Whitecaps triumphant as TSS’ home unbeaten run ends

This past Friday saw TSS Rovers host their penultimate home game of the season and undoubtedly their toughest. The Whitecaps were in town. Clear front runners at the top of the women’s league, and with the men’s team coming into form, there were two exciting games in store for the Swangard crowd. And as always, it was the women up first.

Women

TSS suffered their heaviest defeat of the season when they played the Whitecaps in their season opener in May. Since then, results have improved, and they now find themselves knocking on the door of that final play-off spot. Beating the Whitecaps would be a tough task, but improving on that earlier defeat was vital. 

With the sun beating down on both sets of players throughout the first half, the intensity was limited. The Whitecaps had the best chance when they hit the post 15 minutes in, but were unable to find key passes in the final third to create anything else. TSS defended resolutely, staying organised and taking the Whitecaps into the break all square at 0-0.

TSS upped the tempo at the start of the second half, pressing the Whitecaps and ultimately securing their first chance of the game when Kylie Sandulak denied TSS’ Devon Kavanagh. Moments later, the lingering Whitecaps threat was unleashed, albeit through a defensive mix-up. A TSS slide tackle rebounded off the shin of Kaylee Hunter in the six-yard box and past Kirstin Tynan in the TSS goal to give the away side a 1-0 lead 62 minutes in. 

Despite hitting the crossbar twice and Sofia Faremo having a long-range effort well saved by Sandulak in the 15 minutes following the goal, it was Whitecaps starlet Jeneva Hernandez Gray who sealed the three points. The Whitecaps’ number seven struck a fierce shot from just outside the box that gave Tynan little chance in the TSS goal. 

TSS had the better chances on the night, but the Whitecaps stood firm and were able to do what good teams do: get the job done. It’s a 2-0 defeat for TSS, but it’s arguably their best performance of the season and one that will give them great confidence heading into an important run of games. 


Men

When a team is in the midst of an unbeaten run, there is a sense of invincibility that makes you believe it will never end. As TSS Rovers’ men’s side found out this past Sunday, there are only so many times you can escape that inevitable loss. They’d started the season excellently, winning comfortably and looking far superior to their opponents. Then came a more difficult spell: three draws in a row, two of those being rescued late on but still unbeaten. The visit of the Whitecaps to Swangard would be their biggest test; the away side were second going into the game and could overtake TSS with a win.

The visitors made the perfect start when TSS keeper Justyn Sandhu took down David Ajagbe inside the box, resulting in a penalty that Matteo Samori converted 26 minutes in. Both sides had good chances as the half went on, with TSS’ Ivan Mejia going closest when he hit the crossbar minutes before the interval. It was that man, Mejia, who had been the brightest spark in the first half, giving life to a rather flat TSS display.

With 15 minutes to go in the second half, an equaliser came for TSS. Matteo Polisi sent a long free-kick into the box, with Devin O’Hea heading the ball across the danger zone to the back post, where Gurman Sangha was waiting to poke home his third of the season. The momentum, now with TSS. 

Three minutes later, it should have been another for TSS when O’Hea failed to convert from close range following an inch-perfect cross from Sangha. There was one more goal in this, and it came in the 90th minute. Aidan Fong delivered well from the right, picking out Amirmahdi Ghasemi, who cushioned his header into the bottom right corner for the Whitecaps, sealing a 2-1 win and inflicting a first defeat of the season on TSS. 

An important win in the fight for top spot, Whitecaps overtaking TSS with a memorable win. TSS have rode their luck a few times this season, but this time their luck was out.