BOV Premier League | Lija Athletic 1 – St Andrews 2

St Andrews won three precious points against bottom side Lija Athletic that might prove crucial in their battle against relegation.

Mc Allister Clinch (Lija) and Degran Jackson (St Andrews) in action. Photo: Dominic Borg
Mc Allister Clinch (Lija) and Degran Jackson (St Andrews) in action. Photo: Dominic Borg

St Andrews needed a win over Lija Athletic in order to keep on fighting against relegation. On the other hand, Lija had nothing to play for as they are already relegated after going through a disastrous season.

Following their 7-0 defeat against Hibernians, Joseph Galea made five changes in his starting eleven. Jonathan Martinelli, Patrick Borg, Abubaker Bello Osagie, Alain Rapha Kooh Sohna and Ousmae Sidibe replaced Luke Bonnici, Dylan Agius, Predrag Babic, Gabriel Borg and Ryan Sammut.

Meanwhile, Michael Woods made two changes to the team that was narrowly defeated by Valletta. Matthew Gauci and Travis Blagrove started instead of Tano Azian and Marcus Grima.

As expected, St Andrews started on the offensive and went close after three minutes. From a corner, Joseph Farrugia delivered a cross that was met by Travis Blagrove who headed the ball slightly over.

The post denied St Andrews on the 29th minute. Degran Jackson hit a diagonal shot from distance that stamped off the woodwork.

Lija replied a minute later. Abubaker Bello Osagie’s shot from distance was saved by Matthew Calleja Cremona.

Galea’s side threatened St Andrews again on the 33rd minute. Following a mistake by Blagrove, Beu ran towards goal and hit a low shot that was neutralised by Calleja Cremona.

The Saints broke the deadlock on the 36th minute. Joseph Farrugia sent a cross from the right flank that went into the path of Kevaughn Atkinson who placed the ball past Martinelli.

St Andrews lost a golden opportunity one minute into the second half. Kemar Reid went past a number of defenders and ended up in front of Martinelli. However, the Jamaican player failed to hit the target from close range.

Reid went close to score once more on the 55th minute. The twenty-three year old midfielder fired a low shot that hit the post.

Atkinson doubled the score for St Andrews on the 56th minute. The player of the match hit a powerful drive from distance that gave Martinelli no chance.

Lija pulled one back on the 70th minute. Abubaker Bello Osagie served Beu inside the penalty area and the latter saw his low shot going inside the net.

Beu went close again for Lija on the 78th minute. The Albanian striker sent a shot from distance that failed to hit the target.

St Andrews could have sealed the issue four minutes later. Farrugia sent Reid through on goal, but the young midfielder took his time to conclude and was denied by Martinelli.

In the remaining minutes, Lija never caused any trouble for St Andrews as Michael Woods’s side took the three points.

Lija Athletic starting line-up: Jonathan Martinelli, Patrick Borg, Leon Muscat, Daniel Scerri, Abubaker Bello Osagie, Aaron Sammut, McAllister Clinch, Erjon Beu, Kei Hirose, Alain Rapha Kooh Sohna (Ryan Sammut- 65), Ousmane Sidibe

St Andrews starting line-up: Matthew Calleja Cremona, Adrian Borg, Misael Miranda Gomez, Joseph Farrugia, Jason Van De Lannoite, Ricardo Martin (Marcus Grima- 73), Matthew Gauci, Kevaughn Atkinson, Degran Jackson (Jacob Walker- 65), Kemar Reid, Travis Blagrove

Referee: Luis Miguel Do Nasciueuto Teixeira (Andorra)

Assistant Referees: Hugo Jourdan, Marta Sau Juan

Fourth Official: Joau Guiu

BOV Player of the Match: Kevaughn Atkinson (St Andrews)