By Jay Mwamba
Late goals by Billy Henderson (75th) and Paddy Geraghty (87th) kept the Shamrock S.C. title express roaring at full throttle in the Cosmopolitan Soccer League after a tough 4-2 victory over relegation-bound B.W. Gottschee at the Metropolitan Oval last Sunday.
The win left both Shamrock and their title rivals New York Albanians still level on points (30) after the Albanians scored the softest of winners against defending champs New York Croatia in the Bronx. Croatia succumbed 3-2 after earlier breaching a 2-0 deficit.
New York Athletic Club, meanwhile, sounded another warning to the two front-runners by dispatching S.C. Gjoa 4-2 at Coney Island Creek with yet another virtuoso performance by new find Andre Parris. The Princeton grad had a brace and won the penalty that sealed third-placed NYAC’s victory over Paddy O’Sullivan’s hitherto in-form side.
Gottschee went down fighting on the dusty Oval. Robbie Walsh (15th) drew first blood, but Dragos Herenean’s 22nd-minute penalty had the two sides level at half time. Man of the Match Mick McCarthy shot Shamrock back in the lead on the hour, but it held for a mere five minutes before Giovanni Zelaya’s header (65th) erased that, too.
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The visitors, however, stepped the pace up a notch and finally subdued Gottschee with goals by Henderson and Geraghty down the stretch. Along with McCarthy and Geraghty, Walsh, Johann Lannon and Tim Cummins also shone
Shamrock player-coach John Guildea, who later made fun of his decision to drop himself from the first team, connected for the reserves, along with Peter Hamill and Brendan Riley, in their 3-1 triumph.
Sizing up the first team’s championship hopes after posting their eighth victory, Guildea said: "We have Athletic Club and St. Barnabas left. I think we can win these two games, but we need Albanians to slip up."
And slip up, Albanians nearly did as they yielded a 2-0 lead before picking up full points with a bizarre goal, almost with the last kick of the match at Evander Childs High School.
"It’s the worst game we’ve played all year," said Albanians’ Joe Shrekli. "But we survived and are keeping up with the Joneses."
Coach Nino Pjetri, who’s 34, was Albanians’ unlikely hero, netting twice as the home side led 2-0 at the break. Yassine Tazi and Larry Breslow put Croatia back in the match on resumption, and Albanians appeared on their way to ceding first place to Shamrock before the Croatia goalie fluffed an easy shot, allowing Peter Curanaj to bag the winner.
"We got lucky. We stole three points with a very soft goal," conceded Shrekli, whose team winds up their 1998-99 schedule against Banatul and St. Barnabas.
Croatia forfeited the reserve match.
For the second week running, Athletic Club coach Ronan Downs was left raving about the new signing Andre Parris’ skills after the striker led NYAC (30 points) to a 4-2 win over Gjoa in Brooklyn.
Parris struck twice with headers (3rd, 50th), and was taken down for a penalty (70th) which Ken Duck converted. Jimmy Wurster, who smashed in a 40-yard free kick after 60 minutes, was NYAC’s other scorer.
"We dominated the game and showed the will to win. They couldn’t match up," Downs said.
On NYAC’s run-in to a more than probable fourth title, the Dubliner remarked: "We have three tough games — Shamrock and Hungaria away, and Polonia at home. But we’re playing well."
Gjoa’s formidable reserves suffered a rare defeat, via a 4-1 margin.
Hungaria (28) stayed in the championship picture with a 6-0 rout of Polonia S.C. in Woodbridge, N.J. Joe Tasko (18th, penalty), Genady Shpits (34th), John Mate (40th), Tamas Kovacs (53rd, 82nd), and Mario Nemet tallied. The reserves tied 2-all.
Ian Hennessy and goalie Jim Keady were the only starters that showed up for St. Barnabas’ 3-all tie with Banatul. The stand-ins, including team official Aidan Dennis, still showed heart in picking up a point despite finishing with nine men.
"It was an eventful day for me," noted Dennis, who bagged the Saints’ second goal (70th) but was later ejected. "My last red card was 12 years ago in Ireland, in the Leinster Senior League," he added.
Vinny Norton (50th) and the burly Gerry Murphy, whose brother Paddy also received marching orders, were the other scorers. Banatul connected through Ljubisa Carisis (10th), and Martin Noci (70th, 80th).
"It’s a game that we without a doubt gave to them because of our earlier misses," Banatul midfielder Zak Ivkovic stated.
Scotsman Roddy Claren, Dan O’Donnell and John Mulligan helped Shamrock top Third Division (East) rivals Barnstonworth Rovers 3-0 at Randalls Island.
At the top of the table, Astoria Gaels won on a forfeit against FC Fenerbahce to open up a four-point lead over Chile FC (26).
Second-placed B.W. Poughkeepsie’s hot Irishman, Sean Murphy, had both goals in his side’s 2-all Second Division (West) tie with Bergen Kickers at Overpeck County Park. Robert Ramirez (two) replied in kind for Kickers.
Clarkstown S.C.’s Jason Bennett also had a brace in the 3-0 defeat of Ukrainian. Barry Reeves was the other scorer. The Clarkstown reserves were beaten, 3-1.
Paddy Flynn, meanwhile, helped Sportfriends record a 2-2 draw with Homenetmen of New York in a bottom of the table clash at Randalls Island.
Jim Fett assisted on Flynn’s goal, while John Cottrell was the other Sportfriends marksman.
Arazmik Nenejian and Aram Mourikian responded for Homenetmen.
Player-coach Kristo Curanovic turned on the style in
New York Dinamo’s 4-2 win over CD Iberia at the top of Division Two (East). He was hacked in the box for a 10th minute penalty, scored five minutes later, and assisted on Mured Ibrahimov’s go-ahead goal (75th).
Ibrahimov, who converted the spot kick, completed his hat trick in the 80th minute as Dinamo moved to within four points of Iberia (33), with two games in hand. Fernando Borgeatt (40th) and Jaime Lijo (55th) were the Iberia scorers.
"It was a great win for us, they have a heck of a team," said Curanovic, whose men celebrated with beer and champagne. "Now we just have to win our remaining three games." Iberia’s reserves run off 5-0 winners.
Also in the Second Division, Steve Tolan (15th), and Doug Goodwin (25th) earned Nag’s Head United a 2-0 decision over New York Wanderers at Randalls.
West leaders Ripenisa-Romania "A" (12-1-1, 37 points) warmed up for their League Cup quarterfinal tussle with Guildea’s Shamrock this Sunday by ripping Krimean Turkish 6-0 at McCarran Park. Christian Codreanu and Godi Michael each scored twice, while Olimpiu Roman and Razvan Anghel had one apiece.
"Mebbe they don’t expect it, but it’s going to be a tough game," Romania boss Anghel Popa said of the Cup date with Shamrock.
In the league, Romania are now three points clear of Sunnyside, who were held to a goalless tie by Serbia.
Clarkstown and SICJA also split points following a 1-all tie. Kotaro Kunimochi netted for the latter.
Coach Rory Finn, who’s 54, could afford to give himself a run as G.H. Metros blanked 10-man Athletic Club 3-0 on strikes by Roger Mattos (60th) and Luis Guyedy (68th, 80th).
"They held us 0-0 at half time, but then a lucky goal by Roger got us going," Finn said, referring to Mattos wickedly spinning shot that was blown into the net by a strong wind at the Metropolitan Oval.
New York Greek-American/Atlas thrashed Serbia 4-1, courtesy of Jose Luis Leva (two), Peter Christofidis and Costas Tsrikas to stay three points clear of Metros (23) at the top in the East.
East bottom side Banatul had a goal from Vasile Nastu in a 3-1 losing effort against Pele Masters.
In the West, top side New York Pancyprians defeated B.W. Gottschee 4-1. Dino Magaloudis (two), Andries and Mario connected. Andreas Britz replied for Gottschee.
Eintracht lost their 11 match, going down 3-1 to Scala Brasil, despite an early goal from Bundy.
For information about joining the Cosmopolitan Soccer League, call (201) 861-6606.