First defeat, but Hamrun Spartans show their grit against title challengers Birkirkara.
Hamrun Spartans gave a tough challenge to Birkirkara, who are top of the table with three consecutive wins. In probably the best attendance so far in the Premier League, Birkirara won with a one goal margin over a compact Hamrun side.
Birkirkara managed to seize an early goal after 12 minutes. Cain Attard made a good run on the right flank, entered the box and fired a shot from a tight angle which beat Cassar. .
Cassar made a couple of important saves for the Spartans to remain in the match during the first half including a close range shot from Birkirkara’s Vito Plut. The ball fell again to the striker who, however shot wide at his second attempt.
The Spartans claimed for a penalty right after, when a cross-shot from Massimiliano Giusti appeared to be deflected with a hands ball by Joseph Zerafa in the box, however referee Malcolm Spiteri waved play on.
Hamrun were gaining confidence by the minute, in one of the most arduous tests so far in the Premier League and were increasingly putting pressure on Birkirkara. On 34 minutes, Jake Grech’s swerving free-kick flew just wide.
The Spartans equalised with just seven minutes of the first half left, Leonardo Wallace threaded a pass through the Birkirkara defence and into the path of the sprinting Haruna Garba. It looked like Garba has lost a good opportunity, but the Nigerian striker kept possession of the ball to despatch it past Miroslav Kopric.
Birkirkara came out with full strength ti find the winning goal in the second half, but the Spartans remained composed and disciplined in their moves, and the most serious threat to Cassar came by the hour mark when Temile struck the bar with Cassar beaten.
Hamrun had a very good chance shortly afterwards when Wallace’s shot went across the face of goal after a good run on the right flank.
Fifteen minutes from time James Brincat who came on as a substitute found the winning goal with his first touch of the ball for Birkirkara, after that Temile crossed the ball in the box from the left flank.
Hamrun’s final efforts during the dying minutes of the match kept the supporters on their toes however Birkirkara managed to keep the score in their favour.
Notwithstanding the defeat the Hamrun faithful were overjoyed to see their beloved team return to Ta’ Qali with a great performance both on the pitch from the players and on the stands by their supporters, where the best attendance so far this season was recorded with some 1430 spectators attending the match.