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Playoff Bound?

The AFC Cleveland Royals fought the Fort Pitt Regiment to a tough 1-1 draw Wednesday night, after a late Vinny Bell goal evened up the score line.

In a true Northeast Ohio fashion, the Cleveland Royals used grit and determination to pull out a draw. Needing every chance they could take, the Royals finally broke through in the 86th minute on a Bell goal. With Fort Pitt stifling key offensive opportunities all night, the Royals knew how important getting a point tonight was.

Fort Pitt had a strong first half. Through dominant possession time, Pittsburgh was able to push deep multiple times into the attacking third.

At times during the first half, Fort Pitt would have 10 players in the attacking half of the pitch, with the Royals pressed deep into their own 18.

The Royals’ best opportunities of the first half came off the foot of Vinny Bell. On both occasions, Bell had the ball just outside the 18 yard box. Running in towards the center as he has so many times this season, Bell shot both times aiming towards the upper 90, missing wide to his right both times.

It did not take long in the second half for Fort Pitt to score their first goal. Just as in the first half, Pitt had multiple players in the box, which lead to a pinball-like 18 yard box. After a ball came into the box, it bounced off multiple players before Jamie Lichina was able to sky the ball into the top netting. Royals keeper Spencer Semple certainly deserves some praise for his second half work. Right after conceding a goal, Semple was tested again with two laser shots by Lichina. Both times Semple was able to punch the ball out of the box. Without his excellent work, the score could easily have gone 3-0.

Even while down, the Royals never gave up fighting. In the 86th minute, their chance finally came about. Off of a Regiment player, Adam Mitchell took a long throw-in, hitting Vinny Bell well inside the box for an incredible header. Mitchell looked for the tall man Bell, who was able to put the ball into the back of the net. It was a spectacular header as there were close to six Fort Pitt defenders surrounding Bell.

In a match that was so close, both Vinny Bell and Adam Mitchell deserve to be Subside Sports Man of the Match. A cannon of a throw-in by Mitchell was key in providing the lone goal for the Royals. Had that play developed any slower Bell would not have been able to get a piece of the ball. That goes without saying that Bell had to jump higher than six Fort Pitt defenders to score. With an irregular way of getting the ball into the box, Bell did excellent in staying calm to deliver a clean finish.

The AFC Cleveland Royals wrap up regular season play on Sunday against the Erie Admirals. The Royals remain in second with the result, with Erie in third. Be sure to come out to DiSanto Field at 12:00 noon Sunday to support the Royals’ push to the playoffs.

Category: AFC Cleveland