Friday, July 6, 2012
PITTSBURGH -- The Harrisburg City Islanders scored two goals in the final nine minutes of play to earn a 3-2 victory against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds at Chartiers Valley Stadium on Friday night. Garret Pettis provided the Islanders with the game-winning goal in the 87th minute to move his side into fifth place in the USL PRO standings.
From the opening whistle the game was filled with physical tackles, counter-attacks and quality scoring opportunities for both clubs. The battle in the ‘burgh was exciting throughout the game, but the final ten minutes of the game was all you needed to see to understand rivalry between the two Pennsylvania clubs.
With the teams tied 1-1 late in the second half, the Riverhounds would jump ahead of the City Islanders in the 80th minute off the head of Darren Amoo. A back-post service from Anthony Calvano sailed over everyone except Amoo, who was in the right place at the right time to redirect the cross past Harrisburg goalkeeper Nick Noble to give the home side a 2-1 lead.
The Riverhounds' lead lasted less than a minute as the City Islanders capitalized on a corner kick in the 81st minute. A deep service cleared the Riverhounds defense, but was headed back across by Drew Yates for Bilal Duckett in the middle of the goal mouth. Duckett flicked the ball once more for Sainey Tourey, who headed the ball down and into the back of the net.
The City Islanders would take the lead for good with three minutes to go from the foot of Pettis. A quality combination at midfield sprung the Islanders’ with a three-on-two advantage. Committing the defender to the ball, Yann Ekra released the ball inside for the trailing Pettis. Taking a first-time shot, Pettis tucked the ball past Riverhounds goalkeeper Hunter Gilstrap to give the City Islanders a 3-2 lead.
The City Islanders had jumped ahead of the Riverhounds in the 18th minute of play when Jason Pelletier played a diagonal ball into the left corner for Brian Ombiji. Taking a touch towards the end line, Ombiji played the ball back for Lucky Mkosana at the edge of the penalty area. Confidently receiving the ball from Ombiji, Mkosana struck a hard right-footed shot past Gilstrap to put the City Islanders on the scoreboard.
Seven minutes later, the Riverhounds would tie the game with a counter-attack of their own. Digging the ball out of the right corner, Stefan Lundberg set a ball back for Calvano. Running on to the ball, Calvano played a one-time cross towards the penalty spot for Matt Kassel. Rising above his marker, Kassel flicked a ball towards the back post for Rich Costanzo, who cut back inside for a better angle before rifling a near post shot past Noble.
The game’s tempo continued at an unbelievably high pace for the entire ninety minutes. Filled with great saves from both goalkeepers in Gilstrap and Noble, the game remained tied until the final ten minutes, when the City Islanders would take their dramatic victory.
The Riverhounds travel south next weekend for a back-to-back road trip in Richmond and Charlotte. The Riverhounds will kickoff at 7 p.m. against the Kickers next Friday night at City Stadium, while Saturday’s game against the Eagles is slated for an 8 p.m. kickoff at Charlotte Christian Stadium. The City Islanders will return to Skyline Sports Complex on City Island on Saturday when they host the Antigua Barracuda FC. Their game is scheduled for an 8 p.m. kickoff.