St. Andrews retained their Premier League status as they came from behind to beat Senglea Athletic 2-1 in the BOV Premier League Play-Off at the Hibernians Stadium on Friday.
The First Division side showed greater determination during the first half, taking a well-deserved lead but in the second half, the Saints were clearly a better side and although they missed a penalty, they scored twice to secure victory and complete a comeback, just as they did in their Premier League game when they leapfrogged Qormi and Naxxar Lions to take tenth place.
Senglea held the initiative in the first half, taking the lead on the 20th when they were awarded a penalty after Michael Johnson brought Miguel Ciantar down inside the area; from the penalty spot, Ryan Dalli converted.
St. Andrews were a completely transformed side after the break and equalised on the 52nd minute when off a Joseph Farrugia corner from the right, the ball reached Enmy Manuel Pena Beltre who headed home from close range.
On the 61st, Joseph Farrugia went close for St. Andrews with a freekick from just outside the area. Two minutes later, a Michael Johnson header ended just over the bar off a cross by Farrugia from the right.
The Saints could have forged ahead on the 66th minute when they were awarded a penalty after player-coach Pablo Doffo handled the ball inside the area. However Joseph Farrugia’s effort from the penalty spot hit the foot of the upright.
Four minutes from time, St. Andrews notched the winner when Lucky Oseghale sent Kyrian Nwoko through and the latter slotted the ball past goalkeeper Jeffrey Farrugia.
ST. ANDREWS Jake Galea, Enmy Manuel Pena Beltre, Michael Johnson, Bon Won Che, Liam Grech, Dale Camilleri, Chinatu Francis Onwudinjo (83′ Lucky Victor Oseghale), Joseph Farrugia, Matteo Desira Buttigieg (42′ Jacob Walker), Kyrian Nwoko, Michael Salomon Wisdom.
Subs not used: Dorian Bugeja, Malcolm Vella Vidal, Jamie Magri Overend, Dejan Debono, Ryan Dalli.
Assistant Coach: Brian Chetcuti
SENGLEA Jeffrey Farrugia, Randall Vella, Pablo Cesar Doffo, Mattia Del Negro, Keith Tanti, Christian Cassar, Miguel Ciantar (78′ Juan Manuel Artiago Roa), Jurgen Farrugia, Aud-Gustine James Obaje (71′ Denis Sytnik), Emiliano Lattes, Ryan Dalli.
Subs not used: Jonathan Martinelli, Brady Zerafa, Chris Cuschieri, Sheldon Grech, Francesco Guzman.
Coach: George Faure
Referee: Malcolm Spiteri
Assistant Referees: Thomas Debono, Martin Borg
Additional Assjstant Referees: Clayton Pisani, Emanuel Grech
Fourth Official: Peter Abela
Yellow Cards: Doffo, Johnson, Grech, Cassar, Dalli, Sytnik