SARNIA - St. Marys Juggernauts continued their positive play, securing a 1-1 WOSL First Division draw with Sarnia Bluewater here Sunday night.
Both teams had line-ups with holes to fill due to the long weekend, which gave some players a chance to impress.
The result extends St. Marys’ league unbeaten streak to four matches. Barely a minute into the match, Juggernauts showed their intent when midfielder Mike Weersink threaded a pass to striker Evin Murray, who lashed narrowly wide from outside the box.
The opening goal came in the 10th minute. Sarnia had punched the ball to the top of the box, where their striker unleashed a curling shot into the strong wind and as it whistled into the net. The visitors were on the back foot early.
St. Marys evened the score midway through the first half. It started when veteran midfielder Harm Vosters flicked a James Flanagan cross into the top corner, catching the Sarnia keeper by surprise.
Strikers Andrew Gravett and Murray hooked up 10 minutes before the break for another decent look. Gravett danced to and fro in front of the Sarnia goal before whipping a low, deflected cross into the box. With his back to the net, Murray controlled and spun, but his shot whistled wide.
In the second half, Dominic Pieroni continues to impress. He popped up on the end of a through ball by Korey Graham shortly before the hour-mark. His attempted nutmeg clipped one of the Sarnia defender’s legs and went out for a corner. A few minutes later, those two combined to beat the same defence, but Graham was off-side by the time Pieroni released the ball.
Although Juggernauts managed to get up the field at times in the second half, they never sustained possession and Sarnia pressed for a winning goal as the game wore on. The Sarnia coach opted to wait for a break late in the game to give his team defensive coverage against an ever present St. Marys counter attack.
Sarnia pressed hard, but the defensive group of Sjoerd DeWit, Evan Doupe, Derek Hartman and Aaron Leyser did everything to block shots to protect keeper Aaron Wybrow.
Those blocked attempts worked, except when one deflected at the net which resulted in the play of the match and it forced Wybrow to make a fantastic diving save at full stretch. On the ensuing corner, Sarnia pushed their big boys up from the back looking for the winner, but the Juggernauts held firm with Nick Martin coolly winning the cross and clearing their zone.
Juggernauts head out on the road again this weekend for a 5 p.m. game Saturday night against London White Eagles at the Polish Club in Nilestown.
“The White Eagles picked up their first win on the season against third-place London English, so we expect a tough game to start the second half of the season,” remarked veteran defender Stephen Treadway.
Next home game for Juggernauts is Friday, July 12 when they host Middlesex at the DCVI field at 8 p.m.
First Division standings
St. Marys currently sports a won-tied-loss record of 2-3-4, good for nine points. Sarnia is 2-3-3.
Everyone in the First Division is chasing Woodstock and Olympians AEK from London. Both squads are 7-1-1 and tied for top spot.