Jake Stanford is back coaching Holy Cross Kirby Group, as if the Crusaders needed any extra help.
Holy Cross crushed Feildians Ernst & Young Orenda 5-0 in Molson Challenge Cup soccer play at King George V Park Wednesday night to improve to 5-0 on the season, all the wins coming via the shutout route.
Holy Cross goalkeeper Brandon Noseworthy, who was only really tested three or four times, picked up the win. His Feildians counterpart, David Hickey, was much busier as the Crusaders dominated the play.
Steve DeLong scored twice and leads the league with eight goals on the season. Jon Hawco, on a penalty kick, Pat Reddick and Jeff Slaney scored the other goals.
Stanford, who rejoined the team after its season-opening game, said he’ll remain with the club for the rest of the campaign.
He indicated there was no pressure for him to rejoin Holy Cross.
“It’s a team I helped develop, so I couldn’t turn my back on these guys,” he said.
Stanford admitted the team came looking for him, “but they knew I was there for them,” added Stanford, who is also coaching the 2013 Canada Summer Games girls’ soccer team.
“It’s a big priority for me to get that team a medal for Newfoundland soccer.”
Despite the perfect start, Stanford refused to compare the squad to last year’s championship side.
“It’s too early to say how good this team is,” Stanford said. “We still have some big games coming up, so I won’t go as far as to say were better just yet. I’m not getting too excited.”
Two of the Crusaders’ five wins have been over the hapless St. John’s under-18s, and Holy Cross still hasn’t played St. Lawrence Labatt Laurentians yet this season. That highly anticipated match is set for June 23 at KGV Park.
Noseworthy, who has been in net for all five shutout wins, said while he hasn’t had to face a lot of shots so far this season, he has been able to keep his concentration.
“You have to keep your focus no matter how the game is going,” he said. “And the guys have shown a lot of confidence in me.”
The 18-year-old, who came up through the Mount Pearl minor soccer system, said it’s been an “awesome” experience playing for the defending champions.
“The boys have been great with me and helped me to fit in real well,” he said.
Stanford said his rookie ’keeper played well in a recent win over Mount Pearl and he isn’t worried that he doesn’t see a lot of shots in a game.
“He gets lots of work in training, trust me,” Stanford added with a smile.
Holy Cross jumped into a 3-0 first-half lead and Feildians’ only defence in attempting to slow down the fleet-footed Crusaders was with some hard fouls. Even that didn’t work.
Reddick blasted a shot for a goal at 50 minutes for a 4-0 lead and Slaney drilled a hard shot past Hickey 12 minutes later.
With 10 minutes left in the match, Holy Cross was awarded a penalty kick when an attacker was taken down inside the penalty area. Hickey showed his frustration by booting the ball out of the park.
He was promptly shown a yellow card by referee Mike Edmunds and then proceeded to make a brilliant diving save on Slaney’s free kick from the charity spot.
That was the lone highlight of the evening for the Double Blues.