By Jay Mwamba
Front Row Soccer Editor
Spring’s first full slate of matches saw undefeated Lansdowne Bhoys edge Zum Schneider 2-1 on Randalls Island last Sunday to move five points clear atop the Cosmopolitan Soccer League First Division.
In pursuit of a fourth straight league title, the Bhoys were buoyed by second place Shamrock’s 2-1 loss to New York Athletic Club on Travers Island to extend their lead [10-0-2, 32 points].
Towering German forward Yannick Reyering nodded Lansdowne ahead [10th minute] against Zum. Kyle Green leveled before the break, but a 70th-minute penalty won by Marco Nunez and converted by Ibrahim Diaby earned the Irishmen the full points.
“[We] had another couple of chances with [Ovan] Oakley and [Daryl] Kavanagh both going close but had to fight hard till the end to secure the three points,” club president William McGrory said.
Lansdowne’s reserves prevailed 5-3 in a thriller. Zum ‘B’ went down fighting, Jepherson Vernaza-Martinez twice pegging back the Bhoys before a gem of a goal by Ceasar Lopez. He beat four defenders and the goalkeeper to cut the deficit to 4-3.
Reserve champs and first-place Lansdowne had an own goal and strikes from Carson Pryor, Mike Corbi, Brian Kenny and Mark Vilson in the win.
On Travers Island, Kevin Grogan’s Shamrocks lost vital ground on Lansdowne after slipping 2-1 to NYAC.
Kwesi Mills-Odoi shot the Rocks ahead before the interval. But an Alejandro Sucre volley and Laurin Vogel’s superb finish on the break [75th] nicked it for NYAC.
“We were average at best,” said Grogan, Shamrock coach. “Three players tried to grab the game by the scruff of the neck but others seemed too laid back about the whole situation.”
Although five points off the pace, the Rocks have a game in hand to Lansdowne.
Shamrock’s second unit squandered a two-goal halftime lead in a 2-all draw with NYAC ‘B.’ The hosts’ Jon Amable and Andrew Meisel canceled out first-half goals by skipper Paul McDaid and Joey Aronovsky.
“At half-time, I wanted us to kick on because we knew the next goal was going to be very important but it wasn’t to be,” coach John Riordan said.
“Great effort from both teams, either team could have won it,” said NYAC boss Bill Saporito.
Willie Botty and Adam Himeno connected as Pancyprian Freedoms pipped Cedar Stars Academy 2-1 at St. John’s University to go third on the standings [6-1-4, 19] at Cedar’s expense.
Debutant Matthieu Le Roux scored for the visitors.
“We were outplayed,” said Cedar head coach and team owner Oliver Papraniku, while lamenting an offside call against his side. “We have to try harder in future. Matthieu scored on his debut to tie it up, but a last minute score off of a great save by Andrew Tartara did us in.”
Josue Ortiz [two] and Augustine Clifford netted in the Cedar reserves’ 3-2 decision.
The New York Greek Americans triumphed 3-2 at the Met Oval in their second ever Hellenic derby match with Doxa, the promotion side coached by NYGA legend Paul Grafas.
NYGA had a familiar look about them following the return of several members of their 2014 national amateur championship winning side, including midfielder Stephen Roche. The Irishman struck twice after Patrick Figuerido’s equalizer.
Kurt Cameron had stunned NYGA after what Doxa’s Foti Bouklis termed a “back and forth struggle” at the start. Down 3-1, Doxa staged a late rally to pull one back through Kareem Joachim.
“Extremely great and skillful game by both sides,” Bouklis said.
His brother Tom Bouklis in the opposing camp was ecstatic. “We are very excited to have a number of past NYGA players return to the club including, Shaun Foster, Stephen Roche, Daniel Gwyther, Joe Ruesgen and Stephen Megaloudis. We expect to be as competitive as ever in every game moving forward!” he said.
Edo Ahetemovic scored in the Doxa reserves’ 2-1 loss to second place NYGA ‘B.’
Ten-man Manhattan Celtic fought back to tie Polonia 1-1 on Randalls Island.
“We gave up a penalty about 30 minutes in,” said head coach Scott Rowling. “Our center back got a red card five minutes into the second half. We scored in the 70th minute to tie it.”
Abou Kaba equalized off Ibrahima Bah’s assist.
The Celtic reserves romped to a 5-1 victory.
Mid-table FC Spring Valley battled to an exciting 3-3 tie with new Division Two North leaders NYPD FC at Flushing Meadow.
Saul Ramirez, Roberto Garcia and Dennis Reyes connected for the Long Islanders, whose reserves also drew 1-1.
“We were down 2-0 and battled back to take the lead 3-2 but couldn’t hold on,” said Juan Pablo Ramirez. “Both teams finished with 10 players.”
Brishna’s Mashriqi footballing family produced another win in Division Two, holding off Sporting Astoria 4-2 at Soundview Park.
Idris Mashriqi [two], Abdullah Mashriqi and Mohammad Yosef Mashriqi, all related, scored to keep the Afghani side [6-4, 18] in third place, a point ahead of Bronx Supreme.
Bronx, for their part, defeated CD Iberia 3-1 on Randalls Island with Ken Frimpong, Kwesi Kwadwo and Yaw Sarpong on target.
Michael Rodriguez replied for Iberia.
“We came out flat and saw ourselves down 2-0 in the first half. We must have hit the post at least 3 times [it] just wasn’t our game,” Iberia’s Chiki Vazquez said.
Mohammed Zakzok’s brace in the curtain raiser brought Iberia from two-zero down to earn them a share of the points.
Jeff Natale’s late double for Hoboken FC snatched a 2-1 win over Stal Mielec at Laurel Hill Park, moving the Jersey side into sole second place in Division II South.
Stal went ahead on an own goal [34th] before Natale’s late heroics [72nd, 80th] upped Hoboken to 7-1-2 , three points behind leaders Manhattan Kickers and now three ahead of Stal.
Hoboken’s reserves also won 2-1, thanks to Steve Korfiatis [3rd] and Sam Omosuyi [60th].
“Big wins for both squads,” quipped Bill Marth.
CPR Reds had goals from Donal O’Cofaigh and Blake Berg in a 3-2 loss to Manhattan Kickers, who grabbed a late winner on Randalls Island.
Chris Hall and Mahamadou Diaby [two] crafted the Kicker victory.
This occurred after the CPR reserves’ Jordan Reid and Kickers’ Danny Challita had exchanged goals in a 1-all draw.
FAMILY AFFAIR II
The New York Ukrainians’ Munoz brothers, Andres and Chris, notched a combined five goals between them in a 7-1 drubbing of FC Japan on Randalls Island.
Andres got one and Chris four. David Alkasimi accounted for the other two for Steve Kovalenko’s mid-table outfit.
Earlier, Nazar Zarichnyy and Boris Shapoval [pen.] starred in the Ukrainian seconds’ 2-0 decision.
A brace apiece by Pawad Ahmad and Yonis Mohammad scripted a 4-3 NY Ittihad victory over Beyond FC on Randalls Island.
Sergio Gomez, Deepak Mangwani and Dane Arpino replied for the Jersey visitors, whose second unit prevailed 4-2.
Obi Aquino, Panos Pantazis, James Cousins and Karl Friedrich connected in that one.
It ended all square on Staten Island where frontrunners Williamsburg and Korabi produced an eight-goal thriller in their Metro Div. One top-of-the-table clash.
Mark Gallagher starred with a first half leveler and three assists, including the corner from which Nicolas Mikolenko nodded in a stoppage time equalizer.
John Kaddo [two] was the other beneficiary of Gallagher’s assists.
Williamsburg [9-2-1, 29] stay four points clear of Korabi, albeit the latter have a game in hand.
At the Verrazano Sports Complex, Emre Tetik [47th, 50th, 55th] hit a hat trick in Ridgewood Romac’s 4-1 mauling of Mola SC.
Paul Duca [36th] was the other marksman for third place Ridgewood [7-4, 21].
Jesus Blanco got Mola’s face-saver.
Bledi Kovaci [two], Aladji Kourouma and Mikel Agaraj were on at Tibbetts Brook Park where NYFC Illiria crushed Lansdowne’s Metro One side 4-0.
Elsewhere in Metro One, Gotham Argo’s Federico Testi struck twice in a 3-1 defeat of Shamrock 1960 on Randalls Island.
He connected after NanaYaw Panford had drawn first blood off Nicholas Chang’s assist.
Testi’s first was set up by Eric “Gonzo” Goncalves. Marcos Coto-Batres had the second assist.
Dave Harvey got one back for Shamrock.
Daniel Cano was a hat trick hero in East pace-setters Mr. Dennehy’s 5-0 drubbing of Missile FC on Staten Island.
They also benefited from an own goal and a Filipe Lobato effort as they improved to 9-1 , four clear of New York United FC who beat Richmond County 2-0.
Another Daniel, AO Brooklyn’s Daniel Breslauer, banged in all three for his side who blanked SC Eintracht.
Metro Two West leaders BW Gottschee showed no drop in form after the winter break with a 5-1 romp over Williamsburg II on Staten Island to remain unbeaten [9-0-2, 29] three points clear.
“The first 20 minutes were very competitive with Williamsburg winning almost everything in the air in their own 18-yard box but the introduction of Greg Davis changed the ebb and flow of the game in Gottschee’s favor,” assistant coach John Ryding said.
What followed was a blitz of goals. Davis set up captain Dion Amvrosiatos for the opener and after Chris Kilcarr had got the second, converted a penalty himself.
Sean Towey got Gottschee’s fourth before the break and on resumption, Yann Micuta, assisted by goalie Steve Flinchbaugh, netted Williamsburg’s consolation. Skipper Amvrosiatos then sealed it with his second goal of the day.
“Man of the Match went to center back Joe Lobosco for his organization of the back four,” Ryding said.
“Gottschee scored four goals in a disastrous final 15 minutes of the first half [but] respectable second half effort,” said Williamsburg’s Charles von Rosenberg.
In other Metro Two action, Jake Jamgotchian got both goals in Homenetmen’s 2-2 tie with Brooklyn Bound.
Manhattan Celtic Legends won the Over-30 “Celtic Clasico” at Bushwick Inlet, defeating Celtic Bhoys 3-1 on the finishing of Tal Sheynfeld [two] and Michael Sedan.
SouleyMane Diallo replied for the Bhoys.
Legends joined Shamrock atop the East table with identical [9-1, 27] stats.
Khouri Mullings [two], Oscar Villada and Russ Osur were on target in Kickers Premier’s 4-1 drubbing of Brooklyn Gunners.
Third place Kickers [6-3-1, 19] are eight points off the pace on the Over-30 East log.
Over-30 West joint leaders CPR Old Boys and Lansdowne [24 pts] run riot in separate games.
Old Boys spanked sister club CPR Orange 8-2 on Randalls Island. David Sawyer [four] led the charge, Jens Faulhaber got two and Neil Stower and Brandon Levy had one each.
Ronnie Swinkles and Majib Majaj were the Orange scorers.
Lansdowne, meanwhile, dismantled NY Finess 8-0 at Flushing Meadow.
Shane Moore had the requisite hat trick, Mark Finn and Jeff Farrell a brace apiece, with Brendan Hansbury also on target.
CPR Grays were the other big winners in Over-30 action with a 5-2 thrashing of BW Gottschee.
Adil El-Mouji had two and an assist; while Barry Feeney, Frank, and Graham Bambrough also tallied off assists by Michael Sevchek, David and Marko Guzijan.
It was goals galore in the Over-37 division with teams in surprisingly sharp form after the winter break.
Victor Popovsky struck five times in Celtic Masters’ 9-1 shellacking of Hoboken Legends at Pier 40. Stephan Feldgoise [three] and Matthias Schmitt also tallied.
Kickers Legends hammered Bantul 7-0, courtesy of Jorg Stratman [two], Mike Schall, DJ Stewart, Gilad Bloom, Joe Whitman among the scorers.
John Riordan [two], Eoghan McParland, Colin Lee, Marcus Nascimento and Ducky Kelly propelled Shamrock Legends to a 6-0 drubbing of CPR Legends at St. Michael’s Playground.
And Barnstonworth Old Boys had five different scorers in a 5-1 win over SC Gjoa.
Albert Pope, Aldo Morales, Stavros Zomopoulos, Colin McLear and Brent Heimlich tallied in that one.
Then there was Vinny Vasconcelos on the score sheet for SC Eintracht in a 2-1 loss to Barnstonworth Rovers Veterans.
Several Lansdowne stalwarts were honored at the club’s 20th anniversary dinner/awards night at Rory Dolan’s in Yonkers last Friday.
Former president Izhar Harpaz was guest of honor, Colm Morriessy was named Clubman of the Year. Damian Mescall received the Club Appreciation Award, Keith “Foxy” Murphy the Club Achievement Award and Pete Dolgos the Community Achievement Award.