The Malta Independent 21 April 2019, Sunday

Mosta and Pembroke enjoy view from the top after winning second game

Sunday, 30 August 2015, 07:56 Last update: about 5 years ago

Totally dominant, but uninspiring for long periods, Mosta managed to beat sluggish Qormi to register their second consecutive win.

Despite enjoying most of the possession, Mosta rarely looked like scoring and ultimately they had to rely on Fidelis’ only goal of the match, scored early in the second half, that enabled them take full points and join Valletta and Pembroke at the top of the BoV Premier League. The signs are that Mosta can only improve when they gel

Despite winning against Floriana the previous week, Mosta coach Ian Zammit still deemed it fit to make some changes, introducing Ryan Grech in midfield, Ian Zammit and Bobby Fredrick in attack. Guobadia played in central defence instead of Mark Brincat as Ekani was suspended and Mohammed Malik was relegated to the bench.

Qormi’s woes continued with more players dropping out. Regular keeper Matthew Farrugia was only watching from the stands with the 17-year old Andreas Vella deputising in goal. Emerson Vella played instead of Jonathan Bondin, who left for Gzira U and,in the absence of the injured Ryan Micallef, Alex Nilsson started in attack. Kurt Magro joined for the departed Leighton Grech.

Bristling with confidence after their win on the opening day, Mosta again started brightly with some fluid football but very few conclusions at goal. Qormi tried to hit on the counter, whenevercareless Mosta gifted them possesson, but lacked a cutting edge with Nilsson too isolated up front. Shortly before the break, Qormi were forced to substitute the injured  defender Berntsson with Pietro Viggiani. Emerson Vella moved in cxentral defence.

The football from both sides had ben numbing until that point.

But Mosta took only three minutes of the second half to break the deadlock. Saviour Fidelis looked unable to control Fredrick’s high cross from the left, but some hesitation by Qormi’s defender Agius, allowed the Mosta striker to deflect the ball past keeper Vella.

Mosta almost made them two a minute later. On Fredrik’s inviting pass Chukwide incredibly missed the target in front of goal.

Qormi threatened for the first time past the hour. From a Monti corner, Gauci headed narrowly over.

But Mosta remained superior in possession and although showing a high degree of wastefulness, they never looked in danger of surrendering their lead.

Qormi are one of five teams still pointless after two matches, going into the international break with many points to ponder on.

The end result might suggest this was close encounter between the two newly promoted clubs, but Pembroke looked by far the more superior to their neighbours St Andrews, who have shipped seven goals already from the first two matches.

Pembroke had been dominant and deserved this second win of the season that keeps them jointly in command at the top of the standings, but the way they let in three goals must be a cause for concern for coach Winston Muscat. Perhaps there should be a note of caution attached, given that we are only in the embryonic stages of the BoV Premier League season.

Austin Maltz was pacy and threatening and always happy to take responsibility on the ball. His brace gave Pembroke a two-goal lead before the match was even 20 minutes old, to put his side in the driving seat against poor opposition.

The American winger was quick and direct at the outset. After two minutes, he picked Bardsley’s through pass, advanced down the right and beat the helpless keeper Rossetti with a low drive.

On 19 minutes Maltz got the better of Williams’ poor defending inside the St Andrews’ area and again beat the keeper to double the lead.

This was more than Pembroke  deserved as the Saints continually gifted their opponents too much space on the flanks and  Laudisi, taking Ferri’s place in his side’s only change, often  flitted in dangerously from the left to cause the St Andrews defence lots of headaches.

In between the goals, Maltz had a shot on the turn going slightly over  and Bardlsey shot inches wide after going in from the left.

St Andrews briefly pulled themselves into the match on the half our. Central defender Sehitaj anticipated keeper Muscat on Williams’ corner and headed in, despite Pembroke defenders’ efforts to clear. This was the Saints’ first Premier League goal of the season.

Showing more spirit, Vella Petroni tested keeper Muscat from a distance five minutes later,

But on 40 minutes, Pembroke restored their two-goal lead, courtesy of another St Andrews’ defensive lapse, when Gibson Bardsley breezed past Andreis inside the area to score his side’s third before halftime.

Pembroke’s dominance continued even after the interval. Paltemio Barbetti continued with his industrious approach in midfield as Bardsley remained a constant threat with the ball at his feet. Some profligacy denied them more goals as O’Brien missed the target on Villalobos’ inviting pass on the hour and an impressive save by keeper Rossetti denied Bardsley. On 65 minutes, a Bardsley through pass put Cini clear but the defender stumbled on the ball when faced by the goalkeper to scoop a fine chance.

Pembroke almost paid for those misses when St Andrews reduced the deficit against the run of play on 69 minutes. Guillamier played a short free kick to  Chris De Nguidjou who scored from close range.

But Pembroke soon took the bit between their teeth again and after O’Brien clipped the upright, and their latest recruit Leighton Grech, who joined from Qormi, went in for Laudisi, they scored again on 76 minutes. St Andrews’ clearance on Pembroke corner fell straight to Kyle O’Brien who hit a drilling shot past keeper Rossetti from outside the area.

For the remaining of the match, St Andrews could manage only the most rudimentary pressure as they tried in vain to get back to terms. In the dying minutes though loanee Matteo Desira Buttigieg was left unmarked to beat keeper Muscat with a tame header on a Williams’ cross.

The outcome of the match, however, had effectively been decided by then.



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