Saturday, October 14th saw the Niagara Knights men's soccer program squared off against the St. Clair Saints in a battle for second place in the OCAA west division. In this divisional matchup that saw the Saints receive 8 cards (7 yellow and 1 red), both programs battled to a very physical 2-2 draw.
With goalkeeper Sam Robson Injured, the Knights' rookie keeper Nolan Bradshaw (Niagara Falls, Ont.) made his OCAA debut Saturday night. The rookie played admirably with some crucial saves that kept the Knights in contention for the win.
The Knight drew first blood in the 7th minute when 3rd year striker Carlos Williams (St. Catharines, Ont.) redirected a cross from midfielder Connor Diacur (St. Catharines, Ont) to make it 1-0. Five minutes later, Williams tapped in a strike from Diacur to extend the lead two. Fourth year midfielder Jordi Amores (Niagara Falls, Ont.) had a crucial role on the two goals, finding Diacur in the open field on both occasions. However, the Saints were quick to respond with their own tallies in the 23rd and 41st minutes to even the game at two.
The Knights' best chance in the second half was a Jordi Amores' free kick at the top of the box that saw the Saints' keeper Shane Beaton (Windsor, Ont.) make a great diving save. This free kick came off a blown call that saw Carlos Williams pulled down from behind on a break away.
When asked about the first half tallies, head coach Frank DeChellis congratulated the trio on their performances Saturday afternoon. "Connor, Jordi and Carlos combining for those two goals were good moments for our group. Jordi and Carlos have deep soccer pedigree and are very polished players, but Connor brings a level of energy that disrupts our opponents." The Knights will look to the trio for some offensive magic heading into their games Wednesday (against Redeemer) and Sunday (divisional crossover).
DeChellis was also quick to praise the performances of defenders Andrew Currie (Woodstock, Ont.) and Anu Makinwa (Brampton, Ont.). "I have to give Andrew Currie and Anu Makinwa shout outs at wide defender. The way they shut down the flanks makes life a bit easier for our team. I will be disappointed if they are not recognized in OCAA all star voting." These two players must continue to play shutdown defense if the Knights hope to find success this late in the season.
The Knights will be back in action as they host the Redeemer Royals Wednesday, October 18th in the last game of the season. Kick off is 6pm at Youngs Sportsplex in Welland