Second Division soccer doesn’t necessarily mean second rate soccer.
The CSL Second Division championship decider between Toronto Atomic Reserves and York Region Shooters Reserves was a demonstration of how far soccer in Canada has progressed in recent years as several young players on both teams – young teens to late teens – showed skills beyond their years.
Just so happened the game turned into a highly entertaining encounter for reasons other than good skills, while the fans were treated to a game in doubt right to the final whistle. The entertaining soccer included three goals that counted, another that didn’t when called offside, a missed penalty, shots saved by the woodwork, a player sent off early, two more ejected later following some rough and tumble, all in an extended game that went 122 minutes in all.
When referee Mike Bradley blasted the final whistle, it was York Region Shooters B 2, Toronto Atomic FC B 1, after extra time.
Atomic had more shots on goal in the first half of the well-played encounter which ended scoreless and with one player shown a red card – Atomic defender Vadim Gorbunov was shown that colour after referee Bradley pulled two yellows on the player for reasons which included Unsportsmanlike Conduct.
Toronto Atomic’s Hassan Abdulmumini struck the first goal following a corner kick at 54 minutes, a cross which ended up at the midfielder’s feet and close to be tapped past York Region goalkeeper Adam Majer.
Abakar Mahamat equalized for York Region Shooters at 75 minutes, a spectacular series of events from a free kick from 20 yards that was saved, rebounded, hit the crossbar then driven into the net by Mahamat past Atomic goalkeeper Andriy Kulik.
It was 1-1 at the end of 90 minutes and the game went into overtime which saw two players red carded at 103 minutes for Violent Conduct. York Region Shooters’ defender David Romano was the first to go and Ihor Fedishyn was also shown the red card after both players became aggressive in a manner not part of the game.
Mahamat scored his second goal to put York Region into 2-1 lead at 106 minutes and minutes later Toronto Atomic were awarded a penalty which was taken by Igor Melnyk and saved by Majer. The 2-1 score held until the final whistle.
Coach of York Region Shooters, Eddy Carowel, praised his players following the trophy presentation, insisting it was a team effort that brought the result against a side that had ended the regular season with 11 points more than his team in the regular season just ended.
“We have a young team and it was very much a team effort. The players kept it up right to the end – I thought they played great and deserved the win”, said Carowel.