Despite Sergio Campbell nailing an equalizer moments after the Riverhounds went down by a goal in the second half, the Hounds couldn't snag a victory to retain the Keystone Derby Cup and wound up coming away with a 1-1 draw at Harrisburg Saturday night.
"I think everybody is bitterly disappointed not to bring the cup back, disappointed not to get three points," Dave Brandt said. "I thought it was a good, gutty performance. It was our third game in eight days. I thought the boys played really well."
The two bitter rivals played to a scoreless half despite several early attempts for a goal from the Hounds. Twice in the eighth minute the Hounds looked as if they would take an early lead but neither Corey Hertzog nor Nick Thompson could find the net on their shots. Hertzog missed another golden opportunity in the 21st minute, too.
About midway through the second half, though, Cardel Benbow was able to zig-zag through the box to find Craig Foster for the City Islanders' lone goal in the 65th minute. Moments later in the 70th minute, Campbell was able to get a redirect goal off a Danny Earls free kick to tie things up. Campbell's goal came from feet away as he bodied up the goalkeeper and sent it in with his back to the net for a nice finish. Earls, who was already sitting on four yellow cards, was issued a red card later in the 73rd minute for a hard challenge.
After Earls' departure, no real promising tries came for the Hounds and they surrendered the Derby Cup to the City Islanders for 2016. The Hounds fall to 5-16-4 on the year and will be back in action next Saturday in Orlando.
"We came down there with one goal. We know it hasn’t been the greatest season. We thought we could at least finish on a high, and keep this cup. Because it means so much to the fans. They were awesome all night long. They deserved it, they absolutely deserved it," captain Kevin Kerr said, referring to the Steel Army that made the trip from Pittsburgh. "It is a bit of a disappointment that we couldn’t get the job done."
When it was all said and done, Kerr left Harrisburg with this remark, too:
"We know what it is about. We know that we are not going to make playoffs this year. Every game we go out wanting to prove something to ourselves, and we also want to give back to the fans that still stand by us. They are the ones that came down tonight. You could just see it on the field," he said. "During my time in football, you are going to have a good season, and you are going to have a bad season. But the one thing as a team that you never want to be called out on, is your effort. Maybe we have this year, maybe we have deservedly. It is something they we desperately wanted to put right, and we wanted to put that right tonight. We really want to finish this season on a high, and try to carry that through to next year."
NOTE: PDL MVP Chevy Walsh made his debut for the Hounds Saturday, coming in in the 66th minute. He was issued his first yellow card moments later.