Wednesday July 18, 2012
DAYTON, Ohio – The Dayton Dutch Lions took a 2-1 victory against the Harrisburg City Islanders to take four points from the home-and-home series between the two teams. After Friday’s 0-0 draw in Harrisburg at Skyline Sports Complex, the Dutch Lions returned home to finish the series with the win.
Harrisburg struck first in the ninth minute after Lion’s defender Nixon Dias lost the ball near the midfield and had to track back to commit a foul to stop the City Islanders' attack. The resulting free kick by Tom Mellor was fired low to the left side of the goal, and while Matt Williams was able to get a glove to the shot, the ball bounced up and in off the crossbar for the first goal of the game.
A little over 10 minutes after the Islander’s goal, defender Taylor Lord came on for Dias. The City Islanders' pressure continued through the 34th minute when Harrisburg forward Yann Ekra was wide open at the top of the penalty area and fired a shot on goal, but Williams was able to punch the ball out for a corner.
The Lions tied the game in the 38th minute after Akeem Priestley played a give-and go with Gerrit-Jan Bartels, making a run into the middle of the penalty area. Priestley then clipped the ball outside to Gibson Bardsley, who finished for his fourth goal of the season.
“The goal we made was unbelievable," said Coach Ivar Van Dinteren. “It was from Priestley on the left to Bartels the right with a clear finish by Bardsley. At half I told the boys, we need more intensity and pressure, not individually but as a team.”
The second half saw more possession and pushing forward by Harrisburg, but the Lions pulled ahead in the 51st minute. Joel DeLass fed the ball to Kyle Knotek who played a clever backheell to Bartels eight yards from goal, and the striker fired home his first goal of the season.
Falling behind caused the City Islanders to increase their pressure, and in the 73rd minute J.T. Noone hit a cross from the corner to Garret Pettis, who shot, but the ball deflected off Williams. The rebound came back to Pettis, but Williams was again able to deny the City Islanders' forward and keep the Dutch Lions ahead.
The heavy City Islanders pressure provided the Lions with opportunities to counter. Substitute Daniel Holowaty thrilled the crowd with a breakaway chip to Eric Kissinger, but with little support the Harrisburg defense was able to recover and clear the ball away for a corner. Then with a minute to go Toric Robinson had another breakaway, but shot well over the crossbar from the top of the penalty area. The Dutch Lions would hold on to take victory, however, moving into ninth place in the USL PRO standings ahead of the Pittsburgh Riverhounds.
“At that point, they were trying to play everything or nothing,” said Van Dinteren. “We locked it in at the end and Matt Williams saved us all.”
Dayton heads into the weekend on the road, with a Friday night game in North Carolina against the Wilmington Hammerheads (7-6-5), a side the Dutch Lions defeated 4-0 in their last meeting. The Dutch Lions then face the Richmonnd Kickers on Saturday night at City Stadium for the second match-up between the two teams this season.