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Maranaj Batusha celebrates opening the scoring with his first league goal of the season.

Athletic rounded off 2011 with a somewhat unconvincing 4-0 win at home to bottom dogs Berceloona Fc, albeit with ten-men following Oleg Zhigalov’s straight red card for lashing out.

Brook Street toiled from the kick-off and it took until the thirty-third minute before Maranaj Batusha calmed the growing nerves in the stands by firing home the opener.

Five minutes later and it was 2-0 after Daniel Hasnaş, who had replaced Onésimo Murube in the twenty-third minute, coolly slotted his shot home after a fine solo run.

With a two-goal lead and in complete control of the match, Athletic should have been on easy street, but six minutes before the break Oleg Zhigalov inexplicably rose to his marker’s bait and saw red for his troubles.

Anyone who thought that this would signal a change in the game had their fears allayed within sixty seconds as José Eransus carved his way though the visitors’ defence before unleashing an unstoppable shot into the net.

Berceloona took the unusual step of introducing teenage Dutch keeper Leendert Zwaan into the fray for the second half, and within a minute he was called into action to parry away a thunderbolt from Daniel Hasnaş.

He was left helpless in the fifty-seventh minute however when a cross from the left found the unmarked Andy Hautala, and last season’s top scorer doesn’t pass up chances like this, and buried it to wrap up the scoring.

Athletic continued to dominate, but were unable to increase the lead, although being a man down in the middle of the park this was hardly surprising.

While happy with the win, Arjen was less than happy with Oleg’s actions.

“He put us in a very awkward position and I have told him exactly what I think of him. There is absolutely no excuse for it and I simply won’t tolerate it. He will be disciplined by the club”.

When asked about the extent of Onésimo’s injury he said, “It’s not as bad as at first feared, so we’re hopeful of getting both him and Kyle Fair back for next week”.

While Athletic were making hard work of it against Berceloona, nearest challengers Hanball Rovers were crashing to a 2-0 defeat against speccy’s saints. The results meant that Athletic now have an eight point advantage over Rovers and Whiskaz Wonderers who we face on Saturday.

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Fons Consheim fires in our second goal against FC Torpedo Dobrich this evening.

Athletic piled the pressure on the other sides in Group 3 by recording a 5-1 victory against FC Torpedo Dobrich in Bulgaria this evening to make it three wins out of three in this season’s Brook Street Cup.

Athletic took the lead in controversial circumstances in the eighth minute from the penalty spot. Dario Zintu had been adjudged to have been pushed off the ball by his marker although the decision was harsh in the extreme as the defender seemed merely to have held his ground.

Igor Bulatov was coolness personified amid the furious protests however and calmly slotted the ball home.

It was 1-1 in the twentieth minute however, and once again the goal came from the penalty spot. Bruno Le Ber had tugged back Max Vormwald’s shirt in the box and the referee didn’t need a second thought to award the spot-kick.

Veteran full-back Jan-Erik Vuohisalo finished with aplomb, and with no other goal action, the game was tied at half-time.

Arjen Bogaert clearly gave his players a “rocket” at half time as they came out for the second half with renewed vigour, and this paid dividends within four minutes of the re-start.

Fons Consheim has been playing a much more advanced role of late, and it was he who broke through the centre of the home defence to chip the ball over the diving Boris Levitskiy and fire Brook Street Back in front.

Straight from kick-off, Dario Zintu pressurised the home defenders into a mistake from which he slammed the ball home to make it 3-1.

Right on the hour mark, the home team could have reduced the lead when Liran Tzur and Emilio Juárez left the ball to each other, however Toshko Stoev lacked conviction and his shot slid past the post.

Brook Street were starting to pick Torpedo off in the middle of the park, and with seventy-one minutes on the clock Oleg Zhigalov ran through before unleashing a real thunderbolt that tore into the net.

With the game looking safe, we were attacking more or less at will and when Daniel Hasnaş was up-ended just inside the box in the seventieth minute, it was almost a forgone conclusion that Igor Bulatov would make the score 5-1.

At the end of the match Arjen said, “We played much better in the second half, but once again we were far to lax in the first half. We have to cut this out and play for the whole match, not just for the second half”.

He did however praise Igor Bulatov for retaining his composure at the two penalties.

“Igor could have buckled under the intense pressure, particularly at the first penalty, but he really deserves all the plaudits. No only did he strike the ball well, but he also out-foxed the home keeper twice”.

He concluded the interview by saying, “We’ve now given ourselves a great chance to progress to the semi-finals for the first time since Edition III. He are however only halfway there, and we’ve got to maintain our concentration levels far better than we have been of late”.

Following today’s 2-2 draw with Handball Rovers, coach Arjen Bogaert has ordered his players to not overdo things tomorrow… as they’re now going to be in for training on Boxing Day.

The players had originally been given the day off, but after they threw away two points this afternoon, the coach cancelled this and ordered them in to training on Monday.

Arjen was utterly furious when he addressed the post-match press conference.

“If my players want to play in Division III next season, they’re going to have to put a hell of a lot more effort into it. Too many are starting to believe their own press and maybe some extra training on Boxing Day will bring them to their senses”.

He continued, “We scored two out of eight chances we created; they scored all of theirs. We should’ve been out of sight. Add to that the fact that we couldn’t even see out the match after taking the lead with only seven minutes left, and you can see why I’m livid”.

“The fans deserve a hell of a lot better, and I will make sure they get exactly that”.

Dario Zintu fires in our second goal in our 7-0 win over FC Chalbermatti this morning.

Athletic made it two Brook Street Cup wins out of two with a thumping 7-0 win over Swiss side FC Chalbermatti at New Home Park this morning.

Liran Tzur headed Athletic into the lead from an Igor Bulatov corner with twenty-four minutes played, and Dario Zintu doubled the lead in the thirty-third minute. This heralded the start of an amazing period of play that would see Athletic hit a further three goals in only five minutes.

Dario Zintu hit his second on thirty-four minutes, and Jake MacConnechy made it 4-0 two minutes later. Athletic took the foot off the pedal at this point, but in the thirty-eighth minute Maranaj Batusha was left unmarked and lashed the ball in when he was set up in front of the visiting keeper.

Trailing 5-0 at the break, the signs were ominous for the visitors in the second half, however the Brook Street players seemed happy to just knock the ball around and amazingly did not add to the scoreline until the last eight minutes of the match.

Oleg Zhigalov had earlier picked up a slight foot injury, but the knock did not impede the Russian in the eighty-second minute as he thundered home a miss-hit free kick.

Chalbermatti were desperately trying to hold out for the final whistle, but their defence was the architect of their own downfall with five minutes remaining as they lost the ball to Daniel Hasnaş who strode into the box before rounding Manu Epskamp to fire the ball into the empty net.

At full-time Arjen played down the win and growing hype about the side’s chances of finally winning the trophy by saying, “We’ve played both games so far at home where we’ve been strong in recent years”.

“Our next match is in Bulgaria where we’ve never won and we’ve still to go to Switzerland and Serbia. It’s far from cut and dried as far as this group is concerned, never mind winning the tournament outright, so any such talk is far too premature. We need to work much harder if we’re to do that”.

“We’ve given ourselves a very good foundation to build on, but that’s all it is”.

He continued, “We played well today and it was a good confidence boost for Dario to get two goals as he’s not been hitting the net of late. This was clearly preying on his mind, so hopefully now he’ll be able to kick on”.

Elsewhere in the group, Car Dusan bounced back from last week’s defeat at New Home Park by defeating FC Torpedo Dobrich 5-1 in Serbia.

Andy Hautala curls in a superb shot to double our lead against Handball Rovers today.

Athletic took a potentially huge step towards the championship by defeating title rivals Handball Rovers 4-1 in this afternoon’s Tayside derby at New Home Park.

“The lads were outstanding today, I can’t praise them enough”, said Arjen who went on to add, “We’ve put ourselves firmly in the driving seat now. We can only throw it away now”.

The win saw Athletic open up a five-point lead over Rovers, and another win in the second leg of the double-header on Christmas Eve will give the New Home Park side an almost unassailable lead in the title race.

All the goals came in the first half, and Brook Street took the lead in the sixteenth minute when Andy Hautala pounced on indecision in the Rovers defence to fire the ball home.

Then, in the twenty-fifth minute Andy doubled our lead when he finished a fine move on the left by curling the ball past the Rovers keeper from a tight angle.

Rovers were far from out of it however and got right back into the game just five minutes later when Mathieu Maurin swept the ball home after a fine solo run.

This served to act as a wake-up call to the Brook Street players that they could not afford to sit back, and within two minutes the lead was back to two goals when Onésimo Murube slammed the ball into the net following some terrific build-up play.

Rovers got caught on the break with thirty-five minutes on the clock, and when the ball was swung in, Eldvinas Šumlinskas was on hand to power the header home.

Amazingly, that concluded the scoring, and although it was a terrific afternoon for the team, it did come at a cost as both Paul O’Healihy and Laurent Étcheverry went off injured. Paul looks likely to miss the next four matches, while it is hoped that Laurent will be back for next weekend.

Daniel Hasnaş powers home our opening goal in this morning's match against Car Dusan.

This morning, at the third attempt, Athletic finally broke our duck against a Serbian side, however they were made to fight all the way and only a late goal flourish prevented Car Dusan from leaving New Home Park with at least the point that they deserved.

The 4-2 scoreline totally flattered Brook Street, and few could deny that 2-2 would probably have been a more accurate score, as Arjen indeed said after the match.

“The match was balanced on a knife edge and they got the advantage of the first goal. We had to go at them, and to be honest I thought we were fortunate to pull a goal back and then get what looked like a bit of a ‘soft’ penalty”.

He continued, “When they got the equaliser with only four minutes left, I thought we were going to have to settle for a point, but credit to the boys, they kept going and hit two in the last three minutes”.

“It must have been a sore one for our opponents to take as there’s no doubt there was never two goals between us. I certainly couldn’t have grudged them a point”.

Athletic have a truly awful record in the Brook Street Cup and as the game edged past the seventieth minute with the hosts trailing to Luka Zmaj Jovanović’s fifteenth minute strike it looked as if we were remaining true to form and floundering at the first hurdle.

Then with seventy-two minutes showing, Daniel Hasnaş slipped his marker to get in a powerful header to tie the scores.

Brook Street’s go-ahead goal came from the penalty spot in controversial circumstances after goal-scorer Jovanović was adjudged to have held back Daniel Hasnaş.

Amid continuing protests, Igor Bulatov rifled the ball into the roof of the net to make the score 2-1.

The Dusan players were rightly aggrieved by the decision and set about restoring parity with renewed vigour.

Georg-Wilhelm Hars almost did exactly that with five minutes to go, but home keeper Emilio Juárez turned the ball round the post. Although the resulting corner was cleared, the loose ball was picked up by Candranana Shukla who ran it to score a terrific equalising goal.

It’s said that the most dangerous time for a team is when they’ve just scored, and so it proved for Car Dusan. Straight from the kick-off, the ball was passed out to Yann Schories who along with Oleg Zhigalov dragged the visitors defence out of position to give Jake MacConnechy a free run in on goal. When the ball was crossed into the centre he hit it first time to edge Athletic back in front.

This was a real sucker-punch for the visitors, and things were going to get worse for them just a minute from time when Oleg Zhigalov scored to wrap up the win and secure three points that Athletic scarcely deserved.

Athletic will go into next weekend’s first leg of the derby double-header against second placed Handball Rovers with a two-point advantage. While Handball were seeing off speccy’s saints, Athletic were sweeping aside Berceloona.

The truth of the matter is that although Athletic scored eight without reply, they rarely got out of second gear. Indeed, had it not been for the intervention of the woodwork, the score could have been greater.

Athletic got off to a real flier this afternoon, and only ten minutes into the game were already 3-0 up and the match was over as a contest.

Eldvinas Šumlinskas opened the scoring six minutes in, and added the second just a minute and a half later. A fine piece of play at a corner by Kyle Fair in the ninth minute left Fons Consheim with a straightforward chance, which the full-back whipped in off the far post.

The home keeper was left rooted to the spot as Paul O’Healihy’s superb free-kick in the twenty-fifth minute flew past him into the net, and could do nothing to prevent Andy Hautala from upping the score five minutes later and give Brook Street a 5-0 half time lead.

Athletic were clearly “taking it easy” when the match resumed, but it burst into life on the hour mark when Igor Bulatov rattled the home crossbar with the keeper no-where.

Kyle Fair then beat home keeper Leendert Zwaan to the ball in the seventy-second minute, but his lob was just a bit to high and the ball bounced to safety off the top of the crossbar.

Two minutes later however, and the captain made no mistake to make it 6-0 having been played through following a fine move in the middle of the park.

Then with only eleven minutes left, an almost a carbon-copy move had the same outcome and Kyle made it 7-0.

Finally, with eight minutes to go, Andy Hautala made a bit of space for himself and unleashed a rasping drive that gat the home keeper no chance to make it 8-0.

When asked how he felt about the performance after the full-time whistle, Arjen candidly said, “We can play a lot better, but when you’ve got the game won before the clock has hit double figures, then it can be a bit difficult to keep things going”.

He continued, “We did what we had to do, and got the points which was the main thing. We shouldn’t forget however that although we didn’t play as well as we can, that was Berceloona’s heaviest defeat of the season so far, so we couldn’t have been too bad!”

He was then asked about the series match of the day with Handball next weekend and said, “We’ve got a perfect record against them to date, and I fully intend to keep that. We will however give Handball the respect they deserve; they’re on a great run themselves, so we’ve got to be on our guard. I would very much doubt there being many goals in the game, but we have home advantage and the game is already sold out, so we’ve got to make that count. Three points is my sole objective; anything else is a bonus”.

The Club are delighted to announce the launch of our very own tartan. The club’s official colours of blue, black and white have been used to create a simple but stunning weave which is now available in a wide range of products.

A club spokesman said, “The brief we gave the designers was to create a tartan which was unfussy and straightforward. Too many tartans are far too ‘busy’ in our opinion, and that was what we were trying to avoid. We are absolutely delighted with the outcome and we are sure our supporters will think so too”.

“Each sale of Brook Street Athletic Football Club tartan will generate funds directly for the club to fund youth development, so by buying one of the available products, fans will be directly contributing to the future of their club”.

“Any enquiries about the products available should be directed to the Club Shop in the first instance, who will be able to assist fans to get kitted out in The Brook Street Athletic Tartan, Athletic’s new kit with a difference”.

The reserves geared up for next Wednesday’s opening Brook Street Cup fixture against Car Dusan, with an emphatic 9-0 win over AC Milan18 at New Home Park this morning.

If the Serbian side had representatives watching from the stand, they couldn’t help but be impressed by the way in which the home side comprehensively dismantled their Armenian opposition.

Athletic got off to a flier as Liran Tzur broke through following some fine build-up play to fire home from a tight angle with only four minutes played.

The game settled down after this and it wasn’t until the twenty-fourth minute that Athletic created a second chance. Having turned his marker inside out, Vítor Leocádio raced down the line before firing over an inviting cross that Liran Tzur rose high to power a header home.

Two minutes later and Oleg Zhigalov blasted home Brook Street’s third goal as the New Home Park side threatened to run riot.

The screw was being well and truly turned and only a fine save prevented Jake MacConnechy’s header from nestling in the net. This however was merely a reprieve as two minutes later the ball broke to Germán Olmos Ribas at the edge of the AC eighteen yard box and the Spaniard drilled the ball home.

The visitors were clearly glad to make it to half-time, and for a spell after the break, as the game was broken up by substitutions, they managed to keep things tight at the back.

However playing two central defenders is a risky strategy, and when Igor Bulatov beat his marker to the ball, there was only ever going to be one outcome.

At this point, the roof really caved-in for the visitors as within the next three minutes, second half substitutes Marcus Lövman and Archie Peacock added to the score.

Athletic were toying with their by now disheartened opponents, so it came as no surprise when with seven minutes left, Vítor Leocádio added his name to the scoresheet following a terrific one-two with Dario Zintu.

Then just two minutes later Vítor capped a fine performance with an excellent solo goal to make the final score 9-0.

“We played exceptionally well and scored some very good goals today”, said Arjen at the post-match press conference. “We played well as a team and there were a number of excellent performances”.

He continued, “This was the perfect build-up to the start of the Brook Street Cup next week, but I don’t think many teams will come here and play with two central defenders”.

“Our strikers may not have got on the scoresheet today, but they did an exceptional amount of hard work dragging the AC central defenders out of position and allowing our midfielders to run in on goal. They deserve a lot of credit for that”.

He concluded, “The whole squad are playing well and there is a real buzz about the dressing room. We’ve got real competition for places, and this is having the desired effect of getting everyone to raise their game”.

“I might look at changing my proposed line-up for Saturday’s game following today’s performance”.

With this afternoon’s 3-0 win over Whiskaz Wonderers, Athletic have now opened up a two point lead over Handball Rovers who could only manage a 1-1 draw away to Glenury Untied.

While the New Home Park side were always in control, they were made to fight all the way by a stubborn Wonderers side that were difficult to break down.

Athletic got off to the perfect start, Kyle Fair clipping home Nemanja Jankovic’s centre, but it took until the twenty-eighth minute before we created another chance. On this occasion, Ishmael Scannell in the Wonderers goal turned Onésimo Murube’s shot spectacularly round the post.

A 1-0 lead is always precarious, and Athletic had Ville Yrjölä to thank in the fifty-third minute when he got down sharply to parry Adalberto Dimitriades’s strike to safety.

This gave the Brook Street players the wake-up call they needed and right on the hour mark they moved a little closer to three points when Andy Hautala fired in Brook Street’s second goal of the game.

Gunnar Thomassen had the chance to reduce the lead two minutes later, but fired straight into the waiting arms of Ville Yrjölä.

As Andy Hautala was carrying a knock picked up last weekend, the decision was made to substitute him along with Igor Bulatov in the seventy-fifth minute. Coming on were Daniel Hasnaş and Yann Schories, and it was this combination that led to Brook Street’s third and decisive goal.

Picking the ball up on the left wing, Yann drove at the Whiskaz defence before cutting the ball back to Daniel who, in a poorly timed challenge, was bundled over in the box.

The referee pointed straight to the spot and Paul O’Healihy duly dispatched the penalty to make the points safe.

Despite the win, Arjen reckoned the match had been one of our toughest yet.

“There was a lot of expectation heaped on the shoulders of the players given how well they’ve been playing but the way Whiskaz set up, it makes it difficult for teams to break them down”.

He continued, “They don’t tend to concede many goals, so the fact we managed three without reply shows how well we’ve played today”.

It’s top against bottom next weekend as Brook Street travel to face Berceloona and they will be looking for a morale-boosting big win ahead of the following week’s crunch meeting with Handball at New Home Park.