(PICKERING, ON) – The Windsor Stars embarked on a four-game road trip with the first stop in Pickering to take on Durham United. Despite the banishment of Stars defender Brendan Woodfull (18), Windsor showed the fortitude to carry the play forward and come away with 3 away points and a 2-1 victory.
Windsor was chasing Durham for 6th place on the League 1 ladder, but it was the home side that jumped into an early lead, at the 2-minute mark. Tragedy befell the Stars again when, in the 32nd minute, Woodfull was sent of for what was described as a questionable call, in the penalty box.
The tables turned moments later when Stars keeper Kyle Vizirakis stopped the penalty kick and United’s coach, Sanford Carabin, declaring the save to be the turning point in the game.
“The outstanding player for us was goalkeeper Kyle Vizarakis,” said Windsor head coach, Shane Topalovic. “He made some really good saves, and saved a penalty.”
Buoyed by Vizirakis leading the way, the Pio brothers took control for the second game in a row.
Playing on his off wing, Pio the Younger got Windsor onto the score sheet with a strong strike to the tie the game. Then Noah’s older brother, Mike, netted the go-ahead goal to deflate United and elevate Windsor past Durham on the ladder.
“The biggest challenge for us was playing a man down for majority of the game,” Topalovic explained. “The key moments were saving the penalty shot in early stages, and playing a man down throughout.”
While short one man, Windsor continued to move the ball quickly as well as finding open field off the ball. Carabin cited the Stars’ work ethic as the biggest challenge for Durham.
Mike Pio was named as the McTague Law Firm Player of the Game for Windsor, his second straight selection.
Windsor (5-2-4) will now carry on with the second leg of their road trip this Sunday at Vaughan Grove as they are hosted by the Woodbridge Strikers (6-1-2). Although the Strikers have played two fewer games they currently lead the Stars by two points.
The Stars are also waiting for the quarter final drawing after moving on from round-robin play in the League 1 Cup. They finished with 4 points in the first round and will join the Group of Eight as one of the top four clubs.