Another win, another shutout for red-hot Rowdies

by Gary Shelton on August 6, 2017 · 0 comments

in general, Rowdies

Captain Joe Cole was injured in the 7th minute./STEVEN MUNCIE

Captain Joe Cole was injured in the 7th minute./STEVEN MUNCIE

Sunday, 1 a.m.

The Tampa Bay Rowdies continued their hot streak at home Saturday night.

Which means, of course, nothing to the opposing Harrisberg City Islanders. Nothing, as in no wins, no goals and no hope.

The Rowdies won their third game in a row and ran their unbeaten streak to five straight games with a 3-0 victory over the Islanders. Goaltender Matt Pickens, appearing in his 100th game as a member of the Rowdies, got his seventh clean sheet of the season.

The win moved the Rowdies (10-7-5 (W-T-L), 37 points) into a tie with the Charleston Battery for second place in the USL’s Eastern Conference. Tampa Bay trails the Charlotte Independence by two points at the top of the standings.

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Neill Collins celebrates with teammates after scoring./STEVEN MUNCIE

Neill Collins celebrates with teammates after scoring./STEVEN MUNCIE

During the Rowdies' five-game streak, they have given up only one goal, that coming in a 1-1 draw against Orlando City.

Neill Collins, Martin Paterson and Walter Restrepo scored for the Rowdies, who lost Joe Cole to a back injury early.

It was a fantastic performance by the whole team,” Rowdies Head Coach Stuart Campbell said. “I thought everyone was great tonight, I’ve got to be honest. It was a very, very solid team performance.”

The Rowdies have won eight and tied one of their 11 home games.

Pickens had another clean sheet in his 100th game./STEVEN MUNCIE

Pickens had another clean sheet in his 100th game./STEVEN MUNCIE

Cole’s replacement, Michael Nanchoff, took a corner kick in the 15th minute that eventually found its way to Neill Collins at the back post. Collins blasted a shot into the roof of the net for his second goal of the season and a 1-0 Rowdies lead.

“(Scoring a goal with my feet) has been a long time coming,” Collins said. “I’ve scored a lot of goals in my career with my head. … It’s not the closest I’ve ever scored from, but it was close. I couldn’t miss and it was a good start to the game for us.”

Rowdies goalkeeper Matt Pickens needed to make just two saves to post his third-straight clean sheet.

The Rowdies doubled their advantage and really started clicking into high gear in the 73rd minute, when Marcel Schafer delivered a high, looping cross onto the forehead of Martin Paterson at the penalty spot to beat Harrisburg’s Brandon Miller and score his sixth goal of the season.

Tampa Bay kept on the front foot for the rest of the match and Schäfer notched another assist in the 90th minute, feeding Walter Restrepo on a counter attack. Restrepo chipped Miller for his first goal since joining the Rowdies on July 20.

Up next, the Rowdies hit the road next weekend to visit Saint Louis FC on Sunday night before returning home to host the Ottawa Fury FC at Al Lang Stadium on August 19.

Martin Paterson reacts after scoring./STEVEN MUNCIE

Martin Paterson reacts after scoring./STEVEN MUNCIE

 

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