Nelson notches her second game-winner of the season
The New England Mutiny were victorious in their final regular season road game of the year, as they defeated the Long Island Rough Riders by a 2-1 score on a 90th minute goal from veteran forward Deb Nelson. But in the end, the Mutiny (5-3) lost when it came to their ultimate goal, as Saturday’s game against the Rough Riders (3-3-2) at Cy Donnelly Stadium was truly their last road game of 2016.
New Jersey Copa F.C. (7-1-1) also won on Saturday afternoon and clinched the UWS East title. NJCFC will now travel to face the West Conference champion in the inaugural UWS National Championship the weekend of July 30-31. New England will host the East champions next Saturday night at West Springfield High School (7:00 PM) and will look to avenge their 2-1 loss to Copa on June 25th.
For Mutiny Head Coach Joe Abele, the grit and determination his team showed today to come back and get the victory was something he won’t soon forget.
“Long Island came to play,” said Abele, who was ejected from today’s game early in the second half due to a dispute with the head referee. “Hats off to them. They have a great organization. Our women fought hard and it took our whole bench and 90 minutes to get the game-winner. We are lucky to have a great organization and a great family of players.”
Long Island started the match on the front foot and notched their only goal of the match in the 13th minute. After a well-worked corner kick routine on the left flank, Erin Neville drove in a cross that Alexa Schneider headed home in the center of the penalty area. It was Schneider’s second goal of the season against New England, as she scored the first Long Island goal in their 3-2 defeat on June 11th.
The Mutiny would slowly regain the run of play as the first half progressed, as after their goal, the home side began to sit back and defend. Late in the half, Kate Howarth would see her call for a penalty be denied, as the head referee decided she committed the foul. The team captain would see a yellow card for her protests. But she would help set up the game-tying goal in the 44th minute.
Brianna Kenney broke the right flank off a Howarth pass, and served a perfect cross to the top of the 6-yard box. Chantelle Swaby made a great run from the left flank, got inside her defender and touched home the cross inside the far post for the 1-1 score going into halftime. The Rough Riders came out in the second half looking for the go-ahead goal, but chances by Christina Bellero and Kelly Eagan would go for naught.
As time ticked away, New England pressured the Long Island defense and their hard work paid off in the 90th minute. Jessica Miller sent Howarth in on goal off the right flank and the team captain dribbled into the penalty area. Her pass to the top of the box found Nelson who skillfully one-timed her shot inside the far post past Rough Riders goalkeeper Melissa Guglielmo (three saves). Mutiny keeper Annie Ulliac would make four saves in net as both teams had five shots on goal.