What a way to end your season!
Two months after TSS Rovers took to the Swangard pitch for their first ever home match, they took to it again to wrap up their inaugural PDL campaign, putting in an almighty team effort to claim a 3-2 win over Seattle Sounders U23s.
The match was the proverbial game of two halves, and as head coach Colin Elmes commented after the match, “we made it interesting for ourselves, again.”
Connor Hildebrandt and leading scorer Daniel Davidson had the Rovers sitting pretty at half time. Two goals up and it could have been more. But then the Sounders subs turned the game around. Vincent McCluskey poked home Seattle’s first a minute after coming on, then Stian Sandbekkaug tied things up with 12 minutes remaining and TSS heads dropped.
The visitors were in the ascendency, but the Rovers managed to stave off the Sounders attacks to stay level. Then as the game entered stoppage time, a hero was to be born and write himself into Rovers folklore. Ryan Dhillon got on the end of a long Andrew Hicks free kick forward, breaking on the right and squaring the ball for Matteo Polisi, who made no mistake in slotting home from 10 yards out.
Cue scenes, joy on and off the pitch, a season ending win for TSS Rovers, and ending Seattle’s lingering playoff hopes in the process.
It’s been a fast season, with a lot of highs and a lot of lows, but it’s been a hell of a lot of fun. Sending the supporters home with huge smiles on their faces and something special to talk about is the best way it could have ended.
AFTN photographer Tom Ewasiuk was there to capture all the action before, during and after the game. Here’s his “Story In Pictures”, with a full Flickr slideshow at the end.[Also check out Tom’s website www.residualimagephotography.com for more of his photos and work].
Which team will see the light at the end of the tunnel?
Hicksy leads the teams out
Your TSS Rovers starting XI
12 minutes in the Connors link up, with MacMillan playing the ball to Hildebrandt
Who fires home a low, long range beauty for his second goal of the season
Sending the Swanguardians into raptures
Daniel Davidson nearly makes it two minutes later
But his header is just tipped around the post by Sounders keeper Cam Frost
But Davidson isn’t to be denied as he rises to meet a MacMillan free kick, twisting mid air
To loop his header over Frost and make it 2-0
Davidson’s fifth (technically sixth) goal of the season. He’s on fire and so is the Swanguardians end.
But with Rovers coasting, the Sounders get themselves back into the game in the 64 minute, with Vincent McCluskey poking one in from close range
Bang goes Andrew Hicks first clean sheet of the season
Seattle tails were up and the comeback was complete in the 78th minute from Stian Sandbekkaug
As tempers flared, sub Tyler John picks up a booking in a flashpoint with Alejandro Varela
The game enters stoppage time and a deep free kick from Hicks finds Ryan Dhillon free on the right
Dhillon squares the ball to Matteo Polisi
And the blonde bombshell makes no mistake from ten yards out, slotting home a dramatic late winner past Frost
On and off the pitch
A stramash soon followed
And Tyler John gets a rush of blood to his head, possibly from tying is man bun too tight, and gets sent off in the closing moments
And that’s a final! 3-2 TSS Rovers over Seattle Sounders U23. What a way to end the season!
It’s been a blast. See you next year.
You can see all of Tom’s photos from the game HERE and in our full Flickr slideshow below: