57 days after the start of the season, section NC wrote another chapter in the annals of section soccer by securing their place in the RC final, a last minute Todd Rainville winner denying the brave NJ.
Both teams played flowing football in what spectators and players alike are calling the game of the season. It was a sign of the pedigree of both sides that it took goals of the highest order to unlock the defences of each side.
NC were 1-0 up within a minute. NJ’s first attack petered out on the left, and from the resulting throw in Delauno Hinson scampered down the touchline skinning one man before rifling in a low cross to the far post…. on hand was Todd Rainville who slid in to score his first of the game. The stopwatch registered 38s – possibly the fastest goal of the season?
The rest of the first half was an even affair with both sides playing slick open football. NC worked NJ’s keeper more frequently, but it was NJ who scored next, equalising with an outstanding goal; a thunderbolt from 25 yards screaming into the top corner giving diving keeper Jason Phillips no chance. Unperturbed NC responded in the manner of champions.
Delauno Hinson juggled the ball over the heads of the static NJ defence, and with the spectators wondering what magic trick he would perform next, he rifled the ball into the far corner from an acute angle.
The second half continued as the first had ended with NC playing controlling football, knocking the ball around the park with ease. Brad Stoltz, Pablo Velez and Akos Kassai performed with their usual class at the back and NC knew it would take a special goal for NJ to equalise.
Unsurprisingly, given the quality of the game ’til that point, they duly obliged, their forward executing the perfect left footed lob. 2-2. The equaliser stung NC into life and the remaining 7 minutes were all NC as they exerted untold pressure on the NJ backline. First Guillaume de Demandolx and Rafa Guida Masoni went close, both forcing good saves, then Rocket Rainville cracked a volley against the bar and when a certain forward-who-shall-remain-nameless missed a sitter from two yards, many began to plan for extra time. As all opposition are learning though Section NC play the full 40 minutes, and just as he had scored in the first minute so Todd Rainville popped up in the last to knock home the winner….
So NC march on to the RC final, and face a rematch against NE. NE’s judicious use of Pro Forma Earnings in their report on the last NC-NE game clearly came straight from Jeffrey Skilling’s book of Accounting & ‘The C’ are looking forward to reminding them of the true underlying economics and balance of power in RC soccer. Roll on the final.
Man of the match – Todd Rainville