Saints pick up momentum to beat Sliema

Sliema Betsson     7     San Giljan Salini Resort     12

(2-1, 2-4, 0-1, 3-6)

This encounter finished on a sour note, after it had promised much. Both sides couldn’t afford to drop points, with Neptunes winning before them. Sliema had the better start, but they were overtaken by the champions, who led by a single goal at the interval. Then Sliema failed to score from a penalty, after the break, and San Giljan doubled their lead at the other end. Sliema already had Alex attard and Timmy Sullivan missing. Mark Meli returned from injury, but stayed on the bench.  Edward Aquilina was fouled out, and there was more to come, as Jerome Gabarreta, on a Sliema man up, was ejected from the match, on brutality, and his side had to play for the remainder of the game with a player less, also conceding a penalty, converted by Boris Vapenski. The balance from then on was not so much in San Giljan’s favour, as Sliema had skipper, John Soler scoring his fourth goal, thus reaching his personal career record, of a thousand goals, and only gave away two goals, in more than four minutes of play, with a player less.

Aquilina and Soler gave Sliema a double lead at the start, with Peter Borg cutting down on the arrears before the end of the sesison. Gabarretta again had Sliema two in front, in the second session, but Paul Fava and Clint Mercieca tied the score for the champions. Soler took Sliema to another advantage, with Vapenski and Fava overturning the score, as San Giljan  went 5-4 ahead at the interval.

After the break came Sliema’s failure to tie the score , as marco Cuk’s penalty was saved by Joseph Sammut, in the Saints’ goal. In the resulting attack Matthew Zammit doubled San Giljan’s lead. Sliema’s Aquilina was fouled out, the champions went into the last session 6-4 in front. Soler pulled a goal back for Sliema, but Fava and Vapenski’s first penalty extended San Giljan’s advantage, Nicky Bugelli had a goal back for Sliema, with ben Plumpton restoring the Saints’ three goal lead. Then came Gabarretta’s red card, with no substitution, and Vapenski netted his sesond penalty. Soler scored his fourth, a 1000th career goal, for Sliema, and Plumpton was also shown a red card, after remarks passed to the Sliema’s scorer. In the remaining time, the champions failed to score at first, even with a man more in play, but then managed to end the match with two two late strikes, by Darren Zammit and Keith galea, as the match finally came to an end.

Sliema: R. Coleiro , J. Gabarretta 1, E. Aquilina 1, C. Cluett , M. Meli , J. Soler 4, M. Fenech , K. Dowling , J. Brownrigg , J. Gambin , M. Cuk , N. Bugelli 1, Z. Sciberras

S. Giljan: J. Sammut , P. Borg 1, A. Galea , B. Vapenski 3, Da. Zammit 1, M. Zammit 1, K. Galea 1, C. Mercieca 1, B. Plumpton 1, A. Cousin , P. Fava 3, D. Zammit , D. Camilleri

Referees: M. Angileri, A. Pascucci