, at the Metropolitan Oval in Maspeth, Queens.
Dragos Herenean got both Gottschee goals from the penalty spot (25th, 65th),while Polonia, who climbed off the bottom rung to eighth position (4-11-2, 14), tallied through Janusz Kociubinski (20th), Miroslaw Sielczak (28th, 65th), and Dariusz Zielonka (47th, 57th).
The reserve game ended in a 2-all tie.
CD Iberia ace Juan Carlos Fontaneda hit a hat trick at Randalls Island to lead the Second Division (East) pace-setters to a 6-0 romp over Ukrainian S.C. in their season finale Emilio Pena, Ruben Flores and Jose SanMartin accounted for the other goals as Iberia finished 11-4-3 (36) for the season.
Iberia, whose reserves lost 3-1, now have to wait for New York Dinamo (32), who have two games left, to complete their fixtures before knowing who wins promotion to the First Division.
Manhattan Kickers secured third place in the East (29), ahead of S.C. Eintracht on goal difference, after defeating Nag’s Head United, 4-2, at McCarran Park. Santo Russo hit a trey (40th, 70th, 80th), while Norman Pile chipped in with a goal (55th). Nag’s Head hit back through Steve Toland (60th) and Tom Ogarzalek (70th). Toland was also on target in the Nag’s reserves’ 3-1 loss.
Eintracht, meanwhile, shared points with Barnstonworth Rovers after a 1-all draw at Randalls. Vicine Prado connected for the former, and Stavros Zomopoulos for the latter.
Third Division (West) champions Ripensia-Romania "A" underscored their dominance by blanking second-placed Sunnyside Genclik 3-0 in their season-ending clash. Oliumpiu Roman, Anghel Razvan and Michael Georgeoscu scored for Romania (43), who finished 10 points ahead of Sunnyside.
Gyula Hegyi was G .H. Metros’ man of the match at the
Metropolitan Oval, creating goals for Jose Lopez (60th), and Steve Bodden (75th), before connecting once himself (85th), in Metros’ 4-1 pasting of Athletic Club. Bodden tallied earlier (70th).
Metros coach Rory Finn said the match was dedicated to former president William Lang, who died last Thursday.
New York Greek-American/Atlas (32) maintained their one-point edge over Metros in the East after pipping Gottschee 3-2 earlier. Jose Luis Leva, Costas Tsirkas and Fernando Lopez were the scorers.
May 26-June 1, 1999