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Rocks stun Albanians, grab share of 1st

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

Shamrock’s fifth straight victory put the Billy Henderson-coached side on the 19-point mark, level with Albanians and Pancyprian Freedoms, who knocked off Ridgewood Romac 4-2, at the top of the table.
Celebrating the memorable conquest over the defending champs at a Queens Boulevard watering hole later, Henderson admitted to being apprehensive before kickoff because of his team’s subdued pre-game mood.
But it took Daley, Shamrock’s top scorer, less than a minute to settle the boss’s nerves with a rocket into the roof of the net for his 13th strike of the season.
Buoyed by this, Shamrock poured on the pressure with the idea of killing off the Albanians. However, the windy conditions and Albanians’ experience conspired to stymie their passing game.
“We started off on fire, but it was very windy and they closed us down making passing very difficult,” Henderson said.
The Albanians eventually clawed back into the game and equalized in the 35th minute when Shamrock gave up a free kick outside the box. Mario, a 20-year-old striker recently acquired by the champions, headed in the free kick.
Undaunted, Shamrock went on the offensive after the break.
“Attack, attack, attack,” Henderson emphasized.
The Albanians held out until the 70th minute when Daley broke through again and fired at goal. His shot was blocked and rebounded to Lucky Williams, whose volley broke the deadlock.
“This is a big result for the club,” said Henderson, at the helm now for 18 months. “We’re playing well and the club is buzzing.”
He singled out Dave McFarlane, MVP Bingo O’Driscoll, and John Ward for their contributions.
Albanian boss Martin Shkreli blamed his side’s defeat on poor finishing, while lauding Shamrock’s performance.
“As I said earlier, they are a good side,” he added.
The five-game winning streak represents Shamrock’s best run ever in the CSL top flight. And with the First Division’s whipping boys, Manhattan Kickers, up next in a make-up fixture this Sunday, it could be six in a row for the Rocks after the Thanksgiving weekend.
Shamrock go into the holiday with a 6-2-1 record.

RESERVE ROUT
In the curtain raiser at Msgr. McClancy, the Shamrock reserves struggled early against nine-man Albanians, before going on a second half scoring spree once the visitors had a full side. Shamrock prevailed 5-1.
Albanians had only nine men on the field when they took the lead in the 10th minute. They were still shorthanded when Mark Dillon leveled in the 30th minute.
In the second half, a quick John Walsh brace (50th, 53rd), a thunderbolt by Tom Whitty from a Niall Swan cross (70th), and Swan’s easy tap-in (80th) finished off the Albanians.
“Very fair game. We played well,” Swan said.
Undefeated Shamrock (5-0-4, 19) stayed a point behind the Athletic Club second team (20), at the top of the Reserve standings. NYAC edged Barnstonworth 1-0.

NYAC REVIVAL
Khouri Mullings (20th) and Billy Cronin (88th) tallied as NYAC’s first team continued its revival with a 2-0 win over Barnstonworth Rovers at Roosevelt Island.
“Not a pretty game by any means. But all we wanted were the three points,” NYAC coach Ronan Downs said.
The six-time champs (5-3-1, 16) remain in contention for a seventh title.

RUNAWAY BHOYS
C.J. Doherty took Lansdowne Bhoys seven points clear in Metro Div. I with his double strike in a 2-0 decision over Manhattan Celtic 2-0 at East River Park.
“It wasn’t a game for the faint-hearted,” remarked Bhoys president Eamonn Duffy. “Manhattan Celtic are a pretty physical team.”
Doherty’s opener was a breath-taking lob from 30 yards that caught the Celtic goalie off his line in the 10th minute.
No. 2 followed a through ball from Paul Johnson that Doherty latched on before beating a defender and scoring (65th).
The Celtic goalie later redeemed himself for his earlier howler by denying Doherty a hat trick with a brilliant save from 20 yards.
“Our defense played well on a bad field. We dug in and got the result,” Duffy said.
Celtic’s John Marron had no arguments about the outcome. “They were the better team,” he admitted.
Lansdowne improved to 8-1-1 (25), seven points clear of Kandia (18), who had goals from Chris Pandora and Mike Rivers in a 2-2 tie with second- from-the-bottom Shamrock at Msgr. McClancy.

GAELS CLINCHER
Rob Ormond ended a run of poor results for Astoria Gaels in Metro Div. I with a last-gasp goal in 1-0 win over Central Park Rangers at Wards Island.
Gaels’ second victory in 10 tries followed a goalmouth scramble on the stroke of full time.
“We found out how to win again,” manager Dave Browne joked.
Browne was equally cheered by the return of the oft-injured Timmy Lynch, who showed his excellent form between the goalposts.
Gaels, however, had to shuffle their deck a bit in the absence of linkman P.J. Burke, pairing John Beirne and Joe Butler in the center of midfield, where both stood out.
“They were brilliant. Central Park couldn’t come through the middle,” said Browne, who named Butler Man of the Match.
Gaels (2-3-5, 11) are third from the bottom.
In other Metro action, Tony Delorenzo and Mike Quinn connected in Gotham FC’s 2-1 squeaker over BW Gottschee, whose Hugo Correa scored, while ASA McCarthy edged Magura 3-2, courtesy of Zander Price, Joe Shanahan and Chris Felley.

CELTIC WIN
Brooklyn Celtic’s sixth win of the season in the Over-30 Division came at the expense of the Shamrock veterans, who were thrashed 5-0.
Danny Shields, Wesley Baines, Sean Conaghan, Colin Passey and Victor struck for second-placed Celtic (16).
At Wards Island, Javier’s hat trick and another goal by Steve Bodden led GH Metros to a 4-1 win over Guyana Veterans “B”. Robert Meertins accounted for Guyana’s lone effort.
“It was a good game, back and forth, until we opened it up in the second half,” said Metros coach Rory Finn.

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CHECKMATE
Eleven United’s title chase in the Metro Soccer League suffered a minor blow when they drew 0-0 with Price Waterhouse last week.
The second-placed Irish side needed three wins from their remaining fixtures to sew it up but can still pull it off if they avoid defeat in their next game.
“We’re a bit disappointed. It will probably go down to goal difference,” Niall Swan said.

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