London City falls to Astros

KATHY RUMLESKI -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 12:07 PM ET

London City has beaten the best teams of the Canadian Professional Soccer League this season, but couldn't beat the lowly North York Astros last night.

The Astros won 3-0 at Cove Road field to pick up only their second win of the season.

"The last few games, we haven't been playing to our potential," said London's Shawn Ord, who played in the midfield instead of his regular spot on defence. "I don't know if we were thinking about all of the guys missing."

Six starters were out of the lineup -- most due to injuries -- and City looked disorganized for the better part of the game.

"(The Astros) worked very hard. Give them credit," City manager Harry Gauss said. "The team that worked won."

Gauss said the Astros always find a way to win at Cove Road. Last year was the first time City beat the Astros at the Cove in six seasons.

With London only down by a goal and pressing for an equalizer, North York went on the attack and ended up with a penalty shot in the 73rd minute when defender Marco Peeters used his hand to knock the ball away on the goal line.

The play resulted in a red card, leaving City a man short. Alex Braletic scored his second goal of the game on the penalty kick.

Gauss didn't blame Peeters for the mistake and said his instincts just kicked in.

"Any team player is going to try to stop it," Gauss said.

Five minutes later, Peter Zorbas rounded out the scoring.

On North York's first goal, London keeper Ibrahim Hadzic raced out to try to get the ball ahead of Braletic, but the Astros striker beat Hadzic to the ball. Braletic popped the ball over Hadzic's head, caught up to it and tipped it in the net in the 30th minute.

In the 33rd minute, Braletic broke through the defence and had a clear shot at Hadzic, but kicked wide.

Meanwhile, City players learned they'll be without captain Gentjan Dervishi for at least a month. The 10-year City veteran is returning to his native Albania for family reasons.

"I'm going to miss soccer for sure. It's . . . for a month and we'll see how things go," said Dervishi, who hopes to return to the club by the end of August.

Dervishi said although he's the captain, the team should be fine without him.

"I don't think one player makes a difference."

City had already lost veteran midfielder Eris Tafaj -- team leader with four goals -- who also returned to Albania this week for a trial with First Division squad KS Shkumbini. He is not expected to return this season.

Dervishi had to sit out last night's game as he had accumulated three yellow cards, which in the CPSL calls for a one-game suspension.

GAME GLANCE

Astros 3, City 0

North York goals: Alex Braletic (2), Peter Zorbas

Next: London City plays Durham Storm next Friday at Cove Road field


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