Behind a strong second half, the East York Goliaths defeated the Central Commerce Riders 3-0 in a senior men’s soccer South Region matchup at East York Memorial Stadium on a wet and chilly Monday afternoon.
While the rain continued to fall, the play resembled the field: sloppy.
But the weather would eventually clear up and Jorgo Nika scored two goals, the first in the opening minute of the second half, maintaining East York’s perfect 3-0 record.
Even with the win the reigning OFSAA silver medallists got off to a slow start and went into the first half scoreless with the Riders.
“Obviously we didn’t do what we wanted to do, but the weather was a factor,” said Tom Drivas, East York head coach. “Even with a skilled team, on a field like that it’s difficult to move the ball but we’ll keep practicing and keep doing the things we have to do and hopefully in the end we’ll get things straighten out.”
Though the coach was disappointed with the effort in the first half, the last 35 minutes would be much different.
“What I told them was ‘your OFSAA silver medalists you got to start playing, [it] doesn’t matter who’s on the opposite side you got to raise your level and play the way that got you to OFSAA,’ and they responded,” said Drivas. “The only thing we changed, was everything on the ground, through balls you got to give [and] diagonal passes that’s how we got those two goals, it’s simple.
“Once they got that second goal they started relaxing and started pushing the ball around [and] the other team deflated. ”
The second goal came off the boot of Nikiforo Nikiforos in the last 20 minutes of the game and it was evident Central Commerce was in over its heads.
“The transition didn’t flow in the second half because on defence we sustained as much as we could,” said Vasil Kanesh, head coach of the Riders. “Some of our defensive players got tired and we lost our legs in the second half that’s why we couldn’t counter attack.
“We couldn’t really play with them on offence, it was too much to sustain on defence.”
One of the factors that led Central to such fatigue and a lacklustre offence was the impressive ball control exemplified by the Goliaths.
“We’ve always said possession, possession, you have the ball the other team can’t score unless you’re a nice guy and score for them,” said Drivas.
Sitting atop the South Region standings, having to match up with less talented teams can be troubling for East York as it tries to drive for a provincial title.
“The competition is not what you want to push your team, you want to be the lowest team in the best division to get better but we have some good exhibition games lined up so that will help us.”