Kings and HFC Rage play to PDL draw

Hamilton FC PDL Men’s team and the Cincinnati Kings played to a spirited 1-1 draw on Thursday evening at Brian Timmis Stadium. Hamilton handed starts to local boys Adam Bond and Andrew Barsalona for this game. Bond was paired up front with strike partner Evan James with Barsalona given a free role in behind the front two. This was Barsalona’s first action of the PDL season, having recovered from a nagging hip flexor injury.

The game was played at a high pace with both teams showing good spirit and intensity. HFC enjoyed early spells of pressure and were unlucky not to capitalize on a couple of good shots from Josh Bennett. Cincinnati were awarded a penalty kick in the 27th minute on a dubious call from the referee. Stephen Powell looked to have won the ball with a sliding tackle in the box but was judged to have fouled the Cincinnati player by referee Matthew Arduini. Branden Stelmak converted the PK to put he visitors up 1-0. The setback didn’t seem to faze the HFC boys as they continued to apply pressure to Cincinnati with Bennett and James both testing the King’s goalkeeper with shots on target. The first half finished with the visitors enjoying the 1-0 advantage.

The Kings set out in the second half to try to protect their first half lead and were content to sit back and let HFC come at them. Hamilton continued to take the game to Cinci for the first part of the second half and pressured their defense with some nice one-touch passing at the top of the King’s box resulting in chances for both Evan James and Will Grocott to test the King’s goalkeeper. At the 60th minute, Hamilton introduced leading scorer, Scott McCoubrey, in an attempt to get on the score board. McCoubrey, who replaced Adam Bond, didn’t take long to make an impact. Will Grocott provided a deft penetrating pass sending McCoubrey clear just inside the box. McCoubrey settled and fired a bullet into the top left hand corner of the Cincinnati net to tie the match at one apiece at the 70th minute.

Both teams seemed up for the challenge of trying to secure the 3 points with spirited play at both ends of the park. Evan James looked to have put HFC in front when he was sent through one-on-one with the Kings goalie at the 75th minute mark. James attacked the box and chipped onrushing goalie, Tristram Barnard, only to see his shot cleared off the line by a Cincinnati defender. With two minutes of stoppage time remaining Cincinnati were awarded a free kick about 35 yards out. The thunderous left footer from the Cinci player caught HFC goalkeeper, Alex Mitchell, a bit too far off his line and he was fortunate that the rocket hit the cross bar. The ball dropped down behind him and fell to a charging Cincinnati player just 3 yards from the goal line. Mitchell threw himself in front of the shot to miraculously keep the ball out to the HFC net and preserve the point for Hamilton.

The 200 fans at the game certainly got their money’s worth as this was definitely an entertaining contest.

Hamilton FC next PDL game is Saturday, June 18th, when they hit the road to play top of the table Michigan Bucks. The boys will be looking to continue their run of good play in order to try and grind out a victory on the road.