It was a rough day at home for York Mills as injuries plagued the roster on a drizzly Sept. 28.
The loss of forward Gordan Lau in the first half, and the ensuing departure of netminder Nathan Cheung due to aggressive Earl Haig play resulted in a Titans’ 2-0 loss, dropping to 0-2 on the season.
The two teams seemed evenly matched to start the game. York Mills’ best opportunity in the first came during a free kick just outside of the box in front of Earl Haig’s net.
Steve Stellatos sent the ball past the wall of Haig State defenders but right into the arms of Mitchell Charles.
Connor Wood, the Titan’s starting goalkeeper, then had a close call of his own when Haig almost converted on their second corner kick of the match. York Mills didn’t allow a goal on the play but lost Lau, who was shaken up in front the net and had to sub out.
The physical play of the game was apparent to Earl Haig’s coach, Mark Ahumada.
“Tempers flared a little bit at the end,” he said. “I’m a little disappointed in that and I gave the players a stern talking to.”
Seizing the day for Haig, though, was Muzala Yamfwa who received a pass from Sejin Han directly in front of York Mills’ goal but missed the wide-open shot. His error was to the delight of the home crowd, as Yamfwa was chirped at.
In the second half, Titans coach Katharine Benson replaced Wood with Nathan Cheung but it was Haig State who would capitalize.
The visitors poured on the pressure, giving Cheung enough stress. Haig got on the board when Adi Cuza floated the ball high over the York Mills’ goalkeep’s outstretched hands.
Down 1-0, the Titan’s pushed the ball up field in an effort to get the equalizer. Earl Haig would take advantage of York Mills’ shift to an offensive focus.
Yamfwa snuck behind the defence and was taken down in the box for a penalty after colliding with the keeper.
Cheung exited the game, the second Titan player to go down with an injury. Wood came back in but wasn’t able to handle the ensuing penalty kick by Haig State’s Han.
That put the game away, according to Benson.
“When we had that goal kick that was definitely the Achilles heel that got us,” she said. “It’s pretty hard to come back from 2-0.”
A couple of roster tweaks during halftime could be why Earl Haig was able to scored their two goals.
“I saw nice play in the midfield by Sejin Han and Nick Sofia and they were able to put some through balls to our forwards,” Ahumada said. “In the first half they actually had the majority of the play but we weren’t feeding our forwards the ball and that exactly what they did in the second half.”
The Titans’ midfield was the contrary.
“We were keeping up with them well and then our team just kind of lost a little luster in the middle and that’s what caused the two goals,” Benson said.
York Mills will try to regain their lustre when they face George S. Henry Academy Lions, Oct. 5.
“We’ll keep working,” Benson said. “We’re a young team so we’re just trying to develop going forward.”
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