ST George’s extended their unbeaten home run in the top flight to 41 games on Saturday with a hard-earned 5-1 victory over southern rivals Rushen at Glencrutchery Road in the Canada Life Premier League’s match of the day.
The home side, in fact, got off to an electric start as they took the lead after just 51 seconds, but the remainder of the opening half turned out to be a highly competitive affair with little to choose between the two sides.
After the break, however, the Saints raised their game and three goals in a 10-minute spell provided the reigning champions with a comfortable, if slightlyflattering, final scoreline.
The visiting supporters must have feared the worst in the opening minute when Rushen keeper Tom Strivens was forced to push a Ciaran McNulty cross into the path of Calum Morrissey who netted with ease.
But the response from Mark Heywood’s side was positive as the lively Steve Riding drew a full-length save from Saints’ keeper Grant Dawson.
The game went from end to end, Morrissey delivering a superbly judged low cross that beat both attackers and defenders alike, before the home defence was forced to scramble away a cleverly taken Jack Saxon free-kick.
The scoreline remained the same to the break but Frank Jones and McNulty fashioned superb chances for the Saints, but both missed the target.
Meanwhile efforts from Saxon and Riding at the other end severely tested the home defence.
If the stand-out performers of the opening half were defenders Johnny Myers and Michael Baker then the second half star was clearly Chris Bass Jr.
His performance throughout was outstanding as he clearly transformed the game.
The hosts increased their advantage early in the second period when midfielder Sean Quaye headed home a Bass Jr corner in a crowded goalmouth.
After Bass sent another effort inches wide, Michael Williams drew an important acrobatic save from keeper Dawson to retain the home side’s advantage.
Then two goals in a minute effectively ended the game. Firstly McNulty produced a superb shot on the turn to make it three, before Bass Jr delivered another clever ball into the box for McNulty to add his second.
Chris Shimmin gave the visitors a little hope as he slammed home a well-worked consolation.
Fittingly it was Bass Jr that rounded off the scoring after racing clear of the Spaniards’ defence before firing past Strivens despairing dive.
St George’s Grant Dawson, Sam Caine, Mark Teare, Julian Ringham, Gary Quirk (James McStay) Sean Quaye (Reece Thompson) Frank Jones, Calum Morrissey, Ciaran McNulty, Chris Bass Jr.
Rushen Tom Strivens, Alex Maitland, Alex Guy, Adam Cregeen, Michael Baker, Jordan Watterson (Ryan Crawley) Jack Saxon, Chris Shimmin, Michael Williams, Aaron Hawley (Harvey Kneale), Steve Riding.
Referee Andrew Lodge
Assistants David Murphy and Alan Cowin
Man of the Match Chris Bass Jr (St George’s) Made a clear difference during the second half.
Match Rating HHHHH