SLIEMA HOTSTICKS 0 STELMAR HOTSTICKS 6
Two sides of the coin
The two Hotsticks teams produced an exciting game this afternoon, entertaining all those present at the Qormi Hockey complex. The final score could indicate a one-sided affair, but it was not the case as indicated by the result of 0 – 0 at the end of the first half.
The Sliema side was by far the better team during the first half, showing perfect organization in defence and rapid movement of the ball from defence to attack. The Stelmar players persisted in individual plays which gave rise to no shots at goal especially by the Farrugia twins who, contrary to other games, were not in the least effective. Instead, Sliema seemed always on the verge of scoring the first goal on various through balls given by Amore and Falzon, always finding Axiaq or Bonello unmarked. The best goal mouth opportunity of the first half in fact fell on Sliema’s sticks when one of Amore’s through balls found Bonello unmarked on the right. Bonello swiftly dribbled Stelmar’s last man M. Cutajar and crossed the ball to Axiaq who impacted the ball perfectly with the Stelmar keeper L. Bonnici well beaten. Vella Vidal however saved Stelmar with a reverse stop on the line, thus closing the first half goalless with Sliema by far the better side.
The second half was a totally different story though as Stelmar realized they needed to change their approach to the game. Grech was moved down the right flank and N. Farrugia moved to the left. Bonnici and Vella Vidal immediately showed their intentions in midfield to change the course of the game. In the third minute of the second half, Vella Vidal gave an inspiring through ball down the right which Grech impacted perfectly through his strong run down the flank. Grech passed the ball towards the top of the Dee which M. Bonnici met in a timely manner to deflect past keeper Ghirlando to hit the far post and into the net for the first goal of the game. Stelmar kept on the pressure and within a couple of minutes doubled the score through a Nicky Farrugia solo effort. This double score didn’t stop Sliema from reacting though and soon re-organized themselves to get their first short corner. Amore set the ball for Bonello who surprised the Stelmar defence with a pass back to Amore who shot towards goal beating Bonnici but having his shot stopped by a Stelmar player’s foot on the line. Sliema were thus awarded a penalty stroke which threatened to re-open the game for Stelmar. Amore walked up to take the stroke but failed to convert this great opportunity as keeper L. Bonnici saved a weak central shot. Following this, Sliema’s game lost momentum and Stelmar looked to close the game. Grech kept on attacking down the right and in another of his runs down the flank, M. Bonnici added a third goal, identical to the first. This was soon followed by the fourth by Vella Vidal who intercepted a loose ball at the top of the Dee and fired the ball into the net, to crown a magnificent performance. This was not all though as Agius was inserted in midfield after a few weeks missing from the game. He immediately looked particularly in shape and set M.Bonnici for Sliema’s fifth goal and his personal third. Stelmar scored the sixth and final goal through some fast passing between Agius and N. Farrugia who set his brother B. Farrugia perfectly on the left side of the Dee, with the latter taking full advantage of this pass to fire into the back of the net.
This leaves Stelmar with 6 points in 4 matches, within touching distance of first place and Sliema disappointingly with 1 point despite some excellent performances.