Read full game report after the break:
HARRISBURG, PA – Michael Seaton’s lone goal lifted the Richmond Kickers to a 1-0 win over the Harrisburg City Islanders Saturday night, extending the record-breaking club’s unbeaten streak to 17 regular season games to leapfrog into first place in the USL PRO standings with a 10-0-7 record and 37 points.
The must-win match between the second place Kickers and third place City Islanders saw 90 minutes of end-to-end action. Testing the City Islanders defense inside the first four minutes, Kickers forward Jason Yeisley delivered a throw in deep on the right touch line to the penalty area where he connected with defender Conor Shanosky whose nod dipped just over the crossbar.
Later, the City Islanders saw their first chance of the night when Yann Ekra, Tom Mellor and Sainey Touray teamed up for a nice passing sequence through the midfield, feeding the ball through to Matt Bahner. The midfielder lined up his shot from the top of the box but was denied by the woodwork as his laser strike rattled the crossbar in the 17th minute.
The Kickers looked for the opening goal four minutes later when midfielder Philippe Davies served a long ball into the box, finding Brian Ownby on the left side. The swift midfielder centered the ball for an onrushing Stanley Nyazamba but the Zimbabwean’s left-footed curler pulled just wide of the right post.
As halftime approached, the City Islanders saw two chances go astray in a three minute span. First, a heavily marked Touray carried the ball down the left side. Splitting defenders as he approached the box, he unleashed a low driven ball to the far post, but Kickers goalkeeper Andrew Dykstra lunged to his left to smother his 39th minute effort. Minutes later, Ekra fed a through ball to Tom Mellor who cut to the right inside the box and beat his defender. Drawing Dykstra to the near post, he targeted the back post but his shot whistled just past the upright.
The second half opened with a barrage of offensive prowess as continuous action saw both teams battle for the icebreaker. On the restart, Davies sprung Yeisley behind the defense, forcing City Islanders goalkeeper Nick Noble into action to parry his rocket shot over the endline.
The home side retaliated four minutes later when Mellor was off to the races, coming head to head with the Kickers defensive unit at the top of the box. Steadying the ball under pressure, his distance shot soared skyward allowing Dykstra to distribute the goal kick out to Nyazamba in the midfield. Nyazamba played the ball wide to Luke Vercollone who switched the ball over the top to Ownby on the left edge of the box. Dragging the ‘keeper of his line, he struck to the far post but the ball glanced just wide.
The non-stop action continued just before the hour mark when a give and go in the midfield allowed Mellor the opportunity to one-touch the ball around the last defender and unleash a powerful strike that forced Dykstra to stretch to tip the ball over the frame. Mellor served the resulting corner back into the mix but Touray’s flick on header fell directly to Dykstra.
The offensive persistence finally paid off in the 77th minute when Nyazamba stripped the ball off a City Islanders defender. Streaking down the left channel, he drew Noble off his line and played a square ball to Michael Seaton, who made no mistake on the simple tap in from 10 yards out.
With a critical three points on the line, the City Islanders threw 11 men forward in stoppage time when an inswinging corner kick from the left side was delivered into a swarming box. Pinging through traffic, the ball fell to Noble stationed at the back post but his point blank tap in was denied by a last ditch Matthew Delicâte tackle. The rebound fell to the feet of James McLaughlin at the top of the box, who picked out Touray six yards out but the target man was ruled offside before he could bury the last-gasp equalizer as the Kickers held on for the win.