Looking to reverse a run of poor form that included a 7-1 drubbing against London English in Cup play and a 4-1 league loss to London White Eagles, St. Marys Juggernauts made the long drive down the 401 to face Chatham Storm recently in WOSL Second Division action.
A short warm-up, combined with a change in formation, left the Juggernauts on their heels for much of the first half. However, the defence corps, anchored by centre-backs Ryan Fennema and Derek Van De Walle, held firm and gave the rest of the team a chance to get their sea legs. Both teams traded chances towards the end of the half, but it was Chatham that was able to break the deadlock. With two minutes to go, the Storm were recipients of a favourable non-call for offside and managed to slip one past a diving Aaron Wybrow.
At the half-time break, player-manager Evan Doupe insisted that patience and trust in the team’s new 4-5-1 formation–along with better communication–were the keys to victory in the second half. Juggernauts came out flying after the restart, controlling the pitch from start to finish, and giving Chatham few opportunities to attack.
Starting the second-half barrage of goals was left-back Remco Scheele. He intercepted a Chatham pass near midfield, before dribbling 30 yards towards the net and firing an exquisite shot past the Storm keeper to knot the score at 1-1.
Soon after, the suffocating St. Marys midfield forced another Chatham turnover in their own end with newcomer Adam Stapleton winning a 50-50 ball before making a smart pass to lone-striker Kyle Fennema in the corner of the 18-yard box. Fennema then found a streaking Harrison Ritchie with a pinpoint cross which he deposited into the corner of the Chatham net after his header kissed the post on the way by.
With a 2-1 lead and time winding down, Juggernauts continued to press for more and were rewarded when Evan Doupe slipped unmarked to the front of the Chatham net and volleyed home another Fennema cross to provide some insurance for the visitors. Doupe’s goal proved to be the winner as each team snuck in one more before time expired, with Brian Martinez skipping a difficult shot past the Storm keeper to make the final 4-2 in St. Marys’ favour.
One point out of second
In a home-field match last Tuesday at DCVI, Juggernauts battled to a 1-1 draw with London English. The tie left St. Marys (6-1-4) just one point behind the second-place English (6-2-2).
Despite a strong first half displaying excellent passing and possession from the home side, Juggernauts found themselves down 1-0 after 45 minutes. After a collaborative half-time discussion, the squad was confident heading into the second half. Both teams continued to play a possession-based game with Juggernauts’ keeper Aaron Wybrow matching his English counterpart save for save.
Deep into the second half, St. Marys got its breakthrough when central midfielder Jake Dickey won a header towards striker Kyle Fennema. Fennema corralled the ball and out-muscled two defenders on the run before firing a low shot past the English keeper to tie the contest at 1-1. It was the big striker’s ninth league goal of the summer.
Both teams had a few more chances before the final whistle to take home the full three points, but both had to settle for a draw and the single point that goes with it.
Playing strong defensive games were Dickey, Remco Scheele, Derek Van Walle and Ryan Fennema.
Juggernauts have a road game against the fourth-place African Carib ‘A’ this Sunday in London at 6 p.m.
The team has two remaining home games this season, with the currently undefeated London Croatia visiting the DCVI field on Friday, Aug. 23 and Tillsonburg coming to town on Tuesday, Aug. 27. Both games kick-off at 8 p.m.
Note: Juggernauts wish head coach Wayne Murray a “speedy recovery” from a recent injury.