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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