Veteran Scottish centreback Ian Armour prodded home from close range after his initial header was saved in the dying moments, as USRC Gunners snatched a late winner to make it 12 points from 12 against a resilient HK Scottish Stags. Having turned up late and thus come on as sub, a shirtless Armour wheeled away in delight in a moment of madness that would later keep him up all well past his bedtime, reliving nightmares that it had been captured on video. Luckily for him, it hadn’t but the goal and the result was harsh on the Stags who had matched USRC for long periods and indeed created a number of decent chances to get the win themselves, as their manager Tommy Bartles summed up succinctly: “robbed!”
DBFC kept pace with the Gunners, also by a narrow one goal margin as a fluked Dave Morson cross shot from 35 yards ended up being the winning goal as they too overcame a stubborn KCC outfit by 3 goals to two. Cavs were left ruing some early missed chances and were duly punished as Ethan Squires put DB in the lead from a corner. KCC were back level after Gabriel Ho raced through unchallenged from half-way, but Squires added his second just before HT on the counter. Ho got his second for KCC in the second half as they looked to secure their first point in div 1, but the Morson lucky strike put paid to that.
From a fluke to the fantastic at Happy Valley on Saturday, where Club Tropicana boss Kev Reid hailed his sides tika taka football that netted them a 2-0 win over Revolution, in particular the second goal that was “the best we’ve scored this year.” The move was eventually finished off by Joost Van Opstal after some great build up play, and this added to an earlier Tom Portegies strike from close range that had put the Tropics ahead. Revo created some chances in the second half but were kept out by a solid Tropics side who have won their last three on the spin.
Another team in fine form is last year’s division two champs Irish Harps, who remain unbeaten after smashing Cors 7-2 in a game that Cors boss Alex admitted was “frankly a bit of a humiliating result and performance…” In hot conditions at the Valley, Harps were out of sight by half time as Cian McNamara, Liam Grant then a direct free kick from Ronan O’Boyle put them three up. A Grant penalty for handball then a close-range Lee McQuade finish made it 5 with only 40 mins played. It was more of the same after the interval as McNamara got his second from outside the box and McQuade too added his second, though by then Nohman Muhammed had at least got Cors on the scoresheet. Riccardo Chesti got a second late on, but they were outfought in all departments, going down 7-2.
Wanchai Spartans got back on track with a comprehensive win against a tough, well organized J Leaguers 3-1. Not many details on the goals, only that they came courtesy of an outstanding strike from Ali Thompson, then latterly via corners with Dan Barrie and Pete Solomon getting the goals, while Takekazu Hiramatsu netted his sides only goal from the penalty spot. The remaining game to comment on in division one saw Goodfellas narrowly overcome Soho Spartans thanks to a double from Mathieu Demange. In what was a deserved victory on the balance of play, Fellas were denied by the woodwork in the opening exchanges as Soho fought back to gain some momentum going into half time. However, Demange’s clinical finishes handed Fellas the points, as a late Ian Samson goal proved little more than a consolation for Sparts.
On to the second division where the German Boys flew over the Eagles into top spot after beating them 3-1. Nick Gerigk scored early to put Krauts one up, but the Eagles equalized with a Jack Boardman goal. Simon Ranke put Krauts back in front 15 minutes from the end, and Angel Suarez sealed the victory with a penalty late on. Legal Head overcame Samurai Blue on Friday night at TKO at the Japanese lads struggled to get their team there until mid-way through the first half. Samurai felt LH’s GK deserved all the plaudits and had gotten back on level terms through Limbu Rishi Hang after falling behind. I’ll leave it with Mike Frank of Legal Head once again to describe things from his point of view: “Truly there is no place like home as Legal Head finally got revenge on Samurai Blue under the lights of the HKFA TKO Training Facility (naming rights available). A spirited first half saw Legal in complete control. A wonderfully weighted ball from Chris put Mike through the back line, pushing the Samurai Blue defense aside before slotting home to open his account for the season. Legal created many chances but stymied by poor officiating just as frequently, including a shocking no-call as Mike was taken down with only the keeper to beat. Samurai Blue’s midfield fired off some strong efforts from outside of the box but were unable to get closer. El Capitan returned to line-up alongside Medhy, Conor and Sebas, as the back four paid homage to Joe Biden’s resurrection of the Big Blue Wall with a stout defensive effort. Sebas was fearless in defense and regularly pushed his chips into the center of the table for a challenge, winning every time. The second half had barely begun before Samurai Blue levelled and all of a sudden, the seeming inevitability of the first half had vanished. Legal Head was constantly defending. New efforts from the visitors to get forward yielded new opportunities and set pieces that looked sure to deliver a go-ahead goal. Unfortunately for them, Eliott decided no more goals were to be scored at his end of the pitch, parrying multiple strong efforts, one of which seemed to pause time and space before being pulled off the goal line. The inspirational stop fueled Legal to get the ball out of their defensive third and press on for the winner. There is an old saying in football: if you want to win, have your right back snipe the far upper 90 with a laser from 35 yards out. Actually, that saying is new to this match report, but it must be true because Conor keeps dropping cold blooded dimes from other area codes. Keepers literally do not know what hit them. I almost feel badly. Legal was back in the driver’s seat to close out the win, 2-1.”
Mes got their first win of the season after beating Vikings by the odd goal in three after a tight affair, especially in the first half as there were very few chances. Liam Kelly and Anthony Forsyth eventually found a way through for Mes, but they had to work hard to hold onto their lead as Henrik Andersen got one back for Vikings in the second half. Vikings could have snatched a point had the referee not waved away a couple of penalty claims or had a late shot not hit the bar. Also in div two, Old Speckled Men hit Wanchai Wolves for five without reply with Ben Thomson and James Chambers helping themselves to a couple of goals apiece, while Gareth Carter also notched. OSM were two up early via a decent free kick and a left footed rocket into the top corner and pulled away later on, despite some Wolves chances themselves. San P’s also found the onion bag five times against KCC Royals on Monday night who had Luca Merlone’s solitary goal to show for what was a closer game than was reflected in the score-line. Charlie Clack opened the scoring while Reid Bailey finished it off, as an Austin Tenny brace and a Joel Yang strike in between ensured the water boys took home all the points 5-1.
In division three, The Shooters and Bants are separated by goal difference at the top of the table with 3 wins apiece from their first 4 games. Shooters fired their way to the summit after a 5-0 drubbing of Barbarians, in a tough game in hot conditions. Defensive mistakes caught the Barbs out early on, as The Shooters were 3 up inside 10 mins, 4 up at half time and added a fifth after the break thanks to Shinichi Yoshimoto and two each for Haruto Matsumoto and Fuminori Ichimaru. Bants cling onto second spot but lose their unbeaten record as BOC’s took the spoils with a two-nil win. In a fairly even game with chances few and far between, BOC had to wait until the second half before breaking the deadlock, when Kamel Dridi took full advantage of a defensive mix up, before adding a calm second finish past the onrushing keeper moments later. Bants nearly got one back after a goal mouth scramble but had no complaints in a game played in great spirits.
Stray Dogs picked up their second win of the season and leapfrogged HK Zi Jing in the process after defeating them 3-1. Leo Mimasu put the Dogs in front but Zi Jing tied the game through Cheng Zhe. Just 20 seconds later, they were behind again and Stray Dogs got a third from (reading between the lines of the what’s app chat) a retaken penalty kick for encroachment, with the first being saved by HK ZJ’s Jia Ye but the save ultimately counting for nothing. Mimasu with his second and Davis Wilky Lau were the goal scorers in the second half for Stray Dogs. Finally, Dragon Valley held on to beat Dong Feng despite playing much of the game with 10 men. That was because DV had a player who rightly received his marching orders for a shove on his opponent in retaliation for some verbal, but there were no complaints with the decision. Still, a man down did not affect the Valley boys as Dave Reid put them ahead with a lovely piece of skill and finish. Max Remington doubled the lead from the penalty spot, though Dong Feng felt that the awarding was rather generous and a full 10 out of 10 for diving would have been a fairer result. Fang Weng did get a goal back for DF, ironically from the penalty spot after the correct awarding of a spot kick for handball. Although Dong Feng pressed the ten men for the winner, hitting the post and having a second strong claim for a penalty in the dying moments waved away, Dragon Valley held on for a precious three points.