Midfielder John Pillion converted a penalty kick for one goal and set up another from a corner kick to lead Ireton to a 3-1 victory over Paul VI last night.

The victory, the Cardinals' fourth straight, puts No. 7 Ireton into sole possession of first place in the Metro Soccer Conference.

Paul VI applied pressure from the opening kickoff, but it was Ireton (7-0-1) that struck first.

The game's opening goal came in the seventh minute when a penalty kick was called after a Paul VI defender used his hands to stop a shot by Ireton's Chris Scrofani on the goal line.

Pillion easily placed the ball in the corner of the net to put the visitors ahead.

No. 14 Paul VI (7-2-1) nearly evened the match with less than five minutes to go in the first half when Keith Arnott's header deflected off the inside of the post.

But Ireton managed to clear the ball out of trouble on that sequence and, with just 30 seconds remaining before halftime, took a 2-0 lead. Forward Jude Collins headed in the decisive goal, his eighth, just inside the near post after Pillion's corner kick.

"We worked on that play in practice yesterday," said Pillion. "Jude {Collins} is supposed to shield {the goalie's view} or get it if he can."

Ireton's advantage improved to 3-0 eight minutes into the second half when Scrofani booted in a loose ball from about 15 yards out after a scramble in front of the Paul VI net.

The Panthers got their only goal three minutes later on a header by Karl Kriestch, but were unable to pull any closer.