By Jay Mwamba
Anton McKeon and Fran Morgan struck once in each half to steer resurgent St. Barnabas to a 2-0 victory over Fairfield/Westchester United, in a Cosmopolitan Soccer League match at SUNY-Purchase Sunday.
The Saints (3-2-1, 10 points) made what seemed a modest climb on the First Division standings into sixth place, but with two games in hand to the front runners, they are back in the title race.
"We’re creeping back into contention," club official Aidan Dennis said. "It was a great result for us under tough, windy conditions."
Fairfield had no qualms about the result. "They’re a very good side. They deserved to win," Fairfield’s Gary Megennis remarked.
There was more drama in the reserve fixture which the visitors led 2-0, before Vinnie Norton (two) and the in-form Tommy Whitty bagged it via a 3-2 scoreline.
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Next up for St. Barnabas this weekend are Shamrock S.C., who succumbed 2-1 to Ronan Downs’s New York Athletic Club at Downing Stadium and dropped into seventh position (10).
Tim Cummins’s 43rd minute effort kept Shamrock hopes of a famous victory over the defending champs alive. But the gusty afternoon belonged to NYAC reserve Gerard Legassi who shone on his first team debut with a brace (18th, 55th).
"They had three chances, they scored two goals. We had six or seven chances and scored once," Shamrock coach Dermot Clarke lamented.
His NYAC opposite, Ronan Downs, lauded goalie Jim Feuerborn for sealing the win with two outstanding saves late in the game.
"We wanted the points. We were the better side," the Dubliner added.
Shamrock’s reserves were shutout 2-0, but the ‘Rocks Third Division side held on to first place with a 3-1 decision over Solas, who are partly owned by Ronan Downs. Declan O’Rourke (two) and Willie Murphy connected for the 7-1-0 (21 points) Shamrock, while Samuel O’Connor hit back for Solas.
"It was good to get back at Ronan," Clarke said, joking.
There was no quit in Lansdowne after defender Tom McGraw was ejected in the 40th minute of their game against Second Division West leaders Koha at Van Cortland. The fifth-placed Bronx side (10) kept battling until Simon Hopkins’s cracking equalizer earned them a point from a thrilling 2-2 tie.
"I think they’re the best side in the league," Lansdowne forward Stephen Cassidy said. "It was a good, tough game."
Fikret Celaj (30th, 40th) was Koha’s two-goal hero, his second coming from the spot after McGraw had been dismissed for hand ball.
Lansdowne, however, closed ranks and were rewarded by Hopkins’ Brazilian-style free-kick (72nd) from 25 yards.
Cassidy named defender Paul "Donegal" Doherty and goalie Bobby Sands as Lansdowne’s other standouts.
Eddie Flynn scored for the Lansdowne reserves in their 1-all tie.
Nestor Allen and Gerald O’Brien got on the scoresheet for troubled Astoria Gaels, but couldn’t prevent a 6-2 rout at the hands of Barnstonworth Rovers, in another Second Division encounter. Michael Sweeney was on the mark for the Gaels reserves who crashed 6-1.
New York Albanians’ fifth straight win, 3-0 over Polonia S.C., opened up a three-point lead over the field at the top.
Ronald Dambo (35th), Nino Pjetri (55th) and Rocky Bojovic (90th) were on target for Albanians (6-3-0, 18) in the Bronx. The Polonia reserves triumphed 4-2.
New York Dinamo and New York Hungaria remained joint second (15) after a 2-2 tie. Csaba Molner (15th) and Joe Tasko (50th) tallied for the latter, while Tony Camaj (35th pen) and Mured Ibrahimov (85th) replied for Dinamo, whose reserves forfeited.
Norman Pile (56th, 81st) and Mark Toews (67th) moved red-hot Manhattan Kickers to within a point of Div. II (East) pace-setters CD Iberia (16) after a 3-0 romp over New York Wanderers at Randalls Island.
"The first half was a nail-biter and could have gone either way," Kickers’ player-coach Mike Fitzgerald observed. "We’re more a second-half team, and came out and took charge after the interval."
The reserves drew 2-2.
Iberia went down 2-1 to S.C. Eintracht, also at Randalls, for their first loss of the season. Eric Oram (12th, 86th) netted both Eintracht goals, while Juan Carlos Fontenada struck for Iberia.
Brian Kennedy (65th) salvaged a point for B.W. Poughkeepsie in their 2-all tie with Homenetmen at Red Hook in Brooklyn. Roger Vargas (2nd) was the other scorer, while Homenetmen’s Aram Nourikian (5th) and Antranik Balian (50th) connected.
The Poughkeepsie reserves took a 1-0 decision.
In other Div. II action, Clarkstown S.C. dispatched Bergen Kickers 3-0 courtesy of Danny McNulty (10th), Mike (55th), and Christian Apolayan (93rd), while Ukrainian picked up their first win of the season, at the expense of Nag’s Head United. Denis Iofee (12th, 30th, 85th) and Nazmi Durakovic (40th) knocked off Nag’s, who also conceded an own goal.
Clarkstown’s reserves also won, 3-1, but the Ukrainian bench was upset by the same margin.
Guyana Juniors went on a scoring spree against Fenerbahce to move into second position, three points behind Shamrock. Steve Bishop (three), Lloyd Lashley (two), Roger Benjamin, Christopher Giles, Quincy Jeune and Christopher Stewart tallied in a 9-1 rout.
Ridgewood were the other big winners at the weekend, swamping CD Iberia 8-0 in Long Island City. Robert Cretulescu (four), Dan Ciabuca (two), Bacalu Sofrone, and Vasile Nastu delivered.
Cem Sihin got the only goal of the match in fourth-placed Sunnyside Genclik’s victory over Chile, while SICJA edged Barnstonworth Rovers 2-1 at Roosevelt Island on strikes by Satoshi Iida (30th) and Shin Furutate (60th).
G.H. Metros and Guyana Metros tied 1-all in what kicked off as a clash between the top sides in the East and West. Steve Bodden scored for Metros (17) who lead the East, while David Simpson was on target for Guyana, who, at the end of the day, had lost the lead in the West to Scala Brasil.
"Both sides played very well. We came back feeling happy to get a tie," Metros coach Rory Finn said.
Scala Brasil (18) capitalized on Guyana’s tie to claim the West leadership with a 2-0 result over Eintracht. Milton DaSilva and Francisco Gomes produced the win.
Paulo Serferle had a hat-trick, while Ivan Gazidis (two) and Holger Kissel also chipped in to power NYAC past Greek-American/Atlas 7-1. Gus Tsirkas had the Greeks’ consolation goal.
Banatul S.C. got off to a false start against Fairfield/Westchester United, taking a 2-0 lead on goals by Robert Bogadanov and Philip only to crash 9-3.
Martin Franklin (four), Luis Mora (two), Joe Ramalho (two) and Howard Mattsson were the Fairfield hitmen. "We run out of steam," said Banatul’s John Lotrijan, who scored his team’s third goal.
Clemont Chung (two) and Sam Bumbury handed Pele Masters victory over B.W. Gottschee, whose Carlos Arauje connected, while Steve Grech and Marios helped New York Pancyprians subdue Serbia S.C. 2-1.