Last weekend’s match was a tale of two halves for the Cleveland Crusaders, who went to Pittsburgh in an effort to rebound after a tough loss to the Tradesmen. The performance wasn’t perfect but it got the job done – the Crusaders came out 27-15 winners at the end of the match.
There are few things that are certain in life. Some say the only two certainties are death and taxes. Playing on a piss poor field in Pittsburgh could be added to that short list. On Saturday, the Crusaders played on a short, thing field designated for football. Despite being extended on one side of the field, the playing surface still wasn’t regulation size. While the alteration allowed for additional playing surface, it did, however, cause for the goalposts to be slightly offset from the middle of the field. The upside was that the field was flat and the lines were straight, albeit difficult to see at times.
Despite the unorthodox dimensions of the field, the Crusaders came to play and got a positive result. The first 40 minutes were less than stellar for the Crusaders’ offense. Ten minutes into the match, Steve Burke ran a try in past Pittsburgh’s defense. Nick Viviani converted successfully to bring the Crusaders’ total from five to seven. A short while after, Viviani tacked three more points onto the Crusaders’ score after some undisciplined play from Pittsburgh. Unfortunately, the Crusaders’ defense let Pittsburgh get in behind the line and the hosts put up five points of their own. The next 20 minutes were a back-and-forth battle but neither team scored.
“It wasn’t the tiniest performance today, but we handled the business we need to handle,” said the Head Coach of the Crusaders, Donnie Harbert. “After a relatively untidy first half, we regained our focus and were able to control the pace most of the second half.”
The second half was more active for both teams. Eight minutes into the second half, Billy Regan evaded a number of would-be tacklers to put in the Crusaders’ second try of the half. Pittsburgh fired back shortly after with another try to match. Viviani worked some magic and made a line break out of nothing at the 67-minute mark. The result was a try finished off by Justin Rutledge. Pittsburgh also notched another try during the second half. The saving grace of the half was Vivani’s kicking game. The flyhalf knocked over a pair of conversions and a penalty in the second half to put the match out of Pittsburgh’s reach.
When the match concluded, the Crusaders had secured the fourth win of the season. The win was a morae boost, a reminder of what needs work for the Cleveland side and was vital approaching the winter break.
“At the end of the day, we clinched second place on our side of the fixture, and look to continue closing the season out on a high note after this next weekend off,” Harbert said.
After the weekend off, the Crusaders close the season against Dayton, at home, and the Detroit RFC, away. #JoinTheCrusade
|October 17, 2015||1:00 PM||Midwest Eastern League||2015|
|PIttsburgh RFC - Norwin Soccer Complex|
|2840-3850 Turner Valley Road, Irwin, PA 15642, USA|
|7||Zachary Webb||Number Eight||0||0||0||0|
|1||Pittsburgh D2 Player||Wing||2||2||1||0|