Huron United opens with 3-2 win

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Sports

It wasn't pretty, but Huron United kicked off the 2017 soccer season with a victory on the weekend.

The Kincardine men's soccer team began defending a SWRSA Premier League Championship at the Davidson Centre against Shelburne. And it didn't begin well for the home side.

The Shelburne Madmen took a surprise lead just 27 seconds into this match. Electing to play into a strong wind in the first half, a cross from the right wing into the six-yard box was only partially cleared by David Miller, and a Madmen forward was first to the ball and bundled it over the line.

Perhaps because it was the opening game of the season, or possibly because Shelburne didn't allow Huron United any time or space with the ball, but last year's champs looked decidedly shaky out of the gate.

Parity was restored in the 32nd minute when Damian Gunaratne slotted the ball home from six yards out from a nicely-headed pass from Mat Dennis. The goal scorer turned provider two minutes later. Gunaratne sent Dennis in on a through ball, and Dennis buried the chance to make it 2-1 for Huron United. Shelburne battled back and evened the score just before the half when keeper Aidan Calcutt was beaten by a low shot to the left hand corner.

With the wind at their backs in the second half, Huron United pressed for a go-ahead goal, and it finally came after a period of sustained pressure and a succession of corner kicks. Peter Stoekli's diving header from a Miller corner gave Huron United the eventual game-winning goal.

"Not a great win, but a win nonetheless," said Kincardine coach Malcolm Godard of the 3-2 victory.

Dennis was named man of the match for his tireless play in the midfield, as well as for notching a goal and an assist.

Huron United won't play again until May 28. That game will be at home, however, at the Davidson Centre pitch at 4 p.m. against FEDS.

Huron United is joined in the SWRSA by Shelburne, FEDS, the Listowel Ravens, Walkerton FC and two teams from Orangeville - the Storm and the Athletics.

-- Josh Howald