Hamilton FC welcomed division leaders Michigan Bucks to Brian Timmis Stadium for a Sunday evening match up in the United Soccer League’s Premier Development League. And the scoreless draw showed that the Rage was able to play against the league’s best.
The match was played in front of a decent sized crowd on a warm and sunny late afternoon. Michigan came into the game having only one loss and one tie against their eight wins for the season and was looking to extend its lead at the top of the table. This was not to be the case, however, as Hamilton FC took the game to the visitors, moving the ball confidently in midfield and providing service to striker Aaron Boyd.
Boyd had his best game in an HFC uniform and proved a handful for the Bucks central defenders. On several occasions he was able to spin his marker and get a shot on target while on other occasions feeding his wide men and taking up an attacking position.
The Bucks on the other hand were somewhat one dimensional in their attack, relying almost exclusively on long throw-ins from one of their full backs. Admittedly, the player had an outstanding throw-in but there was no other build-up to the Bucks’ attack.
Scott McCoubrey enjoyed the first good scoring chance, at the 20 minute mark, when he was released on a nice through ball from Will Grocott. McCoubrey’s chip was deflected just wide by the keeper.
Michigan was awarded an indirect free kick, inside the HFC box at 33 minutes, when the referee called keeper Alex Mitchell for failing to put the ball in play within six seconds – a seldom seen call. Michigan was unable to make anything of the resulting free kick and the first half finished scoreless.
No changes were made by either team to start the second half and it was Hamilton who would start strongest, putting the Bucks under early pressure and winning a couple of corner kicks. Hamilton continued to enjoy a territorial advantage with much of the second half played in the Bucks half of the pitch. Michigan’s attack generally consisted of long clearances from their goalkeeper or long throw-ins from their full back, none of which produced anything significant.
Things really heated up in the last 10 minutes with the Bucks goalie making two highlight reel saves. The first came off a great header from Aaron Boyd, which seemed destined for the top corner, only to be tipped over by an outstretched fingertip save from the keeper.
Liam Collins thought he had sealed the points for HFC with the last kick of the game when his shot curled towards the top corner, only to be similarly tipped past the post.
It’s a busy time in the schedule as Hamilton FC is right back at it on Wednesday evening when they host Akron Summit at 6 p.m, followed by another game on Friday night, also at 6 p.m, when the Chicago Fire visit. Both games are at Brian Timmis Stadium.