HOLLIDAYSBURG - Less than four minutes into the game Tuesday, Hollidaysburg was awarded a penalty kick after a handball call against Altoona, and Golden Tiger standout David Katz converted the free shot.
That turned out to be all the Golden Tigers needed as they went on to a 2-0 win over Altoona on senior night at Tiger Stadium.
"It wasn't pretty, but a win is a win," Hollidaysburg coach Craig Shale said after watching his Tigers improve to 11-3-1.
Mirror photo by Gary M. Baranec
The Tigers’ Todd Azeles crashes into Altoona goalie Joe Smith while Lion teammate Dean Maddox looks on.
Shale said the senior night activities might have contributed to the Tigers' sluggish performance.
"They [players] get out of their routine," he said. "There were some glitches with the [loud] speakers, and we had to do player introductions at halftime and we couldn't get together as a team.
"So, it was a little of that, and we had some extra seniors that we wanted to get some playing time for," Shale continued, "but I thought Altoona played great on some of those passing lanes and we couldn't get going.
"I never thought we were in danger of losing, though."
Altoona coach Dave Alexander was unhappy with the handball call against his Mountain Lions which resulted in the penalty kick, and Shale later agreed with him.
When Alexander was asked for an explanation after the game, he replied: "He [official] can't even explain it [to me]. I really don't say anything about calls, but it kind of changes the game when it's only four minutes in, and ..."
Alexander said the official called a handball, but the Altoona coach said the ball actually hit his player in the arm.
"His arm was near his body so it wasn't actually a handball," Alexander said. "[Official] couldn't give me a name or number, but it is what it is.
"We played well in spurts, but when you come out playing half decent and get a call like that, it's tough to recover from."
The Lions didn't recover. They had a couple of scoring chances, but couldn't get past the tough Hollidaysburg defenders or Tiger keeper Justin Hann.
"They played well in the back," Alexander said. "We played a little better than the last time we played them. We hung in there a little longer, but it's tough to come back from that early PK [penalty kick].
"It shouldn't have been called, but that's my opinion."
After the early penalty kick, Hollidaysburg didn't do much offensively, either. It remained 1-0 until 5:41 remained in the game when midfielder Katz drilled a crossing pass in front of the net to Colin Burns, who buried a shot past Altoona keeper Joe Smith for the Tigers' second goal.
"That penalty kick was tough," Shale said. "I really didn't see anything myself.
"Five minutes in, if you get a penalty kick, that takes a bit away from the game," he added.
SCORE BY HALVES
Altoona0 0 - 0
Hollidaysburg 1 1 - 2
First Half: H-Katz (penalty kick), 36:36.
Second Half: H-Burns (Katz), 5:41.
Records: Altoona (6-7-4); Hollidaysburg (11-3-1).
JV: Altoona won, 1-0.