Durham United snapped a four game winless streak Friday with a dominant 4-0 win over the visiting Kingston Clippers.
It was a complete performance by Durham for the full 90 minutes, with the visitors struggling to find much possession.
The game featured arguably the goal of the season in the 17th minute. Raphael Reynolds fired a near perfect ball into the box from just inside his own half, finding the foot of Jordan Dover. The former University of Green Bay stand-out made no mistake. After taking the pass with his back to goal he one-touched it to himself while turning and then firing in one motion over keeper Dustin Kemp.
It was just one example of Durham effectively using the skilled long ball throughout the game.
Key to DUFA's performance was the return of holding midfielder Taylor Lord, who made his first start since returning from a hamstring injury. The three year League1 veteran didn't look like he had lost a step, with nearly every attack going through him.
Following the game Durham head coach Sanford Carabin spoke to Lord's influence.
"He brings balance on our team. He's always available on the ball. He wins key interceptions. He reads the game very, very well."
Carabin went on to talk glowingly about Lord's leadership, suggesting that he makes other players better when he's on the pitch.
Although Lord wasn't directly involved in the goals, his calming presence was clear. This was the most complete game Durham has played in weeks.
Despite controlling the play, it took until the 64th minute for Durham to double its lead. Again it was a long pass into the box that lead to the chance by Kashiff De Jonge. The powerful striker took the pass on first touch and fired it home from the top of the eighteen yard box.
That goal deflated the visitors. Although the effort remained, the gulf in class on the day was clear. Durham added two more goals. Shaun Claud Lawson in the 79th minute and Shaq Agard with literally the last kick of the game.
Despite the scoreline Kingston technical director Chris Eveleigh remained upbeat.
"I hate to use the word 'proud' when we've lost, but we had a young team out there and I'm satisfied with how we performed. This team is all about giving kids in Kingston an equal chance to the players from (the GTA).
"We're opening up a new pro stadium in partnership with Queen's (University) this week. It's very exciting."