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Floriana gifted an equaliser

Photo: Matthew Mirabelli

Photo: Matthew Mirabelli

Ħamrun Spartans 1 Floriana 1

Ħamrun Spartans seemed to have had the first victory of the season sewn up ten minutes from time before a mistake from young goalkeeper Andrea Cassar gifted Floriana the equaliser.

The Spartans fans were left reeling in the 79th minute when Cassar first dribbled Floriana striker Ryan Darmanin, only to dawdle on the ball as the striker returned to rob him to slot home the vital goal.

It was a disastrous moment for Cassar who turn from hero to zero after a string of smart saves which kept Floriana at bay.

Mark Wright has named four debutants in his starting line-up against Ħamrun Spartans. Goalkeeper Jonathan Debono made the selection just in time after signing from Mosta yesterday as he was joined by the British trio Aaron Brown, Carl Tremarco and Aman Verma.

The Floriana defender Tremarco presented himself inside the first five minutes. His delightful free-kick he bent around the Ħamrun wall found the goalkeeper Andrea up to the task as he produced a brilliant one-handed save to turn the ball around the post. In the eighth minute, however a slick Floriana passing move that included a backheel from Christian Caruana found Tremarco’s compatriot Verma unprepared as unmarked in front of Cassar wasted too much time to adjust the ball before Roderick Fenech cleared the danger.

 

Ħamrun went on to dominate large chunks of play but they created few clear-cut chances and their tactic of sending crosses into the box failed to unsettle the towering pair of centre-backs Tyrone Farrugia and Brown.

 

Whatever the former England defender said to his player during the half-time talk worked, as the Greens took the field with renewed verve.  Their passing and probing helped them to engineer two goal-bound chances in quick succession when Caruana slid the ball for Verma who unleashed a powerful drive which forced into a driving save in the 46th minute. Moments later, Cilia sprinted past onrushing Cassar before squaring the ball towards Verma who blasted the ball over from routine distance.

But it was Ħamrun who snatched the lead on the hour mark, completely against the run of play when from Nikolay Bozhov, Gianluca Calabretta anticipated the goalkeeper to head the ball in.

Floriana seemed a little clueless in response, Cilia set off on a twisting run on the right before playing in substitute Darmanin whose swerving effort went just over the crossbar in the 70th minute.

Mark Wright’s men grabbed their deserved equalizer albeit in a very fortuitous way when Cassar, the Ħamrun goalkeeper dropped in a real the 79th minute when he tried to dribble around Darmanin only to gift possession to Floriana striker to nod the ball into the back of the net. The Spartans’ night took another turn for the worse when Fenech clumsily lunged at Verma to earn a straight red, nine minutes from time but they held on to take another point.

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