May 25, 2014 ISN – VICTORIA – The Victoria Highlanders returned to Royal Athletic Park, May 24 to face the Washington Crossfire in their second game of the weekend. Despite immense pressure throughout the second half in particular, the Victoria squad settled for a 1-1 draw off a goal from returning striker Jordie Hughes. Washington stunned the home crowd momentarily after forward Christian Rolden scored against the flow of play, but the Highlanders once again were able to put one in the net late to salvage a point.
Washington wasted no time getting their first strike on net, with forward Sean Russell firing a blast on net that Highlanders ‘keeper Watson read beautifully, stretching out to his left to swallow up the ball. The Crossfire received two additional strikes from dangerous range that Watson was also able to deflect out of harms way.
For a majority of the second half, save for ten minutes midway through play, the Highlanders held a majority of possession, with left back Andrew Ravenhill pushing his squad up the field on several occasions to no avail.
On 17-minutes Ravenhill carried the ball to the end line, sending a perfectly placed cross to midfielder Sam Prette in front, Prette connected with the ball but keeper Tyler Visten did well to read the play and handled the header easily.
Just minutes later, another Highlander rush led by striker Blair Sturrock ended in a collision between the Scottish native and Visten. Sturrock regained his posture as play continued but was unable to get a clean strike on net with the ‘keeper out of his goal.
Play slowed to a crawl on the Highlanders side, as Washington began to carry the play during the next several minutes of the half. Despite a shift in possession, there was little to report in way of quality opportunities for the visiting side.
A Cam Hundal rush at 30 minutes seemed to shake Victoria out of its daze, as the play shifted once again in favour of the home side, but like their counterparts, they were unable to put one in the back of the net. Both sides would head into the break in a deadlock.
It was all Highlanders in the second half, who generated eight corners alone in the final frame. Striker Jordie Hughes entered the game for Victoria and had an immediate presence up front, receiving three quality opportunities to put his side up a goal as the Highlanders pressed to get the goal advantage.
Against the odds, Washington was the first to draw blood, burying just one of their two shots on goal in the second half. Christian Roldan fired a low shot that a sprawling Watson could not save, with the ball rolling into the far post, giving his side the advantage with just five minutes remaining in the game.
Despite the late goal, the Highlanders once again exercised their late-game heroics, as Jordie Hughes received the ball inside the attacking zone in the 87th minute, stopping and striking a blast that curled into the far post to even the match at 1-1.
Late pressure at both sides of the pitch that included a last-second break on net from Sturrock would turn out to be unsuccessful, as the Highlanders were able to salvage a point once again with a 1-1 draw.
The Highlanders head out for a two-game road trip against the Kitsap Pumas before heading to Redmond for a rematch against the Crossfire, May 31 and June 1, respectively.