A young and resilient Unionville Milliken SC held second-place Durham United FA to a 0-0 draw in Friday night action at Bill Crothers Turf, Unionville, keeping alive slim hopes of getting into the playoffs.
The match was one-sided in the first half with Durham maintaining majority possession and getting nine chances at goal, six of which hit the target.
Durham captain and right winger, Hollie Babut, was a nuisance for Unionville this half, getting in behind their back line, dribbling past defenders, sending in great crosses from the right flank, and delivering several well-placed corners.
A great chance would come for Durham in the 14th minute when Alicia Tamburro sent a long ball overtop to Babut, who was in one v one with Unionville goalkeeper Isabella Barbieri. Barbieri would get down quickly and make a fantastic save to deny the opening goal.
Barbieri was on fire in this match making five crucial saves in the first half to keep her team in the game. A powerful strike from Tamburro outside the box would send the young goalkeeper flying across goal to make the one-handed save.
Moments later, Durham's Kayla De Souza was in on goal when she was pulled down in the box by a Unionville defender, leaving the referee no choice but to award the visitors a penalty shot. Tamburro stepped up, but once again was denied by the hands of Barbieri.
As the second half rolled around, the home team found themselves with more possession and success, finally getting into the attacking third and some shots in on goal. Defender Coco Kontos did well making crucial tackles and overall denying penetration, as well as initiating counter-attacks.
Despite having ten shots with seven being on target, nothing quite tested the Durham goalkeeper Sara Petrucci. Notable efforts came from Unionville's Julia Micic, Jessica Perusin, Ayanna Pinder, and Payton Robertson.
Unionville’s best chance would come in the 65th minute when Journey Lashley battled with Durham defender Tamara Brown, and springing a counter-attack. She combined with her teammates and found Perusin at the back post. Perusin's shot was powerful and on target, forcing Durham's Petrucci to make a great save.
As play went on, Durham almost broke the stalemate late in the game when a ball was squared across the face of goal. Brittney Lawrence made a run in front of her defender and redirected the ball on target, but once again Unionville's Barbieri was there to make another fantastic save.
Unionville's young stars worked tirelessly for 90 minutes to earn one point, with many of them getting their first League1 experience tonight.
Unionville Milliken SC will next play first-place FC London on Wednesday August 15 (8 p.m.) at German Canadian Club, London.
Click here to keep up on all the news, goals, wins and statistics for Unionville on their team page.
Durham United FA will play their final game of the season against Aurora FC on Friday August 17 (7:30 p.m.) at Kinsmen Park Turf, PIckering.
Click here to keep up on all the news, goals, wins and statistics for Durham on their team page.