San Ġiljan asserted their superiority over Sliema when they stepped into the driving seat after the change of ends to keep their pristine start to the season.
Sliema, on the other hand, had nothing to lose from this encounter and succumbed to another defeat.
However, this time they did so with a fight display keeping within touch distance from their opponents almost throughout the proceedings, only for the match to end when San Ġiljan took a decisive lead midway through the last session.
Sliema struck twice through Mark Meli and Nicholas Bugelli with San Ġiljan restrcited to shooting hurriedly from a distance before Ben Plumpton made it 2-1.
Heavyweight Matthew Zammit was ominously hanging on two fouls at this stage but was still in water when he levelled matters at the start of the second session.
That was the prelude of things to come as San Ġiljan scored three times without reply and open a 4-2 lead. However, at half-way mark, the score was at 4-4 when Liam Galea first trimmed the leeway and with 23 seconds left Mark Meli levelled matters.
When San Ġiljan temporarily lost Matthew Zammit to injury, Plumpton woke up to his responsibility, netting twice in quick succession, putting his team in front on 6-4.
Bugelli’s snap shot from a close angle surprised Jake Tanti. However, San Ġiljan regained their two-goal cushion with a goal from Dino Zammit that just beat the buzzer.
But Bugelli threw a lifeline when immediately reducing the deficit to 7-6 at the start of the fourth session. Plumpton struck again to bring relief in the San Ġiljan clan.
The Saints pulled clear when they hit three goals to make it 11-7 and put the result beyond Sliema’s reach. Before the end of the match, Bugelli hit another scorcher for his fifth goal.
Earlier on, Sirens chalked up their second win at the expense of a battling Exiles to top the Premier Division’s second-tier standings.
Sirens were given a material edge when Exiles, already down to the ‘bare bones’, had the influential Aurelien Cousin expelled early in the second session.
It was all-square after the first session, but Sirens, for whom Matthias Azzopardi scored four goals, took the initiative in the next quarter to make it 3-2 at midpoint.
Timothy Sullivan should have made it 3-3 but Joseph Parnis blocked his effort from penalty.
Sullivan atoned for that miss when he scored on either side of Azzopardi’s conversion with Gianni Farrugia potting his team’s fifth goal.
Sirens conceded a penalty seven seconds from the end, which was duly converted by Sullivan, who levelled matters on 5-5 before the last session started.
Midway through the last session, Marko Orlovic called a time-out to reset his side.
That worked wonders when goals from Isaiah Riolo and Azzopardi gave Sirens a two-goal cushion.
The Sliema side did not buckle and pulled a goal back with Jake Bajada but Sirens held on.
(1-1, 1-2, 3-2, 1-2)
Exiles: M. Castillo, J. Bajada 2, A. Magri, P. Paris, T. Sullivan 4, S. Xerri de Caro, K. Griscti, N. Paris, A. Cousin, S. Apap, D. Fenech.
Sirens: J. Parnis, J. Ciantar, K. Erdogan, G. Mellilo, L. Galea, T. Said, L. Falzon, I. Riolo 1, J. Napier, M. Cutajar, M. Sciberras, M. Azzopardi 4, G. Farrugia 2.
Refs: Stefan Licari, Alex de Raffaele.
SAN ĠILJAN 11
(1-2, 3-2, 3-1, 4-3)
San Ġiljan: J. Tanti, K. Tanti, A. Galea 1, D. Ciantar, M. Mannino, M. Zammit 1, B. Plumpton 5, J. Bonavia, Z. Micallef, Darren Zammit, P. Fava, Dino Zammit 3, G. Vassallo, M. Ortoleva 1.
Sliema: N. Grixti, J. Gabarretta, L. Galea 1, J. Sciberras, M. Meli 2, B. Cachia, M. Spiteri Staines, J. Brownrigg, Z. Mizzi, N. Bugelli 4, Z. Sciberras.
Refs: Massimo Angileri, Ronnie Spiteri.