Forced to become somewhat of ‘road warriors’ during the season’s early stages due to home field resurfacing, the Wallaceburg Sting men’s soccer club took to the road on Friday, June 22nd for the 7th time in 8 games. There, they faced off against a second place St. Marys team, comprised of the division’s top-2 goal scorers. The Sting showed up with only 11 healthy players – the same number it takes to fill the field – meaning they’d have no subs for the game’s duration. However, no ill effects were evident as a result of this.
Wallaceburg came out and controlled the pace of the game, moving the ball at ease around the pitch. The Sting took care of, and held the prominent St. Marys scoring duo in check. Midway through the first half, the Sting’s Taylor McArthur took possession and broke toward the goal atop the 18-yard box. The keeper, able to stop his shot but unable to prevent a rebound, could only watch as Sting striker, Phil Nywening moved in and buried the ball into the net. The Sting took this 1-0 lead into the half.
Second half began in similar fashion, and as a result, the Sting were rewarded once again. McArthur this time was sent down the right sideline before he broke toward the goal. As he neared the net, McArthur cracked a bad angle shot off the far post, leading to another rebound directly atop the 6-yard box. Nywening swooped in and buried the ball into the empty net, putting the Sting up 2-0.
Wallaceburg later dropped an extra body back on defense in an attempt to hold the lead till final whistle. However, the shuffling of players seemed to thrown off the Sting’s ball possession prowess and led them to play more of kick-and-chase style soccer. Consequently, St. Marys had the ball more often and began making a push of their own. Their high-scoring forwards became more noticeable and put more pressure on the Sting defenders. With 5 minutes remaining, a St. Marys shot drilled the post before the Sting defender’s left-footed clearing attempt came up and hit his own arm. The hand-ball in the 18-yard box resulted in a penalty shot which St. Marys converted on, cutting the Sting’s lead in half, 2-1. Despite last second pressure the Sting continued to clear all balls that neared the net, and held on for the 2-1 victory.
Next up, Wallaceburg travelled up to Tillsonburg on Friday, June 29th, for the last of a 3-game road swing. With Tillsonburg sitting in last place of the WOSL’s First division, it became a must-win game for the surging Sting club.
The game began with Tillsonburg fielding only 10 players, before 3-4 more bodies arrived during early first half play. From the get-go, it was evident the Sting were a much better club and that Tillsonburg were a last-place team. The Sting mounted threats down both wings throughout the game’s first half. Tillsonburg had trouble putting together any type of offensive attack, often times turning the ball over on unforced errors. The Sting possessed the ball very heavily through the first half’s duration, but struggled to mount more than a few quality chances on net – most missing high or wide. At the half, the Sting didn’t have anything to show for on the scoreboard, and it was still all even, 0-0.
The second half got off to a more rushed pace, seeing the Sting panic with the ball more frequently than they had in the first half. Their ball possession and quality of attack wasn’t what it had been, but was still much more than their Tillsonburg counterparts. It wasn’t until approximately 15 minutes into the second half that the Sting’s dominance finally came to fruition. The Sting’s central midfielder, Colin McArthur, dribbled past an opponent and unleashed a shot toward net’s the bottom right corner. The diving Tillsonburg keeper got his hands on it, but the ball slipped through his grasp enough to cross the line, giving the Sting a much deserved, 1-0 lead. Not long after, the Sting lost central defender Mitch Kraayenbrink to injury, forcing them to drop striker, BJ Charpentier, into his position. The Sting continued to control the pace and cut off or cleared any attacking attempts Tillsonburg made. Chad Lubbers was exceptional at the back, and was seemingly first to every ball on the ground or through the air.
With 7 minutes remaining, Phil Nywening broke down the left side before cutting across the top of the 18-yard box. He then sent a perfectly placed shot, low and inside the left post, to cushion the Sting lead at 2-0. The Tillsonburg keeper was hurt on the play and did not return. Only minutes later, Nywening again, found space and put a shot by the new keeper, adding to the Sting lead and soon-to-be final score of 3-0.
With the two tallies, Nywening now sits in a tied for 2nd place in the First division scoring race with 6 goals. With the win, the Wallaceburg Sting went 3-0 on their 3-game road trip. They’ve now won 4 games in a row, climbing from 9th to 2nd place in the division’s standings. The Sting who play each team twice (home & away) during the season, have now played each team once. At the midway point, the Sting currently hold a record of 5-1-3 (W-T-L) and are 3 points from the first place, London English. Of the 9 games remaining on the season, 8 will be at home for the Sting. Next up, Wallaceburg will host St. Thomas on Friday, July 6th, 7:00 PM at Kinsmen Park.