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(Posted 8:30 a.m., Aug. 30)
Hornets U16 boys regional team miss opportunity to clinch ERSL title
By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

A member of the Gloucester Hornets battles for the ball during the ldying momets of the Hornets final regular season game against the Nepean Hotspurs on Thursday. Fred Sherwin/Photo

As little as three weeks ago, the Gloucester Hornets U16 regional boys team looked to be a lock to win their first Eastern Region Soccer League championship.

They had a perfect 7-0-0 record and they held a seven point advantage over the Ottawa South United Force. They seemed unstoppable, or so they thought until the Force beat them 6-0 on their home turf on Aug. 13. They managed to rebound to win their next two games against the Ottawa Internationals and Kingston United, but another misstep resulted in a tie against Cumberland United on Aug. 25, and their much hoped-for championship season was suddenly in jeopardy.

With one game left and the Force five points back with two games in hand, the Hornets knew they had to win their final game the Nepean Hotspurs to secure the title. A tie or a loss would give the Force the chance to claim the championship for themselves by winning their two remaining games.

In the opening minutes of Thursday's game, the Hornets made a fatal error by allowing the Hotspurs to dictate the action on the pitch. They turned the ball over time and again, allowing Nepean to stretch the field with long booming kicks forward. It wasn't until the second half that the Hornets, finally began to play with some sense of urgency and before long they were generating scoring chances despite the Hotspurs detemination to fill the box with as many defenders as the could muster.

In the dying minutes, the Hornets had a two opportunities in particular that would have allowed them to win the game on any other day, but on this day Hotspurs keeper Colin Gibson made two spectacular saves, including one reflex stop with his left arm that could have been a candidate for the TSN Play of the Day.

In the end the Hornets had to settle for a tie and must now wait to see if the Force can win their remaing two games to clinch the title on goal differential. A tie in either game would give the Hornets the championships. Only time will tell.

(This story was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local business partners.)


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