Sunday, September 4, 2011

Railhawks Recap: Carolina 2, Tampa Bay 0

A great team win for Carolina.
The Railhawks entered the match looking for their third straight victory and a club record 17th victory. They achieved both. The win allowed the team to go nine points ahead on the NASL table. With a win or a draw in the next game, they can clinch the regular-season championship.

"We're really close," said Carolina coach Martin Rennie. "The thing is, you've got to play the next game and get the results. Our focus is doing as well as we possibly can in the regular season. Since the start of th eseason, we've tried to win every game that we play and we have won a lot of games. That is a record for the franchise and we want to make it a record that's going to be really hard for any team to ever catch. We just have to focus on winning."

The match began slowly and with little interest. Each team tested on one another with only half chances for the first twenty minutes. The Railhawks employed a great deal of long balls throughout the night. While this might seem a detriment, on multiple occasions it was well timed and well used.

The night marked the debut of local product Tyler Lassiter for Carolina. Lassiter is on loan from the New York Red Bulls and plied his college trade at NC State. On being back here in Carolina, Tyler had this to say: “It was awesome. My whole family was here, from my grandma all the way to my cousins. A lot of friends are here, so it’s a good feeling.”

Tyler Lassiter was excellent in his debut. 
Lassiter’s first test came in the 15th minute against Tampa Bay striker Aaron King. He did well to dispossess and looked calm throughout.  Multiple times on the night Lassiter’s strength was tested and he did well to fend off the attackers.

“I come out every game and try to do my best. It’s my hometown so it’d be really special to being [hardware] back here,” said Lassiter of joining a team in the run for hardware.

The scoring began in the 19th minute off a Railhawks corner. Kupono Low took the corner and it was Pablo Campos who got on the end of it to put Carolina up 1-0.

Campos scored again to double Carolina’s lead in the 39th. It was Brian Farber who crossed the ball to Pablo Compos where he buried it into an open net.
Brian Farber was excellent on the night. 
The scoreline remained 2-0 going into the half. Carolina came out firing once the second half began. Etienne Barbara, the league leading scorer, got in behind the defense and had a fantastic opportunity to put the Railhawks up by three, but he squandered the chance and ripped it will wide.

Five minutes later it was Etienne Barbara making the highlights with a red card for a head butt. Anores Arango also ejected with a second yellow. A small scuffle  after a tackle lead to an exaggerated head butt which Arango made a meal of. For the remaining forty minutes of the match, each team played with ten.

Pablo Campos had multiple chances to solidify a hat trick on a break away in the 68th minute however he was unable to beat the keeper. Two minutes later, he did the same thing, being in alone and unable to convert.

Alan Russell came on for Compos in the 74th minute. Coach Martin Rennie felt there was no need to push Compos harder than necessary with a match coming up on Wednesday. The Railhawks held on for the win in front of an announced attendance 3,015.

*All photos courtesy of Rob Kinnan Photography*

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