San Ġiljan 11
(0-4, 2-1, 2-3, 3-3)
Sliema: I. Gergely, J. Gabarretta 2, N. Lubrano 1, P. Privitera, M. Meli, J. Soler, D. Paolella, J. Brownrigg 1, C. Debono, F. Salamon 1, C. Cluett 1, M. Spiteri Staines 1, R. Coleiro.
San Ġiljan: D. Camilleri, J.C. Cutajar, D. Abela, K. Galea 3, K. Dowling, M. Zammit 2, B. Letica, A. Bianchi 1, R. Mock, K. Mock, P. Fava, B. Rath 4, M. Pisani 1.
Refs: I. Sciriha, R. Colombo.
In a match which was almost make or break for San Ġiljan Giuseppe’s, Karl Izzo’s team produced their best display so far this season to send Sliema McDonald’s sliding to their first defeat of the league campaign.
The contest was of very slim margins as both teams opted for very stringent press. That did not make it easy for both referees who, however, showed consistency in their decision throughout the match.
San Ġiljan, surprisingly opted to include Bogdan Rath instead of Darko Griguljan and the former Sliema player turned out to be the trump card, scoring four goals with his lethal left hand.
It was also a fine collective display by the Saints. Karl Galea and Matthew Zammit provided very good scoring back-up with three and two goals respectively.
Not the same can be said of Sliema who had Jerome Gabarretta and Paul Privitera back in action. The team looked a sorry lot from start to finish.
The Saints rattled their opponents when they took a 4-0 lead in the first session. Man-to-man marking unsettled the Blues who could not quite get the measure of their opponents’ game plan. Sliema also kept messing up their numerical advantages.
Sliema won the second session 2-1 but San Ġiljan were 5-2 up by the time ends were changed.
The Blues had to resort to tight marking to regain possession as soon as possible as the third session was under way. On their part, the Saints administered the game admirably as they remained unruffled by Sliema’s frantic efforts to cut the leeway.
A 3-2 scoreline in San Ġiljan’s favour in the third session, during which Rath obtained his hat-trick, opened a gap of four goals before the last session started.
Still it was Izzo’s team to hold sway as they led 10-5 midway through the last quarter.
The Blues managed to pull back two goals, with Ferenc Salamon at least picking his spot. But there were only two minutes left and San Ġiljan were unperturbed. They added another from a man-up to make six on 11 against Sliema’s three on nine.
San Ġiljan’s success was fully deserved.