FC Montreal really proved that it isn’t how you start, but it’s how you finish. Bethlehem Steel FC came out on the front foot and in the opening passages of play had a few close chances thanks to some solid work by the tandem of Ryan Richter and Eric Ayuk. Montreal wasn’t exactly flat-footed either as Ballou Jean Yves Tabla and Anthony Jackson-Hamel were both denied from point-blank range by Samir Badr twice in the opening 10 minutes. Jackson-Hamel found the back of the net just after the 13th however as he got the ball past Badr and slotted the ball home on a near impossible angle. Badr might’ve been able to come out earlier to collect the ball or get a hand after the first touch, but given his earlier stops, I won’t complain too much.
Steel FC were desperate for an offensive spark late in the first half and thanks to James Chambers, they found it. Derrick Jones won the foul after having his numbers practically ripped off his jersey from 35 yards. Chambers stepped up and unleashed a wicked ball that rattled the right goal post and found the back of the net which gave Steel FC a much needed equalizer headed into the half.
Brendan Burke’s halftime talk seemed to encourage his men as the second half was all Steel FC for 40 minutes. Eric Ayuk and Ryan Richter were on top of their game today, combining at will and getting good service into Josh Heard, Cory Burke and Seku Conneh. The second Steel FC goal came after some sustained pressure. Montreal hit a half-clearance that eventually fell to Auston Trusty who hit a great outlet ball to Leo Fernandes, who found Josh Heard. Heard was unlucky to hit his first time shot right out Maxime Crepeau but Cory Burke slotted home coolly and Steel FC had a 2-1 lead.
Fernandes and Jones started to really link up well and when 80 minutes flashed up on the board with Bethlehem controlling possession and having the ball mostly in their attacking third, it might have been safe to call the game dead with Steel picking up their first win in five. However, FC Montreal had other plans. Bad marking on a corner (which has been a bit of a theme this year) saw Thomas Meilleur-Giguere bury a pretty wide open chance after the ball fell to him on the corner of the six-yard box. Bad enough for a Steel FC team that really needed a win. Bethlehem wouldn’t even escape with a draw as Philippe Lincourt-Joseph struck a pass to Aron Mkungilwa who was wide open thanks to some lax defending from Anderson and to a lesser extent, Eric Ayuk.
Bethlehem’s schedule doesn’t get any better as they play next weekend away against a deadly Louisville City side before a home fixture against Red Bull II. For all the Bethlehem Steel FC coverage you’d ever want, stick around here.