Sunday, May 26, 2013
PLANT CITY, Fla. -- VSI Tampa Bay FC took a 1-0 victory against the Wilmington Hammerheads on Sunday night at Plant City Stadium. J.T. Noone scored the only goal of the game in the second half as Tampa Bay won its fifth game of the season.
"It was a great ball from Chad (Burt)," Noone said. "I thought I mis-hit it by I'm glad we got the game back on track."
Coming off a defeat to Orlando on Saturday night, Wilmington opened the game well, but it was Tampa Bay that got the first good opportunity as Burt shot wide of the left post off a pass from Mauricio Salles. The Brazilian forward picked up an early injury, and was replaced by Sallieu Bundu, and Wilmington continued to push in search of a goal. Leading the way was Paul Nicholson, who had a shot saved by his former teammate Alex Horwath in the VSI goal.
Tampa Bay had the better chances later in the half, Sean Reynolds shooting wide and Burt having a shot saved by Wilmington goalkeeper Phil Tuttle. Andriy Budnyy, another former Hammerhead, also went close for VSI, while Tom Parratt had a shot from the edge of the penalty area for the Hammerheads after a good backheel from Steven Perry, but neither side was able to break the deadlock before the halftime break.
Nicholson continued to forge forward for Wilmington after the break, and came close to breaking the deadlock just before the hour-mark as he surged past his marker from the midfield and fired a shot from 15 yards, only for Horward to punch the ball to safety. The Scottish midfielder almost created an opportunity a few minutes later, getting deep into the penalty area on the right side, only for Horwath to claim his low cross at the near post.
Tampa Bay was also able to find success on the flanks, Noone sending in a cross that Budnyy flicked just wide of the left post. Then, with 20 minutes to go, Noone found what would prove to be the game-winning goal, picking up a pass from Burt before sending a shot into the left corner of the net. Wilmington pushed to try and find a late equalizer, Cody Arnoux having a good shot saved, but VSI was able to hold on for victory.
"The first half we weren't able to dictate the rhythm of the match, and the second half we got the ball and kept it," VSI interim coach Joel Harrison said. "That was the difference. Now we move on and prepare for Portland, it's a game our guys are looking forward to."
VST Tampa Bay FC next hosts the Portland Timbers Reserves on Saturday, June 1 at 7:30 p.m., the return contest of an interleague series that saw the Timbers reserves take a 2-1 victory in May. Tickets to VSI Tampa Bay PC's home matches are available online at www.vsi-fc.com or at the stadium box office on game days. General admission to all of VSI's USL PRO matches is $10 for adults and $5 for children under 12 years old. Parking is $5 and concessions are provided by Alessi Bakeries.