Hamrun back into winning groove as Pembroke’s pain goes on
Hamrun Spartans were back in the groove after two consecutive defeats as they beat bottom side Pembroke Athleta in a match played under continuous rain and strong winds at Victor Tedesco Stadium yesterday.
Hamrun’s goals came within the opening 20 minutes through a deflected Jake Grech shot and another clinical finish by Mifsud Triganza to keep them in midtable.
Pembroke’s only goal was scored by their best player Manevski soon after the restart.
Victory was no more than Hamrun Spartans deserved after they created a host of chances and their striker Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza could have had a hat-trick in the first half alone, when the Spartans were totally superior to their opponents.
Pembroke, who welcomed the return of defender Asani Djejilj from suspension, improved in the second half and immediately pulled one back after the interval. Still they failed to clinch at least a draw and this defeat leaves them marooned at the bottom of the standings, contemplating a rather poor start of the season.
Hamrun coach Steve D’Amato made four changes after the defeat against Balzan. Frederick Tabone replaced Matthew Farrugia in goal as Philip Chircop, Rodrigues and Luke Sciberras were dropped. Glenn Azzopardi, Luke Grech and Jorge Neto were given starts instead.
Mifsud Triganza forced Pembroke keeper Calleja Cremona into the first save, stretching himself to turn his free kick into a corner after eight minutes.
But short of the quarter hour, the Spartans opened the scoring. Nanapere played a square pass to Jake Grech whose shot from outside the area took a wicked deflection off Scozzese and ended behind the goalkeeper.
Hamrun doubled their lead on 19 minutes. Nanapere was again involved, providing a low pass to Texeira who freed Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza to hit low past the Pembroke custodian.
As Pembroke pushed to pull themselves into the game, a Djeljilj cross was parried by Hamrun keeper Tabone. Manevski mishit in front of goal and the ball ended into a corner. A minute later Manevski was again in action as he advanced through the middle and his diagonal shot was slightly deflected by keeper Tabone.
Nanapere continued to be the most mobile and threatening player on the pitch. He set Mifsud Triganza, who rounded the goalkeeper but failed to put his effort on target from a tight angle, clipping the bar in the process.
Pembroke threatened again on the stroke of halftime. Manevski played a short free kick to Djeljilj who shot fractionally wide.
Pembroke put in Shola Shodija for Gauci at halftime and within ten minutes they were back in it. Borche Manevski was left unmolested inside the area on a Mariano pass and beat keeper Tabone with a low strike.
Hamrun had suddenly handed the initiative to their opponents but Pembroke remained sloppy and lacked a cutting edge. The wet surface did not help either. Hamrun, running out of ideas, kept booting the ball out as far as possible. Their keeper Tabone needed to be on his toes to save Manevski’s firm header off a Muscat free kick from the right.
In the late stages Mariano headed frustatingly out from close distance and when a Scozzese delivery travelled across the face of the Hamrun goal with no one putting a foot to it, Pembroke knew it would not be their afternoon.
Borche Manevski of Pembroke Athleta (left) scores against Hamrun Spartans Photo: Domenic Aquilina