Still, the result was a bit of a disappointment for the Bhoys, who blew a 3-1 second-half lead on a crisp, cold, morning.
“We’re going into the break happy, though,” shrugged club president Eamonn Duffy, not wanting to put a damper on the Bhoys’ brilliant fall season.
He attributed their late collapse against CPR to a lack of concentration brought upon by a three-week layoff.
Lansdowne indeed got off to a rocky start in their first match since blanking Manhattan Celtic 2-0 on Nov. 24. They trailed early after Jimmy Whited’s icebreaker (5th), although Johnny McFadden leveled in the 20th minute.
Lansdowne slowly found their rhythm as the game progressed. In the 35th minute, Brendan Moran beat a defender and struck from close range to make it 2-1. Moran was also involved in the Bhoys’ third goal, winning the penalty from which Mogo scored (55th) to put Rangers in a 3-1 hole.
But the visitors then lost the plot, allowing Dave Lovercheck to pull one goal back from the penalty spot (75th) and, five minutes from time, to net CPR’s equalizer.
“They got a very dubious penalty,” Duffy claimed, questioning Lovercheck’s spot kick, which was awarded for a handball. “And the equalizer came from a cross that wasn’t cleared.”
Overall, Duffy and the Lansdowne lads will still be proud of their 8-1-2 (win, loss, draw) record at the halfway point, with promotion to the Second Division beckoning.
Kandia, their closest pursuers in Metro Div. 1, are 5-2-4 (19).
Hitherto First Division joint leaders Shamrock took a break from their league title quest last Sunday expecting to continue their pursuit of the League Cup they won in 1999 and 2000.
However, their match with Manhattan Celtic scheduled for Msgr. McClancy High School was postponed at the last minute.
Awaiting the winner of the Shamrock-Celtic tie in the quarterfinals are Kandia, who knocked off New York Fury 5-2 at Herbert Lehman High School.
Michael Bailey (pen.), Dave Taylor (two) and Layton Mattias (two) tallied for Kandia.
Pancyprian Freedoms (7-0-2, 23) moved a point ahead of idle Shamrock at the top of the First Division after pulling off one of the most dramatic escapes in football at any level.
They tied 2-2 with Koha before an estimated 500 spectators at Erasmus High School with two goals in injury time (90th, 91st).
“We gave it away,” lamented Koha boss Omer Hakramaj. “We outplayed them and led 2-0 until the 90th minute.”
Fikret Celaj (65th) and Fatos Selimi (72nd) had Koha cruising until Pancyprian struck back through Julio DeSantos and Amdy Daniel.
The reserves tied 1-1.
Mike Fitzgerald’s Manhattan Kickers threw themselves a lifeline in their relegation battle while casting Ronan Downs’ New York Athletic Club further adrift of the pace-setters with a thrilling 2-2 draw at the East 6th Street Field in lower Manhattan.
“I’m ecstatic about it. It ends the season on a happy note,” said Fitzgerald, Kickers’ coach/goalie, whose embattled side snapped a six-match losing streak with their best performance off the season.
Despite fielding a hodge-podge side, NYAC went 2-0 up on John McCallion’s 25th minute penalty and a Dominic Hardy goal (35th).
Kickers, with only one win in the fall, rallied back. John Slover scored from an acute angle following a great run on the right flank (40th) to reduce the arrears before the interval. On resumption, Rich Webb, who once played professional soccer in Hong Kong, equalized with a powerful free-kick (75th).
Said coach Downs, who was missing many of his starters, including former MetroStars Brian Kelly and Mike Semioli: “I think 2-2 was a fair result.”
NYAC (5-3-2) go into the break in fourth position, six points behind Pancyprian.
Kickers, whose reserves lost 3-0, are now 1-6-3 (6) and ninth out of the ten clubs in Division One.
Sergio (30th), Steve Bodden (75th) and Clerio Braga (85th) delivered long-time GH Metros coach Rory Finn an early Christmas present in the form of a 3-1 victory over Barnstonworth Rovers in an Over-30 fixture at Roosevelt Island.
“It’s about time we won again,” Finn remarked.
Metros, 4-4-1 (13), are fourth in ‘B’ Division East.
Also in the Over-30s, Brooklyn Celtic crashed 4-1 to Brasil at the Shore Road Field.
Dudu snatched a hat trick for the Brazilians, whose other goal came from Maia.