Demize Blank Lions, 1-0, in Return to Springfield SPRINGFIELD – Following a lengthy six-game road swing in the middle portion of the 2014 schedule, the Springfield Demize (3-4-3) were ready to take care of business in front of their hometown supporters on Thursday night. The St. Louis Lions (3-2-3), who always present a physical battle, came to play after the two sides played to a draw in St. Louis less than two weeks prior.
The first twenty minutes of action was back and forth, with neither team allowing two much concern for their backlines. It was around that time that when defensive midfielder Jack Griffin collided with a St. Louis player, resulting in a bloody forehead for Griffin. With blood spreading to his jersey, Griffin was forced to temporarily come off the pitch to attend to his cut and change into a clean uniform.
While playing a man down, the Demize did not let the intensity dwindle. In what was the perhaps the best run of play all night, Devon Newport carried the ball down the left flank, eventually cutting in towards goal. Newport, James Thomas, and the St. Louis goalie all met around the corner of the six-yard box where a sequence of shots and rebounds took place. Thomas was able to place a bouncing ball past the St. Louis keeper and into the far side of the net.
The one-nil lead was all that the Demize defense needed to secure three points against the in-state opponents. Yuta Nomura was on his game again and added to his franchise record with his fifth shutout of the season, putting him number 1 for the nation for the PDL. Nomura made four saves for the Demize, in what happened to be a heavy second-half St. Louis attack.
Griffin returned to the field with a bandage wrapped around his head and a different jersey number, but was effective for the rest of the match, which he played until the final whistle. Due to a scheduling change, the Demize will next return to action on Tuesday, July 1st in Springfield to host Thunder Bay.
Coach Henry’s comments on the game: I thought the boys gave a fantastic performance today. Every player had a significant part to play in this win. I thought our speed of play was much better than it was the last time we played St. Louis and we stuck to our game plan for the whole 90 mins. Our mentality going into the game was spot on. Players like Jack were willing to play through a severely gashed forehead in order to walk away with the win. Sam Fitzgerald had one of his best games for us tonight and it's a shame we have to say goodbye to him as he goes back to England to play for Salford. It's not easy to play against St Louis who apply a lot of pressure and serve some dangerous balls into the box but Yuta was fantastic again tonight and now finds himself as the #1 guy in the nation for shutouts