Hourie's last-second tally lifts United

By Dan Falloon, Portage Daily Graphic

Portage United was seconds away from a hard-earned draw with Red River Valley AFC.

Instead, they ended up with three points instead of just one. In the game's dying seconds, Aaron Hourie buried a Ryan Wiebe rebound to lift United (5-1-1) to a 4-3 victory at Republic of Manitobah Park on Sunday.

Hourie said he was just doing what the players needed to do, and he was ultimately rewarded for the effort.

"We just needed to get the ball on net, make sure someone gets a foot on it and just put it in the back of the net," said Hourie. "(When I saw it go in), to be honest, I didn't really know what to do. I just screamed really loud and was glad we got three points out of it."

Head coach Ian Benson said he was hoping to turn the tide of the game in United's favour to pull out the win, so he pulled Hourie out of his sleeve, and United won the whole pot.

"I had one last card to play. I had Aaron on the bench and I just felt 'Stick him out there for the last five minutes and see what happens'," said Benson. "Luckily, he paid dividends.

"That's going to carry over into the next game, without a doubt. That's got to be good for the confidence."

Braden Nicoll scored twice for United, while Nick Woolley also tallied for Portage.

The win capped off a fine weekend for United, who beat host Winnipeg Croatia 2-0 on Friday night. Benson said while players may not have fully recovered in time for the game on Sunday, they were still impressive in the end against a solid Red River Valley AFC (3-3-1) club.

"They were obviously a good team. They were well-organized, but I think we kind of lost our way a little bit in the first half," said Benson. "We were kind of failing to do the basics, but when we got on top of it and pulled a goal back, and then of course in the second half, got out in front - I think we played some good, balanced ball.

"Maybe (there was) a hangover from Friday night. Maybe a couple of the guys were tired, but I certainly felt that the soccer we played was good."

United will be in action again on Saturday when the St. James Spurs visit for a high-noon start at Republic of Manitobah Park.

For more, please see Monday's edition of the Portage Daily Graphic.

Twitter: PDGdfalloon

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