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Ow Canada! RailHawks fall to Ottawa 2-1 on extra-time goal

Posted July 26, 2015

Carolina RailHawks and Ottawa Fury FC during North American Soccer League action at TD Place in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, 26 July, 2015. Photo by Richard A. Whittaker. 1J2A7474_RAILHAWKS_at_FURYFC.jpg

— Not since the Battle of the Windmill in 1838 has a group from America crossed the Canadian border into Ontario with more ambitious aims than the Carolina RailHawks did Sunday afternoon. A win over the Ottawa Fury would vault Carolina into first place in both the fall season and combined regular season standings for the North American Soccer League (NASL).

Down a man for most of the second half, the RailHawks were poised to snag a road draw from the in-form Fury thanks to a Nacho Novo equalizer in the 81st minute. However, Carl Haworth’s sidereal goal in the waning seconds of six minutes of second-half added time gave the Fury a 2-1 win.

The victory is Ottawa’s third in as many games this week, and it extends the Fury’s unbeaten streak to 10 games. Meanwhile, the RailHawks drop more points this season due to chronic defensive lapses, often in late-game situations.

A somnolent first half was rudely interrupted in the 20th minute when a benign cross by Paulo Junior found the head of Ottawa’s Aly Hassan in the area. Hassan, a former Fort Lauderdale Striker making his first start for the Fury, delivered an acute-angled looper over goalkeeper Akira Fitzgerald that nestled into the far net for a 1-0 lead.

Carolina began applying offensive pressure after conceding, and their early chances came compliments of leading scorer Nacho Novo. The Spanish striker’s on-frame free kick in the 28th minute was brilliantly saved by Fury keeper Romuald Peiser, and a close-range chance late in the opening half sailed well over the woodwork.

The RailHawks’ hopes for a comeback appeared to evaporate in the 56th minute when midfielder Wells Thomson was sent off with two concurrent yellow cards. Notwithstanding the dubiousness of his second booking against Minnesota on July 4, it’s the second time in five games this fall season that Thompson has been sent off and been suspended for the ensuing match.

Ottawa failed to extend their lead by squandering several open chances. Hassan couldn’t connect with an open sitter in the 64th minute. Haworth had an open run on goal in the 77th, but Fitzgerald came up with a save, one of five the Carolina keeper made on the day.

In the 81st minute, a long through ball from second-half RailHawks sub Simone Bracalello found a streaking Novo, who slipped behind the Fury back line in an uncharacteristic lapse by the stingy Ottawa defense. Novo beat an outrushing Peiser to the ball and then slotted it past the keeper to knot the score at 1-1.

The goal was Novo’s team-leading seventh this season, second-most in the NASL.

Facing an unexpected home draw, the Fury launched a furious assault on the 10-man ‘Hawks. Unmarked headers by Tom Heinemann and Rafael Alves barely missed their mark. Midfielder Ritchie Ryan unleashed a couple of dangerous shots from distance.

According to Wikipedia, metric time is the measure of time interval using the metric system, which defines the second as the base unit of time, and multiple and submultiple units formed with metric prefixes, such as kiloseconds and milliseconds. One of the problems with the application of metric time is that such lengths of time are relatively impractical for measuring human activities.

Only a speculative conversion from this system can account for the six minutes of second-half added time inexplicably awarded by the Canadian officials at the conclusion of the RailHawks-Fury match. To that point, the second stanza had seen only one goal, five substitutions and no prolonged injury stoppages.

Another Heinemann header in the 92nd minute also snuck over the crossbar. But just as it appeared Carolina would nonetheless fly out of Ottawa with a valuable point, Ryan Richter’s cross off the right wing soared past a flock of RailHawks and onto a streaking and unmarked Haworth in the goalmouth. His easy putaway gave the Fury the lead and the win.

The loss drops the RailHawks (5-6-4, 21 pts.) into a tie for fourth in the overall NASL standings and third for the fall season. A draw today would have kept Carolina in a first-place tie atop the combined league table.

Carolina returns to WakeMed Soccer Park next Saturday to host the Tampa Bay Rowdies, which are currently tied for second in the combined league standings.

BOX SCORE
LINEUPS                                                                                                           
CAR:
Fitzgerald; Knight, Danso, Tobin, Low; Thompson, Albadawi (Nurse, 82’); Hlavaty, Anderson (Bracalello, 71’), da Luz (Wagner, 82’); Novo
OTT: Peiser; Trafford, Falvey, Alves, Richter; Haworth, Ryan, Eustaquio; Paulo Jr. (Oliver, 72’), Hassan (Heinemann, 65’), Wiedeman (Julian De Guzman, 76’)

GOALS
CAR:
Novo, 81’ (Bracalello)
OTT: Hassan, 20’ (Paulo Jr), Haworth, 90th (Richter)

CAUTIONS
CAR:
Hlavaty (30’), Thompson x 2 (56’)
OTT: --

EJECTIONS                                                                                                          
CAR:
Thompson (56’)
OTT: --

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