Divisions 2 and 3 kicked off post-split this week following Hong Kong’s version of the winter break. After feeling the chill and bite of a football-free February, the return of league action provided the early shoots of spring; thawing the aging muscles and warming the cockles to provide yet another entertaining weekend of unpredictability. The first fixtures in the year of the pig saw some crackling football (in addition to some swines) with everyone keen to bring home the bacon.
Mes went into their early Saturday game with Dragon Valley as strong favorites, leading the division thanks to an incredible goal difference, unbeaten all season and having just dismantled Div 1 opposition in the cup. So the stage was set but the script was so very nearly torched by a fiery Dragons side. Max Remington rampaged through the middle to square for Kazu Araki to open the scoring in the first half for DV before Nicolas Cottely equalized with a tidy finish from the edge of the box. Second half saw both sides go blow for blow as Max Remington finished off a counter to restore the lead. It looked like this would be enough to condemn Mes to their first defeat of the season but in the final minute a succession of corners lead to an unfortunate OG meaning the unbeaten record remains intact but the door opens for the chasing pack.
One side looking to capitalize were Revolution who knew that with San Pells not playing they could move within 1 point of the promotion spots. After 4 weeks without action a slow start could be expected but this did not transpire as Revo went for the Wolves throat straight from kick off, winning the ball high up the pitch allowing Matt Creighton to cut inside and finish smartly for an early lead. From there the Revo boys never looked back and despite VAR (read dithering officials) ruling out a penalty the ref had initially given, the score was 4-0 by half time thanks to Matt Creighton bagging his second and Jamie Kelly matching the feat. Wolves showed some pride second half but were slightly toothless on this occasion and Geoffrey Gardiner was able to break away to make it 5 and round off an attention grabbing win for the promotion hopefuls.
The final game in Div 2 this week took place at Kings Park with a KCC derby on Monday night. There was a sense that Cavs would need to win in order to keep pace at the top and take advantage of Mes’ rare slip. Their club rivals however were in no mood to help out as experience saw off youth in a fairly comfortable 3-1 victory for Royals. Despite having less of the ball, Royals used it far more effectively than their opponents with Sam Wolstenholme (2) and Paul McGunnigle denting Cavs hopes. Nikhil Narwani grabbed his customary goal but this was just mere consolation for his side who will now turn their attentions to a must win fixture against Revo next up.
The race for the Division 3 crown is tighter than a Scotsman in a recession with 5 teams all in with a realistic shout of being crowned champions. Of the top 3, only Shui Wei were able to claim all 3 points as they gained revenge over MBFC with a 3-0 success. MBFC were struggling with numbers and made to pay as Evan Forrester, Tristan Massart and Leo Chan made good use of the space to ease their side to victory.
Vikings were held 2-2 by BOC in an entertaining game at Kowloon Tsai. Jason Lee had helped himself to a brace to give BOC a shock lead and they almost made it 3 as they saw one cleared off the line in the second half. That spurred Vikings in to life and proving that fortune favors the brave, the switch to a gung-ho 2-5-3 formation helped salvage a point late on thanks to Eric Yau and (apparently) Kasper Nielsen……..no bias in the match report for awarding the goal I’m sure……
Matching the result were Samurai Blue and Shooters as the bottom club picked up a rare and unexpected point. Chris Cocoran had given Sam Blue the lead mid-way in to the second half but Shooters hit back to edge in front through Shintarou Koba and Hiroshi Uehara as both sides battled with the elements. Chris Cocoran struck again to bring the scores level but neither were able to find the winner as the game petered out to a fair conclusion.
Legal Head could be classed as the league’s entertainers this season with a feel of (an even leakier) Keegan’s Newcastle about them as they were involved in another ding-dong encounter with plenty of goals. Young Guns were the grateful side on this occasion as they pounced on a slow start and defensive errors to soar in to a 4-0 lead with Ben Ng helping himself to a hat-trick and an OG piling on the Head-ache. LH did hit back though with ‘Tall Mike’ (Michael Frank) and Arturo Salazar adding some respectability to the final result.
Awaiting Division 1 Report
Div 1 scores:
Krauts 0 - 0 USRC Gunners
HK Scottish 1 - 2 J Leaguers
Club Tropicana 0 - 7 Wan Chai Spartans
Bants 2 - 3 Soho Spartans
Forward 3 - 3 Corinthians
DBFC 2 - 0 Goodfellas
Goodfellas 1 - 5 HK Scottish