Hamilton FC played host to the Chicago Fire on Friday night at Brian Timmis stadium in men’s PDL action. This was HFC’s final home game of the season and saw the team’s largest crowd of the season with about 250 in attendance. The Fire were made most welcome on the night by the officiating crew; an early Chicago goal, which most in attendance believed to be offside, was allowed to stand. The two officials involved in play saw it otherwise and the 3rd minute strike stood, despite the protests of the HFC players and coaches.
This was not the start that HFC were looking for and it seemed to unsettle them somewhat. Their play for most of the first half was a bit ragged and they had difficulty establishing their normal fluid passing game. This enabled Chicago to maintain sustained pressure on HFC, with keeper, Alex Mitchell, called on to make quite a few saves. Hamilton’s only real scoring chance came in the 35th minute when a long range shot from Chris Karafilov was deflected by Aaron Boyd. The Chicago keeper was able to adjust in time to make the save.
The second half was a better one for Hamilton as Chicago seemed content to sit back and protect their lead. HFC picked up their game somewhat and played with more confidence and enthusiasm, stringing good passing sequences together. One of these sequences resulted in leading scorer, Scott McCoubrey, being played through into the Chicago penalty area. The angle of his run, however, allowed time for the Chicago defenders to recover and he was unable to convert the opportunity.
Alex Mitchell kept Hamilton in the game right to the end making a great finger tip save in the 80th minute then saving a Chicago penalty kick in the 84th minute. The spot kick was awarded after Mitchell brought down an onrushing Chicago player. Definitely a foul but very questionable whether it was inside the box. Mitchell made amends, however, by diving to his left and tipping the shot over the crossbar. This save lifted HFC hopes and they plugged away at the Chicago net in the dying minutes. They were, unfortunately, unable to make the breakthrough required to tie this one up and the game finished 1-0 Chicago.
While the Men hit the road for their final three games, the Women’s team still has 2 home games remaining. On July 13th, the HFC host Rochester Ravens and on July 17th London Gryphons. Both games are at 6pm at Brian Timmis Stadium.