Dennis Bellows, left, of the Rangers chases down Ian MacDonald of the Under 18s during soccer play at the Wellington Street Sports Complex on Wednesday.
— Star photo by Geraldine Brophy
Chris Elford couldn’t have picked a better time to score for his Steers Insurance Curling Rangers.
His goal in injury time helped the Rangers survive a late strike on the way to a 2-1 win over the Investor’s Group Corner Brook Under-18s in a match at the Wellington Street Sports Complex on Wednesday.
Rangers veteran Brad Burton bulged the twine in the second minute, a marker which seemed destined to hold up as the winner against a short-benched young crew.
Elford finally gave the Rangers some much-needed insurance in injury time, a strike which stood as the game-winner after Under-18s striker Ryan Dawe booted home a goal of his own in the waning seconds of play.
Ian Jones earned the victory between the posts, while Tyler Kelloway suffered the loss.
After the match, Elford said he took a quick glance at the net and knew he needed to use his left foot in order to beat Kelloway on the decisive strike.
“I saw the goalie coming at me so I kind of broke down the angle and just drilled it hard in the bottom corner,” Elford said.
He said despite a lack of subs, his team expected and received a hard fight from what he described as a talented Under-18s roster.
While early in the season, Elford admits he likes what he sees from the boys from Curling so far.
“We have a lot of talent, structure and good coaching,” he said.
“When it comes down to it, we’ve just got a lot of grit and determination and that’s what you need in this league.”
Chris Hennessey said his U-18s simply couldn’t break through with an equalizer after surrendering the early goal.
“We had the opportunities and a few shots — we just couldn’t sink one,” Hennessey said.
“We pressed them a lot in the second half but they came back.”
He said the team suffered from missing several players due to exam and work commitments but he takes solace in steady improvement he’s seen from last season.
“Everyone was pretty gassed by the 60th or 70th minute,” he said. “We’re still playing strong and we have a lot more possession than last year, which is good.
“We’re not just slogging the ball.”