Colonials Concede Late In Loss To Dale
By David Breidenbach, Correspondent
Apr 23, 2014, 15:05
Colonials' captain David Rigby fends off this Thomas Dale blast
COLONIAL HEIGHTS—Coming into Tuesday night’s match against Thomas Dale the Colonials knew they had a lot to overcome. Despite not having lost to a former Central District foe this season, the Colonials were facing a Knights team with their backs against a wall. Coming into the match riding a two game losing skid with losses to Prince George and Meadowbrook, it seemed unlikely that Thomas Dale would drop a third-straight game.
The Knights had a one-goal advantage on a penalty kick in the first half, and the Colonials charged hard in the opening minutes of the second half. With three solid scoring chances, the Colonials were unable to get the equalizer and the Knights tallied two goals within five minutes late in the half to take the 3-0 victory.
“We weren’t getting any pressure up top. We had a contingency plan and got three opportunities in the first 20 minutes of the second half. Their goalie (Sheldon Gaussoin) made a great save. Joe Tyler had it and the goalie made a fingertip save. If it goes in the score is 1-1 and anything can happen from there,” Colonials Coach J.P. McNulty said.
For the Knights, coach Mark Fowler said his team had been struggling to find the right complement of players. Five games into the season and they still don’t know what their best line up is, he said. For the match against Colonial Heights, Fowler made one key adjustment by moving Matt Mangano from the midfield back to defense. That shored up a weakness, and provided some much needed leadership as well.
“We are at this point in the season and I still don’t know my best team. We are searching for it, we moved Mangano back from the middle. It’s not just his ability; he provides a lot of vocals and helps with our organization. We try to play from the back,” Fowler said.
Mangano scored first on a penalty kick when the Colonials were called for handling in the box. Fowler said the play was a bit unlucky for Colonial Heights, as the ball bounded into the box from a long way out and could just as easily have hit the player’s chest as it did his hand.
That was all the scoring in the first half. The Colonials stepped up for the start of the second half and finally got some movement in the attacking third. Joe Tyler probably had their best attempt on the play that Gaussoin tipped away, but the Knights tightened up their defense and started to win the 50-50 balls.
Later in the half, Timmy Moore settled a ball in the middle of the goalie box and volleyed it in to make the score 2-0. Five minutes later, Austin Hylton followed up on a ball pushed back by the Colonials’ keeper to put the game out of reach at 3-0.
“That was our first loss to an old district foe. We knew it was going to take a Herculean effort to beat them three in arrow. That’s the way it goes sometimes,” McNulty said.
McNulty said his team had a hard time getting into the flow of the game, which can be credited to the Knights defensive play. The Colonials also seemed to have a hard time settling the ball, and seemed content to just kick it away and not try to keep possession. Their passing game was not as crisp as it was earlier this year when the beat Prince George 1-0.
“There was no flow, no possession, we had spurts but no consistency,” McNulty said.
For Fowler, the win could not have come at a better time. After next week’s matches against Petersburg and Dinwiddie, the Knights head into the tougher part of their season. They will play Matoaca, Cosby, and James River—a gauntlet of tough teams.
Earning a win over the Colonials is a boost for his team, he said. The Colonials had only one loss coming into the match, and have been in every game they played. They are a good team with a good coach.
“I am very pleased to get out of here with a win. Colonial Heights is good, they are having a very good season,” Fowler said.