Alec Smith Premier Division Cup
St Panteleimon 5 Sporting Hackney 3
Scorers: Tajbakhsh 2, Albadri 2, Massay
At The Hive
A superb performance from a fresh St Panteleimon, hungry after three weeks of no games due to the weather.
In sub-zero relentless freezing rain, the sharpness and fitness showed, with a strong team performance, outclassing the visitors.
The Saints’ two top scorers for the season so far, Noyan Tajbakhsh and Ayub Albadri were in form, and were a formidable double act, to put the Saints four up and seal the tie. But a dramatic surge by Sporting Hackney in the second half gave the Saints a scare, in an entertaining and compelling game in atrocious conditions.
Tajbakhsh took two free kicks in minutes 17 and 27 to put the Saints 2-0 up. They were both exceptional goals, the second a classic Beckham style curling free kick in the top left.
In the second half, he then became provider, first with an angled through ball to Albadri, who finished with a classy shot to beat the Hackney keeper. Then a hard and low cross from the left was skilfully put away by Albadri.
At 4-0 the Saints dropped their guard, and Sporting Hackney came back on the hour mark, in dramatic fashion, to score three goals in 16 minutes, to make it 4-3, the last one with a penalty.
But, as has been shown so many times before, St Panteleimon have a certain unique steel, determination, spirit, fire and team willpower.
Courtney Massay was put through on the left and fired a classy shot in the bottom right corner, to make it 5-3 with 5 minutes to go.
Some clever substitutions from Manager George Frangeskou, kept the players warm and the momentum going.
The Saints go through to the semi final of this Middlesex League Cup. They will play Pitshanger Dynamo on 23 March 2019.
And that’s it for this calendar year. The Saints wish all their wonderful fans and followers a happy Christmas and New Year.
Their next game is on Saturday 5th January, in the Middlesex FA Intermediate Cup, against C.B. Hounslow United.
– Reporting by James Neophytou ✍🏻🎄 🎁🎈