Volume 12 Week 5

Thursday, Nov. 23


 

Posted Oct. 25

Posted Sept. 21

Updated Feb. 4

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Orléans Ward
Bob Monette

Beacon Hill,
Cyrville Ward
Tim Tierney

 

 

 

 

Senior Boys Soccer
St. Peter heading to Quad-A provincials despite coming up short in high-scoring city final
By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

Members of the St. Peter Knights pose fpr a group photo of accepting their silver medals following their 5-4 loss to the St. Pius X-Men in the NCSSAA AAA/AAAA senior boys city championship on Thursday. Fred Sherwin/Photo

The St. Peter Knights senior boys soccer team gave the St. Pius X-Men all they could handle on Thursday, but it was not to be as the X-Men came back from a two goal deficit to beat the Knights and win their fourth city championship in the past five years.

The X-Men were the heavy favourties coming into the final having won seven straight including a 2-0 win over the Knights in the opening game of the season.

The Knights were 5-2 and were the fifth lowest scoring team in the league having scored just 13 goals in seven games. By comparison the X-Men scored 24 goals and allowed just four.

Both teams knew coming into the game that they had qualified for the provincial championships, St. Pius at the AAA level and St. Peter, having the higher enrollment, in Quad-A.

While the X-Men were looking to win their fourth city championship in the past five years, the Knights were hoping to win it for the first time since 2005. What transpired on the artificial pitch behind Franco Cité high school turned out to be one of the most entertaining finals in recent memory.

The game got off to a rather ignominious start for St. Peter as a sloppy turnover at midfield and a misplayed ball by Knights keeper Derrick Mbuliyo resulted in 1-0 lead for St. Pius before the game was barely a minute old.

The Knights could have let the early goal take the wind out of their sales and gone through the motions the rest of the way, but instead they took a couple of minutes to steady themselves and then began to take control in midfield.

St. Peter got the equalizer at the 7:19 mark of the first half on a great tic-tac-toe play up the middle from Blair Plummer to Luis Castro to Justin Tilley who took the wonderfully timed lead pass and deftly put it past St. Pius keeper Ben Nicoletta who came out to challenge Tilley on the play.

The X-Men very nearly replied two minutes later on a long pass from midfield to Marco Natoli who had Mbuliyo beaten on the play but rolled the ball wide. It then came back to Shemar Hoilett at the top of the box on a poor clearance and Mbuliyo had to be sharp to gather in the midfielder's shot.

The Knights next foray downfield resulted in a corner kick which was taken by Sean Hegarty who delivered a perfect ball to the left foot of Blair Plummer who volleyed it Nicoletta and into the back of the net for a 2-1 lead;

After about the 20 minute mark, the Knights began to fall back at midfield, allowing the X-Men to press for the equalizer. The would eventually get the tying goal in the 26th minute on a pass from Aaron Nkazzonnyi to Daniel Padovan who got behind his defender and delivered a shot past Mbuliyo that caught the inside of the far post for his second goal of the game.

The X-Men continued to press for the go ahead goal as time wound down in the first half and Mbuliyo had to come up big, first on a free kick from Natoli in the 33rd minute, and again on a strike from Natoli as time expired.

As the second half got under way, the Knights did to the X-Men what the X-Men did to the them in the first minute of the game by scoring in the opening minute of play on another great bit of passing from Adam Lofranco to Hegarty to Premice Luanda who touched it past Nicoletta with his right foot.

The Knights would go up 4-2 in the 47th minute off a free kick by Kris Radzichowsky who curled his attempt along the ground to the far post where Castro timed his strike perfectly.

St. Peter barely had time to celebrate their good fortune before Natoli scored on a perfectly placed free kick in the 49th minute that curled into the top corner from just outside the box to narrow the Knights' lead to 4-3.

St. Pete's appeared to re-establish their two goal lead in the 56th minute on another perfectly placed free kick to the far post by Radzichowsky, but Joey Martello, who headed the ball in, was flagged for being offside.

Martello would get another chance to give his team a two goal lead a minute later on a nice lead pass from Radzichowsky, but his second touch betrayed and he lost control of ball with Nicoletta down and out on the play.

The missed opportunities would come back to haunt the Knights as the X-Men managed to tie the game a minute later on Natoli's second goal of the game set up by Padovan and Nkazzonnyi.

The X-Men would eventually take the lead on an own goal by Knights' defender Alex Green in the 63rd minute. The play was set up by Padovan who crossed the ball through the box to Nkazzonnyi who fired a shot towards the far post. As Green slid to try and block the shot he accidentally redirected into the top of the net. If he hadn't touched the ball, Padovan would have easily scored on the play.

Down 5-4 with seven minutes left to go in regulation, the Knights were unable to mount much offence against a St. Pius team determined to protect their one goal lead despite having to play an extra seven minutes of added time.

Although they didn't win the game, the Knights can take a lot of postives with them as the prepare for the OFSAA Quad-A championships, not the least of which is the fact that they managed to score four goals against a stingy St. Pius side that had only allowed four goals in their previous seven games combined.

(Posted 11:30 p.m., Oct. 25)

 

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