LANGHORNE – Council Rock North found itself in a 1-1 deadlock with Suburban One National League rival Neshaminy Tuesday afternoon (Sept. 20) in Langhorne, with the Redskins launching multiple scoring attacks in the waning moments of the first half.
What’s more, by the intermission, the Indians’ top forward Nikita Ilin was being tended to by a trainer after a midfield collision with Neshaminy senior Dylan MacDonald. Ilin came off the bench in the second half, however, to score a pair of goals – his first two of the season – to help unbeaten Rock North to a 3-1 triumph over the ‘Skins.
“That’s his first two of the year so that’s a big thing for us,” said Indians head coach Joe Stackhouse. “We needed to get him off the schnide, as they say.
“He’s our guy.
“We don’t have a natural forward in this group but he’s plays in that spot and he’s done it for two years now and he’s done it well.”
Ilin shook off the injury in time to take a feed from junior Ryan Pave with 18 minutes left in the second half and tally the game-winner. With 2:24 remaining, Ilin struck again, this time, taking a feed from classmate Grant Bonas on a 2-on-1 break to register a much-needed insurance goal.
While MacDonald had to leave the game after crashing into Ilin, the CR North senior got bandaged up and returned. Stackhouse thinks that tipped the scales in his team’s favor.
“That collision with (Dylan) and Nikita opened the game up for us,” said Stackhouse.
“Taking (MacDonald) off the field left them vulnerable. Luckily, Nikita didn’t have a head injury; it was just a cut under the eye.”
Stackhouse says Ilin is tough. Ilin says he gets a lot of that toughness from his father, who was once a Russian boxer. The coach said his forward might need a stitch after the game but Nikita wasn’t so sure.
“Back in the day in Russia, they would just use an eggskin peel and just put it on the bump and that would heal it right up.”
The Indians had to endure a lot more than a facial injury to its top forward to win this one. The moment Ilin scored his first goal of the season, CR North goalkeeper Anthony Caruso was flagged with a yellow card for some over-exuberant language.
Luckily, the Indians covered Caruso’s tracks long enough to make up for his 6:50 minute absence from the goal. Earlier in the contest, it was Caruso covering up for some defensive lapses committed by the Rock.
With nine minutes to go in the first half, Skins senior midfielder Dan Grinrod blasted a shot from the top of the box that had goal written all over it. Using a full extension of his body, Caruso flicked the ball out with two hands only moments before it hit would have hit the back of the net.
With less than three minutes left in the first half, Neshaminy junior Jack McCourt took possession of the ball behind a defender and blasted it from 12 yards out. Somehow, Caruso reacted in time to kick it out of harm’s way.
Opening up the scoring in this one was Skins junior forward Vince Hosephros, who took a feed from sophomore midfielder Emil Leplau and top-shelfed it to the right side corner of Rock’s net 10 minutes into the contest.
The Indians tied things up however in the 19th minute of play when senior midfielder Nick Guarna took a feed from Ilin and put the equalizer into the back of the net.
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Council Rock North 3, Neshaminy 1
(Sept. 20 at Neshaminy)
NESHAMINY 1 0 – 1
CR NORTH 1 2 – 3
FIRST-HALF GOALS: N — Vince Hosephros, from Emil Leplau, 10th minute, CRN — Nick Guarna, from Nikita Ihlin.
SECOND-HALF GOALS: CRN — Ihlin, from Ryan Pave, 52nd minute, Ihlin, from Grant Bonas, 58th minute.