Following four draws in seven matches, South Georgia Tormenta FC knew it needed to start notching wins if it wanted to stay in playoff contention.
82 minutes into a match against SC United Bantams in Columbia Saturday night, Tormenta saw yet another tied score staring back from the scoreboard.
And then the cavalry arrived.
Sam Lofts — the leading goal scorer in Tormenta’s inaugural season — scored his first two goals of the game. Reed Norton and Kieran Roberts also found the back of the net as an ambush over the final 10 minutes of play rewarded Tormenta with a 4-0 victory.
“We’ve played well and not gotten these results in other games, so this was a long time coming,” Tormenta coach John Miglarese said. “I think we showed a lot of mental toughness. We dominated in the first half, but had nothing to show for it. Then we had to hang on for 18-20 minutes.
“We made some substitutions that factored in well for us and finally let loose once that first goal went in.”
The watershed moment for Tormenta (2-2-4) came in the 83rd minute. A cross found the middle of the SC United box and Lofts was on the spot, volleying the pass cleanly into the back of the net.
Two minutes later, SC United was assessed a red card and reduced to 10 players. That only fed into Tormenta’s momentum as Lofts found the net again in the 87th minute of action.
After so many draws and unrealized chances, Tormenta was all too happy to pour it on.
“We felt like (a 4-2 loss to SC United earlier in the season) got away from us,” Tormenta’s Nick Wells said. “Their P.A. announcer kind of reminded everyone about that before the game. I think everyone was in the right mindset to make sure we played out best and finished this game.”
Tormenta dominated most of the first half. The visiting side was able to control possession and create chances, but once again found itself missing out on close chances due to shots ricocheting off posts and opposing goalkeepers coming up with great saves.
When SC United turned the tide for a few minutes in the second half, Tormenta keeper Matt Rosenberg and his back line were able to keep the danger away.
“There’s a lot of back-and-forth in every game,” Rosenberg said. “We played well throughout the game and our subs did a great job of making a difference late. (SC United) made a few runs, but — even when we’re playing well offensively — it’s all about keeping your head in the game and being ready. The game can turn in a moment. We made plays on defense to stop that and then we were able to turn the game with our offense.”
With the victory, Tormenta took a small, but important step into the heart of the South Atlantic Division standings. More wins will be needed to make a run at the postseason, but Tormenta will have a chance to build off of its newfound momentum next week when the Tri-Cities Otters come to town.