A trio of goals, including one by Khody Ellis in the 90th minute, lifted Hamilton FC to a 3-0 shut-out of the visiting Cincinnati Kings on Friday (June 15) in the Premier Development League of the United Soccer Leagues.
With the season nearing the halfway mark, and the post season just over a month away, Hamilton FC needed to start picking up wins in the hope of pushing into the playoffs. In the PDL, the top two teams in each division advance into the playoffs, with the second and third placed teams meeting in a sudden death qualifier.
Hamilton is seven points away from second place after Friday’s win.
Hamilton had several chances in the first half including numerous shots which sailed just wide of the goal. HFC maintained pressure early on including Josh Bennett kicking the ball across the box prompting Kings’ keeper Hans Anton Niklasson to make a diving save to preserve the scoreless game at the 21 minute mark.
That stalemate ended five minutes later.
Andrew Ferguson took a great pass from Miroslav Cabrillo and sent the ball into the back of the net to give Hamilton a 1-0 lead heading into halftime for the second straight game.
Both teams moved the ball well in the first half with great scoring chances. At one point, the ball popped over Hamilton keeper Conor Hurley’s head but a Rage defender slid and kicked the ball away before it rolled into the net.
Hamilton doubled its lead at the 54 minute mark. Josh Bennett came up the side and sent the ball across the box to a leaping William Grocott who headed it into the net.
Hamilton had a flurry of chances at 62 minutes with three straight corners. The first was headed out by a Kings’ defender followed by an HFC header deflected wide off another Kings player. Kings’ keeper Niklasson made a great save for Cincinnati on the third corner.
Cincinnati nearly broke the shut-out late in the half as a hard shot bounced off the cross bar and back in front of the net. The Kings rebounded the ball which sailed over the net.
Right at the end of regulation, the FC Rage added a third goal. Mark Reilly, who subbed into the game at the 88th minute, came up the left side and launched the ball at the net. The Kings’ keeper made the save which defected right to Lewis Ellis, who relayed to Khody Ellis. He chipped the ball into the net for the score.
With the win, Hamilton improves to 3-4-1 and are now in a three-way tie for fourth place in the Great Lakes Division with the Chicago Inferno and Chicago Fire.
The victory was a grand team effort with 11 players contributing shots on goal. Cabrillo registered four shots and Grocott had three shots. Ferguson, Shane Keely and Scott McCoubrey had two shots while Jack Warburton, Camillo, Adam Bond, Tevin Wynter, Khody Ellis and Lewis Ellis had one shot each.
Hamilton FC travels to Northern Kentucky University to take on the Cincinnati Kings on Tuesday (June 19). HFC will return home to Ron Joyce Stadium on Sunday, July 1 at 7 p.m. when FC London visits.