By Jay Mwamba
Skipper Joe Butler struck in the 63rd minute as Astoria Gaels continued to home in on the Cosmopolitan Soccer League’s Metro Div. I leadership with a 1-0 victory over Barnstonworth Rovers at Roosevelt Island last Sunday.
Gaels (8-1-3, 27 points) crept into second place on the standings, two points behind leaders Roosevelt Island International with four matches remaining.
“Next week we play [third-place] Gotham. We’ve had two good wins but it means nothing if we don’t win the next four games. So it’s in our hands,” said Gaels manager Dave Browne, nonetheless pleased with his team’s second win in a week.
The Queens side had shut out Central Park Rangers 3-0 the previous week.
Butler’s goal followed a marvelous move started by left fullback and Gaels Man of the Match, John Beirne, who came out with the ball from defense and passed it to his captain.
Follow us on social media
Keep up to date with the latest news with The Irish Echo
Butler played a one-two with midfielder P.J. Burke then drove a powerful low shot into the far bottom corner.
“Both teams played well but our pressure paid off in the end. It was a hard-fought game,” Browne said.
He acknowledged the contributions of Beirne who was “outstanding, very strong in the tackle and cleaned up behind,” as well as Burke, “a Rolls Royce engine in central midfield.”
Forward Derek McKenna and the central defensive pair of Eugene Kyne and Michael Coyle also came up big, while goalie Timmy Lynch was lauded for keeping Gaels in the game when he pulled off a spectacular save in the first half to keep out a sure goal.
Gaels are locked in a three-way battle for the Metro championship with Roosevelt, who did not play at the weekend, and Gotham FC.
Gotham lost vital ground and ceded second place to Gaels after a 2-2 tie with second from the bottom Central Park at Wards Island. Renato Termali and Stuart Kaiser scored for Gotham.
Shamrock’s middle-of-the-table third team was mauled 5-2 by Krimean Turkish in another Metro Div. I encounter at McCarran Park.
Moroccan Youssef Baidane starred for the Turks with a hat trick (15th, 55th, 65th), while Raf’l Sicheran (5th) and Ali Gul (85th) added one apiece.
Also in Metro Division play, St. Barnabas finally returned to the fray in the spring only to eke out a scoreless draw with Homenetmen at Red Hook.
It was a Herculean effort for the Saints who kicked off with ten players and finished with nine after having a player ejected at the beginning of the second half.
“We were hurting for numbers,” the Saints’ Aidan Dennis said.
Lansdowne Bhoys had the weekend off.
Shamrock were denied full points in the First Division when Polonia forward Mirek Sielszak (75th) canceled out a Paddy Gerathy penalty (25th) to force a 1-1 tie.
Shamrock, whose reserves triumphed 4-1 on goals by Darren Thunder (two), Ari and Aidan Welsh, remain sixth in the 10-club First Division with 18 points and a 4-3-6 (win, loss, draw) record.
Danny Shields, a hat trick hero in Brooklyn Celtic’s 5-1 destruction of GH Metros a week earlier, kept up his impressive form in the Over-30 Division with a quick brace (10th, 19th) in last Sunday’s 3-0 romp over SC Eintracht at Wards Island. Chris Tolken (70th) had the other goal.
“We never seemed to get much flow in the game. We had to dig out the result,” remarked Celtic secretary Jim Murray.
Second-place Celtic (28) stayed six points behind the East’s top side, Pele Masters, who knocked off Brasil 2-0 courtesy of Brentnol Frasier and Lindon Layne.
Metros, meanwhile, rebounded from that 5-1 thrashing by Celtic to beat Guyana Veterans “B” 3-1 on Wards Island, much to the relief of coach Rory Finn.
“About time we won,” Finn said after goals by Steve Bodden, Julio Lopez and Clerio had done the trick.
Noel Sargeant had Guyana’s only response in a meeting between the East’s two bottom sides.
Elsewhere in the Over-30 section, Trevor Burnett, Melvin Johnson and Chris Giles led Guyana Veterans “A” to a 3-2 victory over
Fairfield/Westchester United 3-2, whose Joe Ramalho tallied twice.
There was also a 7-1 shellacking of nine-man BW Gottschee by Athletic Club, on the sharp finishing of Ivan Gazidis (three), Etus Taniguchi (two), Holger Kissell and Bill Saporito.
Luis Mercado got Gottschee’s face-saver from the penalty spot.
Coach Ronan Downs returned from a Dublin vacation to lead First Division champs New York Athletic Club to a much-needed win, 8-1 at the expense of Koha at Eramus High School.
“I’m glad with the result and I hope we can just keep on winning,” offered Downs, whose side was back at full strength after a 3-3 tie with lowly Polonia in his absence the week before.
Dominic Hardy (5th, 15th, 50th) had the requisite hat trick, with Pepper Brill (42nd), John McCallion (45th), Adam Patrowsky (70th), and Billy Cronin (75th) also adding to the tally.
With the win, NYAC (8-2-3, 27) leapfrogged over Koha into third position, eight points adrift of leaders Pancyprian Freedoms, and four behind New York Albanians, both of whom won at the weekend.
NYAC, however, have two games in hand to Pancyprian, who got a 2-0 decision over Fairfield after the latter forfeited.
Albanians, on the other, defeated Ridgewood Romac 3-1 at Evander Childs High School. Roland Demo (5th, 80th) and Rocky Bojovic (60th) scored.
A week after clinching promotion to the First Division from Div. Two (West), Mike Fitzgerald’s Manhattan Kickers went out and avenged their only blemish on an 11-1-1 (34) record by trouncing Banatul 3-1 at Randalls Island.
English ace Joe Whiteman (23rd, 32nd) and Richie Webb (58th) connected for Kickers who’ve been undefeated since a 2-0 loss to Banatul on the opening day of the 2001-2002 season last fall.
Kickers reserves lost 2-0.