HARTFORD, Conn. — Leo Fernandes converted a penalty in second-half stoppage time to give the Rowdies as 3-2 win over Hartford on Saturday night and extend their unbeaten streak to nine matches.
The Rowdies (10-3-6) were down a man after center back Jordan Scarlett was shown a straight red card for a sliding challenge to Hartford’s Ariel Martinez in stoppage time. With Martinez injured, stoppage time was extended and the Rowdies took advantage.
Substitute Dayon Harris pushed the ball past Hartford’s Joel Johnson on the right edge of the box but was tripped up by Johnson, drawing a penalty. Fernandes then converted his second penalty of the game.
“You’ve got to just take your hat off to the lads to go on and win that game with 10 men in the last three or four minutes with a couple different opportunities,” Rowdies coach Neill Collins said. “It’s what you need to do if you want to be at the top of this league.
“I always talk about performance, but every once and again you’ve got to rise above poor performances and get the win.”
The Rowdies went up 1-0 in the 36th minute on a goal by Sebastian Dalgaard. Making his first appearance since early May, forward Steevan Dos Santos started the scoring sequence by stripping Hartford players deep in the corner and slotting a pass to Fernandes at the top of the box. Fernandes passed the ball along to Lewis Hilton, who slipped the ball out wide for Dalgaard, who shot it off the underside of the crossbar and into the goal.
Hartford tied the score 13 minutes later and went ahead in the 56th.
“For the first three, four minutes (of the second half), we really started exactly as we had in the first half and then conceded their first goal in a comedy of errors,” said Collins. “From that point, everything we’d done well, we stopped doing.”
Fernandes tied the score at 2 on his first penalty of the game after Dos Santos was taken down by Hartford defender Tom Brewitt
“The last few minutes were down to the players,” Collins said. “I got one message on about where people were going to play, and the boys just went on and took it. … To just get rewarded for some of our hard work was good.”