When Investors Group Under-18s’ Matt Collins, front, and Steers Insurance Curling Rangers’ Tyler Gallant both over ran the ball, they quickly turn to look for it during play at the Ambrose O’Reilly Memorial Pitch Wednesday.
— Star photo by Geraldine Brophy
A hot day, real grass and a numbers disadvantage conspired against the Steers Insurance Curling Rangers on Wednesday night.
The Rangers blew a 2-0 lead en route to a 3-2 loss to the Investors Group Under-18s in Corner Brook Molson Senior Men’s Soccer League play at Ambrose O’Reilly Memorial Field. It was the league’s first game on real grass this season.
Ryan Dawe had a pair of goals for the victors, while Mark Rowsell picked up the other.
Matt Noseworthy and Ronnie Jesso responded for the Rangers, who suffered their first defeat of the season.
“I think the heat today probably took something out of the older team,” said Under-18s coach Vince Pickett. “Our fitness level and our skill happened to keep going throughout the game and we managed to do it. It was a good win for us.”
It didn’t help matters for the Rangers that Quentin Gillingham received a red card for violent conduct in the first half, reducing the side to 10 men for the remainder of the contest.
“This was probably the first night we really broke down,” said Rangers’ Chris Griffin. “We had an early lead, then we got a red card and things kind of fell apart.”
Jesso opened the scoring in the 16th minute, then Noseworthy put the Rangers up 2-0 in the 22nd.
And that was it for their offence.
Dawe cut the lead in half in the 32nd minute, before tying the game just before half-time, in the 45th.
Rowsell’s goal in the 77th minute stood up as the winner.
“We started out slow,” Pickett conceded, noting that this senior men’s league season is all just preparation for his team to play in the under-18 provincials in August. “I think we need to improve on our passing skills, attacking skills and our strategies, which we haven’t worked on too much to date.
“These games are practices for us and we try to do the best we can,” he added. “Hopefully we’ll improve and be ready for the provincial tournament.”
Griffin was impressed with the Under-18s’ performance, even while lamenting a few missed chances his team had to tie the game.
“Their form is really good, they’re all pretty consistent,” he said. “They didn’t have many subs tonight and that didn’t seem to bother them either.
“They’re a quality team with a quality coach.”
As for the real grass, Griffin acknowledged it will take some getting used to again after playing on the artificial turf of Wellington Street Sports Complex since the season began in May.
“It’s like running through quicksand,” he said. “It’s heavy, it’s different ... the ball doesn’t move as fast and the legs don’t move as fast.”
The following is a summary of the other league game on Wednesday:
West Side Monarchs 1, Health and Performance Hawks 0
Chris Grant scored the game’s only goal early in the contest, with the Monarchs short two players due to a lack of bodies. They eventually had two players show up to give them 11 by half-time.
Mark Woodman earned the clean sheet in what was the Hawks’ first loss of the season.
The Hawks fall to 4-1-2 but still lead the league, followed by the Under-18s and Monarchs, both at 3-2-2, and ahead of the Rangers at 2-1-4, The Sorrento Tactics FC have a 0-4-2 mark so far, ahead of Stephenville at 0-2-0.