By: Kajan Thiruthanikasalam
SCARBOROUGH, ONT.- A battle between the Durham Lords and the Centennial Colts, the top two teams in the OCAA East was Tuesday night's headliner in front of a packed crowd at Centennial's Progress Turf Field. For the Colts, this was a potential statement game, going up against the defending OCAA champions.
But once the first half ended, all the hype surrounding the game was gone.
Durham (3-0-3) used the strength of three first half goals and cruised to a 4-1 victory over Centennial (3-2-1) to remain undefeated on the season.
"In the first half, we didn't play that poorly; we had just as much possession as they did," said Julian Carr, Colts Head Coach. "But we made two mistakes (that led to goals)."
Nigel Buckley (23", 65") scored a pair of goals for Durham, in which both were assisted by Jeremy Bangala. Nate Paine (6") and Colin Reilly (43") each had a goal to round out the Lords' scoring.
The Lords beat the Colts in shots (21-13) despite being beat in shots on goal (11-10) and corner kicks (4-2). Kevon Grant stopped nine out of 10 shots for Durham while Chim Oneyeka stopped seven of 11 shots for Centennial.
Durham struck first in the sixth minute when Paine capitalized on a rebound attempt after Oneyeka stopped the initial shot. They added to their lead in the 20th after Buckley fired a low shot to the left corner past Oneyeka.
And to the fury of the Colts and their fans, Kevin Segamanasinghe was whistled for a handball in the box during the 43rd minute, giving Durham a penalty shot in which Reilly made no mistake converting on.
"The AR (assistant referee) made a mistake when he thought that Kevin handed the ball when it (actually) hit him in the chest," Carr said, matter-of-factly.
Durham continued their solid play in the second half after Buckley scored on a rebound from Bangala's shot that was stopped by Oneyeka in the 65th minute.
Tai Reid entered the game in the 69th minute and immediately fired off a shot in which Grant was forced to make a diving stop. It seemed to spark the home side as they were now generating the shots on target.
When asked about Reid's infusion of energy, Carr simply said, "He was fresh."
Centennial's frustration with the officiating came to a head in the 75th minute when Segamanasinghe was taken down with no foul called. The Colts defender then subsequently pulled down another player seconds after and was given a yellow card.
"His body language was that he didn't want to play anymore because of everything that was getting called against him," Carr said about his decision to send Segamanasinghe to the dressing room. "It might be hard but life beats you down and you get up and run with it. And that's what he didn't do."
The Colts finally got on the board and wrapped up the game scoring in the 80th minute as a free kick from Mirabal was deflected off of Cox's back and into the net.
After playing three games in five days, Centennial gets three days off before their next game against the St. Lawrence Vikings.
"We've given them the next two days off; they need to rest," Carr said. "They're exhausted."
TOP THREE PERFORMERS OF THE GAME
Nigel Buckley (MF): 2 goals
Nick Payne (D)
Matthew Morris (STR)
CATCH OUR NEXT GAME
Centennial doesn't play until Saturday afternoon at 3:15 pm against the St. Lawrence Vikings. Come head out to Progress Turf Field as there will be a tailgate party starting at 10:00 am and a free lunch afterwards for all that show up.