CSL MID WINTER MATCH DAY!

By Jay Mwamba

Several CSL clubs came out of hibernation last Sunday on a rare weekend of mid-winter make-up games. The big winners on a chilly rain-soaked afternoon included First Division defending champs New York Greek Americans, undefeated Metro Div. One pacesetters FC Ulqini and Over-30 Irish titans Shamrocks.
 
MURPHY RULES
New York Athletic Club left Massapequa’s John J. Burns Park ruing several missed opportunities in a 3-2 loss to the Greeks in their mid-table duel on Long Island.
 
“Wind was a major factor for both teams,” said NYAC boss Erik Bagwell. “We gave up two goals very early in the match and once the second half started, within 15 minutes we were tied 2-2.”
 
NYAC’s Alejandro Sucre and Laurin Vogel pegged back goals by Tyler Botte and Colin Murphy.
 
“Then with about 10 or 15  minutes left in the match we gave up a really bad goal on a turnover in our defensive [half],” added Bagwell.
 
Murphy struck again to snatch full points.
 
“[It] could have really been anyone's game. We had our chances and didn't convert,” sighed Bagwell.
 
The Greeks, who upped their ledger to 4-3-2 [15], 10 points adrift of unbeaten leaders Lansdowne Bhoys, had the same feeling.
 
“Multiple missed opportunities on [our] end," remarked NYGA’s Tom Bouklis
 
SPLIT POINTS
In a clash between the top flight’s second and third place teams, Shamrocks, the latter, conceded a late goal in a 1-1 road tie at St. John’s University.
 
“Abou scored for us. We had some chances and so did Pancyprian,” conceded Kevin Grogan, a former Irish youth international and Manchester United starlet. “All in all, a tie was a fair result.”
 
Abou’s 75th minute strike for the Rocks was cancelled out by Andreas Chronis’ volley some nine minutes.  
 
“[It] was a good open game in which we missed four to five chances,” said Pancyprian’s Panayiotis Onisiforou. “We should have had a comfortable lead by half time. Shamrock didn’t back down, they came to win and caused us a few problems. Ultimately it was our game to win with the chances we had created.”
 
Still, the result kept the undefeated Greek-Cypriots [5-0-4, 19] two points ahead of the Shamrocks [5-2-2, 17] in second place.
 
DENNEHY’S BASHED
In what was akin to a top-of-the-table encounter behind closed doors, Metro Div. One giants Mr. Dennehy’s and FC Ulqini met on Staten Island with the latter prevailing 4-0 to open up an eight-point lead.
 
The romp also preserved Ulqini’s hundred percent record [9-0, 27]. Dennehy’s dropped to 6-1-2 [19].
 
 “The game started and there was too much rain. But champions FC Ulqini played hard like always,” proudly declared Disi Disi.
 
They scored three times from corners -- courtesy of Fjodor Cepe, an own goal and Gledis Nuza. Edo Uruchi bagged the fourth.
 
FOGGY NIGHT
 Flushing FC, meanwhile, came from behind to decision Missile FC 2-1 and vault over the upstate side into second place on the Metro Two North log.  
 
“On a foggy night in Hillburn NY, the Warriors came away with three points against the defensive powerhouse Missile,” reported Flushing FC manager Ryan Wiedman.
 
 “Missile struck first with a miscommunication in our back field, going up 1-0 at 10 minutes,” he said. 
 
Jeff Durosier scored. 
 
“Flushing FC bounced back, with [Edyson] Salnave slotting the equalizer in the 33rd minute.
 
“[Then] Chris Prada drove into the box in the 40th minute and was awarded a penalty after a tackle from behind. He was able to convert from the spot to make it 2-1. 
 
“Flushing FC went into defensive mode in the second half, and kept the score the same until the final whistle.”
 
The victory moved the Queens outfit [6-1-2, 19] to within five points of North leaders Inter New York SA.
 
 EINTRACHT SLIP
Also in Metro Two, Patricio Guaiquil and Hasan Redzic were on target in SC Eintracht’s 3-2 loss to New York United on Randalls Island.
 
FC Partizani had a 3-0 forfeit win over AO Brooklyn.
 
IRISH STARS
Dave Harvey set up both goals in the Shamrock Over-30s’ 2-0 defeat of Irish rivals Manhattan Celtic Legends on Randalls Island.
 
Harvey’s first assist – converted by Mark Finn -- broke the deadlock five minutes into the second half. His second enabled debutant Tommy Toal to open his account with a cracker of a volley from the edge of the box [70th].
 
“Great team battle versus a very good Celtic side,” observed winning coach Paddy McCarry.
 
“[Goalie] Robbie [O’Neill] made two great saves in the first half to keep it scoreless,” he added. “Johnny McGeeney also hit the crossbar for us in first half. It was a tale of two halves with Celtic better in first and we the better team in the second half. Glad to start the spring with three points.”
 
He bestowed Man of the Match honors on midfielder Pat Kelly. 
 
The most dominant Over-30 side in the CSL with multiple titles, Shamrocks [7-2-1, 23] cut undefeated Manhattan Kickers Premier’s lead atop the East to two points – albeit Kickers [8-0-1, 25] have a game in hand.
 
 PADDY BRACE
Elsewhere on Randalls Island, Paddy Geraghty’s brace earned the Shamrock Legends a 2-1 decision over Manhattan Kickers Legends.
 
Gilad Bloom replied for Kickers in the Over-38 fixture.

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