On a cool and moist April night, the only things keeping the fans warm were the promise of hotly contested soccer action and the possibility of popcorn after the match. Redmond started this romp a touch hyped up with errant passes and turnovers being offered aplenty. It was clearly a struggle to string passes together in the initial minutes. Players, coaches and fans alike were all in agreement – the boys just needed to settle down a bit. In the early going, the illustrious Mr. Tibbs did a great job shutting down some dangerous stuff on the wings against imposing Newport attackers. Newport wasn’t shy of the physical stuff though and took advantage of the ref’s seeming unwillingness to hand out cards during this match.
Once the Stangs took it down a notch, the offensive opportunities started clicking. A Michalski to Rabadan to Stein connection was just over the crossbar for a corner and had Newport shaking in their boots. A few minutes later, a loose ball found its way to super scamperer Kieneker, who crossed a beautiful negative lob into the box for a pinpoint Dadzie header goal! With RHS riding the momentum wave, a few other through ball opportunities appeared in quick succession with corners and crosses galore.
Not to be outdone, Newport started asserting themselves as the half wore to a close and had some offensive chances of their own. In one instance, it took a crafty split-second Escalante save to keep a close range Newport strike from finding the promised land. To make things really interesting, Newport was able to capitalize on charging keeper Escalante straying a bit too far outside and lobbed a moon ball over everyone and everything (except for the goal) for the equalizer.
With the score knotted at 1-1, the second half was sure to tickle everyone’s fancy. Are you not entertained?
After a few matches out of action, it was nice to see Wiyrick back on the pitch, crushing long balls and bruising the earth (and the competition). It was also great to see Tiglon make an appearance for the first time this season after a long injury layoff.
A few minutes into the half, Dadzie found himself scurrying along with the ball in the attacking half, marked by two Newport defenders. He took the opportunity to split the defenders with a strike, befuddling the Newport keeper in the process, and leaving all RHS fans dancing a jig in delirium. Newport took this opportunity to pick up the physicality and attack with increased gusto. As part of this Newport surge, a scary ball rattled around in the RHS box before Kieneker gave up the body to clear the ball away from danger. Later in the half, the Newport physicality took RHS keeper Rash to the ground with a clear unsporting mugging, which had Redmond fans shouting their displeasure.
In the waning moments of the match, a wonderful long range Kieneker free kick showed real promise and just missed Dadzie in the box for a sure goal. As a last gasp, the Dadzie hat trick looked destined to materialize with a Hernandez to Price to Dadzie setup that was miraculously saved by the Newport keeper at close range. Despite the near miss, this was the last play of the game, and the Stangs emerged victorious!
Goals: 21’ (Dadzie, assist Kieneker), 51’ (Dadzie)