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Dutch Lions Hold Off Wolves
DeLass, Bardsley each score twice in 4-3 victory

Saturday, May 11, 2013

BEAVERCREEK, Ohio -- The Dayton Dutch Lions snapped a two-game losing streak as they took a 4-3 victory against Phoenix FC in a fast-paced battle on Saturday night at Beavercree Stadium. Joel DeLass and Gibson Bardsley each scored twice for the Dutch Lions, who had to withstand a strong late rally by the Wolves to claim all three points. 

Phoenix drew first blood with a Thomas Ramos shot off the underside of the crossbar, which just bounced over the line according to the assitant referee, surprising the Dutch Lions with an early goal in the sixth minute. In an open game, both teams pushed forward quickly in possession, and the Dutch Lions were able to get back on even terms when Shintaro Harada skillfully set up DeLass, who rocketed the ball to the far post for his first goal of the game in the 18th minute. 

The Wolves (2-5-2) almost regained the lead a few minutes later as Diego Faria sent a long-range shot to the top-right corner of the Dutch Lions’ goal, but Dayton goalkeeper Matt Williams punched the ball away to safety. 

Dayton (3-2-0) kept the pressure on, but was denied several opportunities including a great clearance by Wolves’ goalkeeper Andrew Weber, whose header outside his penalty area cleared away a dangerous opportunity in the 40th minute. The Dutch Lions' persistence paid off in the final minute of the half, however, when Bardsley, with four defenders crowding him, shot the ball through traffic from the left side of the penalty area to the right corner of the net for a 2-1 halftime lead.

As dark clouds crept in for the second half, the Dutch Lions and the Wolves continued their battle for possession with a feverish intensity that matched the ensuing storm. Things got a lot more cloudy for Phoenix in the 48th minute when Eli Garner threaded a cross to Bardsley, who burned past Phoenix for a thunderous goal, giving his side a two-goal advantage.

The Dutch Lions appeared to have put the game away in the 77th minute when they were given a penalty kick after a foul in the penalty area, DeLass converting from the spot into the left corner of the net. Phoenix hit back almost immediately, with second-half substitute Aaron King driving home a finish into the top-right corner in the 79th minute. The Wolves then pulled within a goal a minute later as Cam Vickers corner kick was headed home by Peabo Doue.

The Wolves thought they had found an equalizer three minutes later, only for a goal to be ruled out for offside, and they again went close in the 89th minute, with a header flashing over the crossbar. The Dutch Lions were able to see out the victory, however, moving ahead of the Wolves in the USL PRO standings in the process. 

“A couple of crazy minutes and then the goal fell and I expected the worst,” Dutch Lions coach Patrick Bal said. “I like the way it was played. It was hard and it was fair. There were no crazy tackles. Both teams knew what they were playing for. It was a huge win towards making the playoffs.”

The Dutch Lions return to action on Tuesday night in the U.S. Open Cup as they host the PDL's River City Rovers, from Louisville, Ky., at 7 p.m. at Beavercreek Stadium. Dayton then travels to Pittsburgh to face the Riverhounds at Highmark Stadium next Saturday. Dayton’s next home game is Sunday, May 26th, at 6:30 pm as they host Antigua’s Barracuda FC. For season and individual game tickets, visit the Dutch Lions website.

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