(2-4, 4-1, 3-0, 0-1)
After easily disposing of Marsascala in our opening match, which had the stamp of a non-contest given the disparity between the teams as reflected by the 20-3 scoreline in our favour, the lads in red came up against Exiles in their second outing of the winter league.
Against our opponents from across St Julian’s Bay, the team was mainly spearheaded by Edward ‘Ċoċċi Aquilina, scorer of a hat-trick, including an exquisitely lobbed backhand, Michele Stellini and Jordan Camilleri, each authors of two goals.
After an uncertain opening quarter we came good in the middle sessions to turn a two-goal deficit into a 9-5 lead with the last session to go.
Two early goals in our favour were nullified in no time, before Exiles took a 4-2 advantage. The downside to Neptunes’ game in that opening part of the contest was some loosing marking within our five-metre area which was fully exploited by our opponents.
The second session was marked by a change of cover tactics as we shifted from central zone to tight marking. This paid dividends since from then onwards Exiles, well served in goal by Alan Borg Cole, had no answer to our team’s emerging sharpness and superior resilience.
Seven goals against one conceded in the second and third sessions gave us the base we were after. Tony Camilleri could then afford to put more of our tailenders simultaneously in the water.
We had been somehow on the rack early on but managed to turn the tide in our favour after that sloppy first session. To the extent that outcome was never in doubt at the beginning of the third quarter.