(Halifax, NS) In a thrilling edition of Halifax's university derby, Dalhousie defeated Saint Mary's 4-2 in AUS men's soccer action Sunday afternoon.
The game wasted no time getting going, with both teams in fine attacking form almost immediately. Nine minutes in, SMU striker Tyler Dorey (Dartmouth, NS) took a wide shot from Cian Tousignant-O Siadhail (Timberlea, NS) and finished the job on the doorstep, giving the Huskies a 1-0 lead.
Just three minutes later, Dalhousie responded when third-year striker Enrico Rodríguez (Halifax, NS) took a pass just inside the box and put a cannonball drive into the lower left corner of the net, tying the game 1-1.
In the 30th minute, veteran DAL striker Jacob Bolton (Halifax, NS) was taken down just outside the Saint Mary's penalty box. Initially, referee Greg Fletcher seemed to signal the players to play the advantage, but changed his mind late and awarded a free kick 20 yards from the goal, raising a fruitless protest from the Huskies bench. Rodriguez took the kick and scored his second goal on a hard, curving strike that froze goalkeeper Jensen Brown (Enfield, NS).
Only a minute later, Rodriguez appeared to have his third goal, scoring on a breakaway, but he was deemed offside.
The hat trick would have to wait until the 40th minute. After being fouled in the box on a rush, Rodriguez was awarded a penalty kick, which he buried to give Dalhousie a 3-1 lead going into the half.
After the break, SMU pushed hard to close the lead and almost scored in the 56th minute on a ball that beat the goalkeeper, but was kicked off the goal line at the last moment by a hustling Fred Bekkers (Halifax, NS).
As SMU became more desperate to score, their play became more physical, putting them in penalty trouble. Huskies midfielder Neil Spires (Hubley, NS) received a yellow card for a dangerous sliding tackle, and goalkeeper Jensen Brown received a red for a collision he initiated outside his penalty area, forcing his team to play the final 25 minutes down a man.
In the 79th minute, Rodriguez came out of the game, ending a stellar day on the pitch. His replacement, Manolhas Karkada (Beechville, NS) scored only 30 seconds after the substitution, giving the Tigers a commanding 4-1 lead.
Neil Spires answered quickly for Saint Mary's, cutting the deficit back to two goals in the 82nd minute, but the Huskies lacked the time and manpower for a comeback at that point, and the game closed with a final score of 4-2 in favour of Dalhousie.
Dalhousie (2-1-2) will play their next game this Friday, hosting UNB. Saint Mary's (4-2-0) also plays Friday, taking on St. Francis Xavier.
Ethan Lycan-Lang, SMU Communications
Photo Nick Pearce