Pat PaytonSports Editor
What a difference a week can make.Just seven days after defeating the Polish Eagles 5-2 in Kitchener in District Soccer League Premier Division action, Stratford City FC dropped a 1-0 decision last Tuesday to the same Kitchener squad in a KDSL first-round Cup game.
Both games were at the Packham Road complex, FC's home turf.
In the first half of Tuesday's Cup game, FC appeared to be out of sync and gave the ball away too much and too easily. Eagles, on the other hand, seemed to make better choices with the ball - especially in the midfield.
That's where the game was won and lost as Stratford had a tough time penetrating a solid Eagles defence, which held FC's scoring chances to a minimum.
Midway through the opening half, a beautiful lead pass created what proved to be the game's only goal as Jeff Pinto sent a close-range shot past goalie Dave Macdonald, off the far post and into the Stratford net.
Striker Ashley Adams had one of FC's few good opportunities late in the half. Adams burst through the Polish defence, but ran out of real estate before he could get a shot away from a sharp angle.
Trailing 1-0, FC came out in the second half looking for the equalizer. They carried the play early, but the Eagles' midfield continued to be very deft at clearing the ball out of danger.
Late in the match, Adams again broke loose and had Stratford's best chance of the night, but his low, whistling shot from the top of the 18-yard box just missed the corner. It proved to be FC's last gasp.
The home team also lost a scoring threat when speedy youngster Cory Palmer left the game with an undetermined leg injury.
The Polish also had a couple of players go down as the match got increasingly more feisty and the tackles more severe.
Eagles netminder Joe Balan posted the shutout.
Lack of healthy bodies Following the game, Stratford coach Kenny Murphy said a lack of healthy bodies (just two subs) didn't help the FC cause.
"But overall, I was pretty pleased with our performance," Murphy said. "Some of the guys were also coming back from a Cup game in Collingwood on Sunday, too."
Murphy said five of the FC players played for the Stratford United squad in that game.
The coach said the loss of veteran defender Jason Dunseith hurt as well. He was Man-of-the-Match in the 5-2 FC victory over Polish the previous week.
"We lost our sweeper and he's going to be out of commission for a while," Murphy said. "On the field, he's the captain of the defence and it's really affected the style of our play."
The coach said the team also missed the services of injured Joe Lanza.
"We have Joe sitting on the sidelines as well. These things happen in football, and you have to cope with the injuries," he said with a shrug.
"But the nice thing is, up in Collingwood, we got a good look again at a couple of the young lads and that's why we have that second team."
One of those prospects is Jamie Wilmore, who played almost the entire 90 minutes against the Eagles.
Notes:• FC (2-2-1) lost 2-0 to Srbija (2-2-1) this past Saturday in Kitchener. Stratford hosts Sonnys (3-1-1) this Friday, June 11 at Packham Road, starting at 6:30 p.m.• Ashley Adams leads FC in scoring with five goals.