It was a long road to glory, but in the end it was well worth it for all involved.
Kingston Stockade FC triumphed over Hartford City FC, 2-1, on Saturday evening in the Atlantic White Conference Championship. The match, which went to extra time, was played at Dietz Stadium in front of a club-record 1,393 fans.
The win gave Stockade its first trophy in the club’s second season.
Just as they did upon their first visit to Kingston, Hartford opened the scoring early. Sebastian Stezewski slotted home from close range after a Stockade defensive miscue in the fifth minute to give the visitors an early 1-0 lead.
Stockade FC responded relatively quickly, however, as Bruce Jeter managed to nod home a long cross in the 15th minute to level the score at 1-1.
The remainder of the first half was played without either side asking too much of the other.
The game livened up in the second half, however, as both sides stepped up the pace, intensity, and skill. Despite numerous chances going both ways — including a lovely strike from distance by Stockade midfielder Ross Macklin that was skillfully saved by Hartford goalkeeper Hami Kara — neither team was able to break through.
Until the 94th minute, that is.
In the first stanza of extra time, Stockade forward Michael Creswick, who was subbed on in the 69th minute, collected the ball on the right side of the field and struck a lovely, spinning half-volley from some distance. The ball struck the far post and found its way into the back of the net, giving the thousand-plus fans a moment to celebrate.
With the win, Stockade advances to the regional semifinals against the Clarkstown SC Eagles. The match will take place on Saturday, July 22 at 7:30 p.m. in Madison, New Jersey.