Playing without the benefit of even a single substitution, the Italia Flyers Azzuri knew they would need to dig deep Monday night at Queen's Athletic Field. The young guns, under head coach Gino Contini, did just that, scoring three unanswered goals in the second half to down previously unbeaten Sudbury Athletic Vikings 5-1 in SRCSL Men's Premier play.
Shifty striker Daniel Radu netted a pair of first half goals and completely the hat trick with a lovely spin move inside the box late in the contest to lead the way for the Azzuri, who improved their record to 3-0 on the season. Trailing 2-0 late in the first half, Bryan Baskcomb drew the Athletic to within one in the 45th minute, breaking free on the left flank and sliding it just under Italia Flyers' netminder Travis Luke.
The Athletic pressed early in the second half, to no avail, before the Azzuri began to take control. In the 51st minute, Giovanni Foschia makes a couple of moves on the final defender before hitting paydirt, increasing the lead to 3-1. Seizing the momentum now in their favour, the Flyers maintain the pressure.Defender Nick Contini drives a direct kick off the wall, but collects his own rebound and drifts hos shot wide to the right. Less than a minute later, it's Radu with a lovely run up the right side, sending a well placed cross that draws a hand ball call. Sam Hinds makes no mistake on the ensuing penalty kick and for all intents and purposes, this game is over.
Vikings' netminder Adam Wickenden would come through with one final sparkling save, foiling Radu's attempt at a four-goal game, but in this matchup of previously unbeaten squads, it's the Azzuri who would earn bragging rights with a 5-1 triumph.
In league news, the men's loop has opted to forego the breakdown of a two-division format (previously Premier and First Division) in favour of a single ten team league, providing much more variety to the opponents that one is likely to face. That said, the gap between the elite teams and the lower ranking squads will provide some scores that will be a tad lopsided during the course of the 2010 campaign.
The Italia Flyers-Sudbury Athletic showdown was the first SRCSL Men's Premier match played on the Queen's Field this year, after the Sudbury Gladiators christened the field Saturday with a pair of football encounters.