SPRINGFIELD – The Springfield Demize (3-4-4) moved into sole possession of third place after earning the team’s first ever result with the Thunder Bay Chill (5-5-1). Entering the match in a deadlock with St. Louis, the Demize earned a crucial point to slide into third place with Tuesday night’s 1-1 draw.
" It's great to get the franchise first ever result against a quality Thunder Bay side, however it could have easily been out first ever win. The lads were gutted with the tie. That's a result of this teams mentality and belief in each other,” said head coach Ian Henry. “We have really grown into the system and our performances in the last couple of games have been fantastic. We have started to move the ball with more speed and purpose and it's allowing us to find gaps that we can penetrate into and create chances. It's a shame that the season is only 3 months, as this team is only getting better.”
The two sides met in Canada earlier in the season, where the Demize fell 0-1. The Springfield loss remained in the minds of the team going into the home match. Both teams started the game with early attacks, each earning a pair of corner kicks in the first ten minutes of play.
Demize goalkeeper Yuta Nomura has been one of the nation’s best this season. Nomura fended off the initial assault, but saw a laser from outside of the box find the upper corner of the goal in the 22nd minute. Despite the allowed goal, Nomura is still the leader of the 64-team PDL in shutouts (5), ranks third in goals against (9), and fourth in goals against average (1.00). Nomura finished the day with four saves.
In the second half, the Springfield attack was clearly the superior. The Demize seemed to have far more quality looks in front of net, despite the second half shot totals only slightly favoring the home side, 7-6.
In the 60th minute, James Thomas took the ball and turned towards goal. From over 25 feet out, the English forward blasted a rocket into the back of the net, knotting the game up at two apiece. This was Thomas’ second goal in as many matches.
“We were delighted with JT,” said Henry. “His ability to hold the ball up and bring others into the game has allowed us to keep the ball in the final third. Not only that, but as we saw from his goal he can create chances out of nowhere. It really was a fantastic strike.”
As the final half an hour played out, neither side was able to replicate the brilliance of their first goals, and the game ended in a draw.
“I felt our substitutions allowed us to grab a hold of the game in the second half,” added Henry. “We began to tire, and the subs helped raise the level again. Had we had another 5 mins on the clock we may be looking at a 2-1 win.” The Demize have two remaining games on the schedule, at home against Des Moines on July 15 and at St. Louis on July 19.