Stripes save the day in injury time

Wednesday, December 12, 2012, 22:00
APS Bank Under 17 Section A
Sliema W   1      Birkirkara   1
A hard-fought and fast game which pleased the sizeable crowd present at Luxol Ground. After a balanced first period Sliema enjoyed the lion’s share of exchanges after the resaumption. Sliema now occupy joint third place with Pieta H on 19 points from 9 games while Birkirkara are in fifth place on 14 points also from 9 games.
Birkirkara created the first action as Darren Buttigieg released Jurgen Ebejer on the left flank who then crossed to Jurgen Gatt De Gabriele in the area but he drove slightly over the bar.
In a reaction by Sliema they mounted two actions. Mike Vella was fouled outside the area and the ball finished sligthly over the bar from the same player’s free kick and Liam Cachia served Kai Mizzi on the left flank and the ball was cleared to a corner from his cross and Michael Galea headed slightly out after the flag kick by Vella.
Another two actions were then created by Birkirkara. Kurt Zammit served Andrea Curmi on the right edge of the area and the ball missed the bar by inches from his shot and after Zammit was fouled outside the area Gatt De Gabriele floated a high ball in the area from the free kick and Sliema keeper Jovin Ebejer saved a header by Buttigieg.
Sliema opened the score on the half hour as Christian Mercieca served Michael Galea in the area and after the ball hit the upright from his lob Mizzi was on hand to shoot the ball in the net past Dylan Galea, and hardly a minute later they nearly doubled when Mizzi served Galea in the area and the Stripes keeper denied him with a diving save. 
Birkirkara then mounted the last two actions before the break. Zammit dribbled past an opponent, served Gatt De Gabriele with a through ball and he missed the bar by inches from outside the area and Ebejer was fouled outside the area and Gatt De Gabriele missed the bar by inches from the free kick.
The second period was a total dominance by Sliema as Birkirkara created only three actions. Curmi served Zammit in the area and Galea denied him with a diving save. In a similar action by the same players the ball landed on the upper pert of the bar from a lobbed ball by Zammit with Galea beaten and the ball finished out of play. 
Substitute Mark Scicluna released Mercieca on the left flank and after he was fouled the ball was cleared with difficulty from the free kick by Vella and Substitute Jake Agius served Vella on the right flank who crossed to Scicluna in the area and Galea saved his shot.
Birkirkara created two actions in a row. Ebejer served Zammit with a cross in the area and Jovin Ebejer saved his shot and in their next action they were denied by the wood work when the ball hit the upper part of the bar from a free kick by Gatt De Gabriele after Glenn Micallef was fouled just outside the area. 
In the first minute of added time Birkirkara scored a dramtic equaliser when Ebejer was fouled on the left flank and after Gatt De Gabriele floated a perfect high ball in the area Beppe Jaccarini headed past Xuereb.   
Referee: Martin Borg                                       Player of the match: Mike Vella (Sliema W)




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