BOV Premier League | Senglea Athletic 2 – St Andrews 1

Senglea’s hopes of retaining their Premier League status are slowly materialising after securing an important 2-1 win over St Andrews.

Matias Garcia celebrating after scoring against St Andrews. Photo: Christine Borg
Matias Garcia celebrating after scoring against St Andrews. Photo: Christine Borg

The first match at the Hibernians stadium saw Senglea Athletic and St Andrews facing off each other in a clash at the lower end of the table. This match promised to be a balanced encounter as the difference between the two sides was just three points. Senglea started the match with nineteen points, while St Andrews came into this match with sixteen points.

Paolo Favaretto made three changes to the team that drew level with Tarxien. Julian Leyton, Hubert Vella and Augusto Caseres replaced Ian Azzopardi, Gonzalo Nicolas Virano and Nicola Palmieri.

On the other hand, Michael Woods made just one change to the team that held Gżira United. Degran Jackson took Ricardo Martin’s place.

Senglea made a flying start to the match as they went ahead after just four minute. Following a free-kick, Ivan Paz delivered the ball towards Matias Garcia who headed the ball past Matthew Calleja Cremona.

Four minutes later, Bragi Gregori hit a shot from outside the penalty area that was neutralised by Calleja Cremona.

St Andrews replied on the 10th minute. Misael Miranda Gomez sent a volley from distance that ended up slightly over.

Favaretto’s side had a promising chance on the 23rd minute. Following a good run, Paz passed the ball towards Gregori, but the latter was denied by Calleja Cemona who came out of his place and blocked his path.

The post denied Senglea a minute later. Terence Vella saw his effort from inside the penalty area hitting the woodwork.

On the 44th minute, Degran Jackson of St Andrews attempted a shot from distance that was easily saved by Matthew Farrugia.

In the additional time given by the referee prior to half-time, Paz sent a shot from a free-kick that ended up over.

St Andrews started the second half looking to equalise and went close on the 48th minute. Joseph Farrugia’s delivery from a free-kick was met by Tazo Azian whose header was saved by Farrugia.

Senglea hit back a minute later. Gregori went through on goal, but saw his shot being blocked by Calleja Cremona.

Gomez went close for the Saints on the 58th minute. Gomez saw his volley from distance going marginally over.

A minute later, Farrugia attempted an acrobatic effort that failed to hit the target.

St Andrews kept on insisting and had another chance on the 67th minute. Gomez fired a shot from the edge of the penalty area that went off target.

Ten minutes later, St Andrews threatened again. Travis Blagrove received the ball from Farrugia and sent a header that was neutralised by Farrugia.

This was the prelude for the goal as St Andrews equalised on the 78th minute. Azian served Farrugia and the latter hit a low shot from inside the penalty area that gave Farrugia no chance.

Senglea restored their lead on the 82nd minute. Paz hit a stunning shot from a free-kick that ended up inside the net.

Brian Volpini nearly scored Senglea’s third goal on the 90th minute. Calleja Cremona went up to help his side in attack, but Senglea won the ball and went forward on a fast counter. The substitute player attempted to place the ball inside an open goal, but his shot from the centre of the pitch sailed wide.

Seconds later, Senglea had another great opportunity. Following a counter attack, Peter Sammut went down the left side and hit a shot that was blocked by Calleja Cremona. Rebound fell for Vella whose shot stamped off the post.

Senglea Athletic starting line-up: Matthew Farrugia, Randal Vella, Jonathan Bondin, Sergio Uyi, Julian Leyton, Matias Garcia, Hubert Vella (Steve Bonnici – 74), Ivan Paz, Terence Vella, Augusto Caseres (Peter Sammut – 77), Brag Gregori (Brian Volpini- 87)

St Andrews starting line-up: Matthew Calleja Cremona, Adrian Borg, Misael Miranda Gomez, Tano Azian, Marcus Grima (Kevaughn Atkinson- 65), Joseph Farrugia, Jason Van De Lannote, Mattew Gauci, Jacob Walker (Travis Blagrove – 56), Degran Jackson, Kemar Reid

Referee: Sandro Spiteri

Assistant Referees: Luke Portelli, Peter Abela

Fourth Official: Eman Grech

Yellow Cards: Marcus Grima (St Andrews), Jason Van De Lannote (St Andrews), Matthew Gauci (St Andrews), Matthew Calleja Cremona (St Andrews), Travis Blagrove (St Andrews), Kavaughn Atkinson (St Andrews)

BOV Player of the Match: Ivan Paz (Senglea)