The game needed the dying, ticking minutes to be decided, but the highlight of the night came late in the first half.
Down 1-0, Prince Rupert Youth Soccer’s U19 Safeway club was looking for the equalizer versus NSK Contracting before the finality of the whistle ended the frame.
Two attackers streaked through centre circle on a break: One manning the right flank, one down centre. The dribbling forward drew NSK’s defence towards him on the right, while Truong Tran snuck in down the middle.
The attacking striker took a shot which was stopped by NSK’s goalkeeper, but not caught. The ball rolled along the ground to the open Tran, but just out of reach.
So Tran dove.
“[My teammate] just ran down the side and I saw it coming so I ran in and then he sent it,” said Tran.
“I just dove for it.”
Except not through the air.
The striker probably earned some skid marks along the front of his sky blue uniform as he propelled himself face-first into the yawning cage and collected a goal in the process.
“I’ve kind of wanted to head one in. I’ve tried so many times but it hasn’t worked, so I saw my chance and took it,” said Tran.
A little unorthodox, but Tran can check that accomplishment off the bucket list.
Ending in a 3-3 tie, the two teams battled it out, trading the lead three times before the match was finally knotted.
The majority of the pressure came early and often from NSK, earning them the lead as Rylie Miller opened the scoring off a corner-kick. After a few touches by Safeway, Miller connected and found the mesh.
Safeway took the lead in the second half with a marker after a scramble in the goalmouth to make it 2-1.
Karanpal Gill, Miller and Sekhon provided the bulk of the offense for NSK and with their pressure, found their second of the night.
Then, off a long ball that sailed over midfield and found two NSK strikers, the green side clinched the tie with their third of the evening on a break, a strike that beat the leaping Safeway goalie late in the match.
“We’re pretty good. We have a decent team, everyone’s pretty active and wants to play. We’re all friends so we get along pretty good,” said Tran, noting that the group’s communication has improved over the few weeks they’ve been together.
Safeway next plays Skeena Taxi Thursday night while NSK Contracting faces off against Ridley Terminals in week four.