St. Panteleimon FC travelled to East London’s Leyton near the London Olympic Park to play a top of the table clash against AFC Utd, second versus third.
The Saints started quickly, hitting the crossbar within 3 minutes. The strong and physical team of AFC made the Saints have to work hard to keep the flow going. Some quick thinking from Saints’ top scorer Nikos Salapatas saw him shoot from distance and find the net. 0-1 to The Saints after 10 minutes.
The first half continued with a battle for possession, with both teams showing their attacking pedigree. Some confident stops and catches from St Panteleimon keep Donald Manaj have the Saints confidence and thwarted AFC.
Then towards half time the home team equalised to make it 1-1. HT 1-1.
The Saints came out fired up in the second half. It saw the Saints start with real intent with both Ayub Albadri & Nikos Salapatas imposing their pace and talent on the game.
AFC United were pushed back and as the half entered the 60th minute it was the in form Nikos Salapatas that struck again. A terrific ball from Ayub Albadri released Nikos down the line who was met by the oncoming keeper. Nikos passed the keeper and from a very acute angle fired home into the far corner to put the Saints 1-2 up.
A spirited and very strong response followed from AFC United but the best defence in the league held firm aided by Man of the Match Roberto Katsikas and the outstanding Javonne Molloy.
The Saints rhythm was gaining more momentum and the class of Noyan Tajbakhsh was further influencing the match.
A free kick on the edge of the box was awarded to the Saints following some good interplay between Igli Sevaj & Noyan. It was Noyan who placed the ball down for the free-kick and his thunderous strike found the bottom corner leaving the keeper rooted to the spot.
The final whistle saw this great match end 1-3 to the Saints who climbed to second place of the Table in our Division. Now they march on to a Quarter Final tie at The Jim Rogers President’s Division One Cup v Kodak (Harrow) next Saturday.