Tuesday, October 3rd saw the Niagara College men's soccer program travel to Hamilton to take on the Mohawk Mountaineers. The Knights rode a five game winning streak into the contest, while the Mountaineers could not afford a loss in order to stay in the OCAA playoff race. The result proved inconclusive as the teams battled to a 1-1 draw.
The match provided a clash of styles as the Mountaineers played an extremely conservative defensive style, crowding their attack area with defenders. While the Knights threw everything they had at the Mohawk goal but were stymied time and time again.
"We were in their end the entire game and they just sat back and absorbed the pressure. That was their plan and they got the one point they wanted" said Knights head coach Frank DeChellis after the match. "I was happy with the way our guys stayed composed for 90 minutes and methodically launched one attack after another into Mohawk's penalty area. Other than the result, I left that game content with what I saw."
Niagara outshot Mohawk 24-9 in the contest, and earned 14 corner kicks versus zero for the Mountaineers. Mohawk goalkeeper Philip Lucek turned in an outstanding performance turning aside 18 saves while just conceding the one goal.
Mohawk opened the scoring in the 35th minute when Adam Villella streak free and beat Knights keeper Sam Robson on a breakaway. The Knights appeared destined for their first loss in a month, until a lucky break saw an Andrew Currie cross deflected into the back of the Mountaineer net in the 88th minute.
"We had so many corners and crosses being met with by 5 Mohawk defenders it became a task of wearing them down until they cracked. Kudos to them for executing their game plan" added DeChellis.
The draw moves the Knights to 5-1-1 on the season in into second place in the OCAA West Division. Up next the team will host the first place Fanshawe Falcons on October 11th at Youngs SportsPlex. The upcoming matchup will go a long way in determining who wins the division heading into the playoffs. The two teams last met in the season opener on September 9th in a match the saw the Falcons edge out a 1-0 home field victory. A win by the Knights will see Niagara overtake Fanshawe in the standings, while a draw or loss will see the team remain in the second seed.
Kick off for the October 11th matchup is set for 6:00pm.