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Rough Riders Back In Playoff Run

The Long Island Rough Riders defeated the Central Jersey Spartans for the second time in one week. In a game that lacked inspiration for the majority of the time, Tyler Botte secured the home win for his side at 56 minutes.

In their first game after the 3-1 loss to Ocean City, the Rough Riders were determined to close the gap to the division top teams and attacked the Spartans’ defense from the 1st minute. Pressing early and winning many balls in the attacking half, Stephen Roche and Orlando Castaneda recorded early shots for the home team. In the 13th minute Tom Wharf faced an excellent scoring opportunity when Tyler Arnone clipped the ball over the defense and Wharf found himself wide open in front of Spartans goalkeeper John Richards. Wharf’s attempt was saved by Richards as was Arnone’s shot four minutes later.

The Rough Riders’ attacking phase came to an end after seven shots in the first 25 minutes. Tyler Botte had the last chance of the first half when he headed a Danny Kramer cross just inches over the crossbar in the 36th minute.  While the home side was dominant throughout the game thus far, their lack of inspiration and precision on the final pass kept the game tied at 0 going into half time.

 After the intermission the game never reached the intensity of the opening minutes. Neither team was able to gain control due to slow passing and numerous turnovers. Botte continued to stay the most dangerous Rough Riders forward when his header off a Sarle cross narrowly missed the goal at 54 minutes.

Only two minutes later, this should change when Richards blocked a Dom Iovino shot from the left corner of the penalty box in front of Botte’s feet. Long Island’s best scorer of the season needed only one touch to convert the rebound for the 1-0 lead.

Besides a wide open Brian Pereira header in the 59th minute and a rebound opportunity by Kevin Knowles at 80 minutes, neither team was able to create valuable chances.

“It is great to be back to winning ways”, says a relieved Rough Riders head coach Paul Roderick. “Results are sometimes more important than an attractive style of playing and we desperately needed this win.”

With this victory, the Rough Riders remain in 5th place in the Mid Atlantic Division with now 14 points. They were able to close the gap to the teams ahead of them and are back in the run for a sought after playoff spot.