Rowdies score three quick goals to win again

by Gary Shelton on May 20, 2017 · 0 comments

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Joe Cole ./STEVEN MUNCIE

Joe Cole scored the tying goal to kick-start the offense ./STEVEN MUNCIE

Saturday, 1 a.m.

The Tampa Bay Rowdies were a long way from home Tuesday night, but a short distance from first place.

The Rowdies scored three goals in 14 minutes to beat the Toronto FC II team, 3-1, and edge ahead of the Charleston Battery by a point going into Saturday's play.

Tampa Bay fell behind 1-0 in the 10th minute, and it stayed that way until the 68 minute mark when Joe Cole scored.

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Goals by Darwin Jones and Martin Paterson followed as the Rowdies improved to 6-2-2.

"I thought the players showed tremendous character,” Rowdies Head Coach Stuart Campbell said. “It was a difficult first half for us, but the guys came in, we had a good chat at halftime, went back out and I thought we were absolutely outstanding in the second half. I think we thoroughly deserved the three points”

Joe Cole pulled Tampa Bay even in the 68th minute, putting home a low cross from Darwin Jones, a goal that had been coming for a while.

Martin Paterson, coming off a midweek goal in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, entered the match in the 79th minute and scored exactly 21 second later, heading home a Neill Collins cross to put the Rowdies ahead.

“I’m delighted,” Paterson said. “(When I came on), I was very confident that we would create chances. I didn’t know if we would win, but I know we would create chances and it was up to us to put them away. If you watched the game, we had the clear-cut chances much more than them.”

Jones put the game out of reach for Toronto (1-3-5, 6 points) with a left-footed shot from outside the box that took a deflection before beating TFC II goalkeeper Angelo Cavalluzzo.

“It feels good because it was a hard-fought game,” Jones said. “I felt from the beginning of the game that we were going to win it. Our second half performance was good.”

The win lifts Tampa Bay into first place in the Eastern Conference, one point ahead of the Charleston Battery, which plays on the road against the Harrisburg City Islanders on Saturday night.

The Rowdies will be back on the road next week to take on the Rochester Rhinos on Wednesday night before returning home to face Saint Louis FC at Al Lang Stadium on Saturday, May 27.

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