Rowdies Stomp Arch Rivals 5-1

Date Published: 
Sarasota Journal

TAMPA — Brilliant goalkeeping by Paul Hammond and a relentless offensive attack led by the North American Soccer League's second-leading scorer Derek Smethurst powered the Tampa Bay Rowdies to a 5-1 victory over their arch rival, the Miami Toros, in an Eastern Division showdown at Tampa Stadium Wednesday night.

Hammond blanked the Toros until just three seconds remained in the contest, when the NASL's leading scorer Steve David freed himself from the Rowdies' sticky defense and scored cleanly on a direct boot from 16 yards out.

Smethurst, who scored two goals for the third match in a row to raise his season total to 14, wrapped up the Rowdies' scoring binge with two late second half goals. The first was unassisted on a left-footed blast following a deflection, and the second on an assist from Mark Lindsay.

The "Bermudian Bomber," Clyde Best, opened the scoring at 19:12 for the Rowdies on a brilliant header following a long crossing pass from John Sissons.

It was the only score of the first half, and preceded a series of flareups reminiscent of the first Rowdies-Toros game in early June that ended up in a brawl at the Orange Bowl in Miami.

Rowdies' Capt. John Boyle got into a brief scuffle with the Toros' new Capt. Selris Figaro, and moments later, Stewart Scullion of the Rowdies and the Toros' Warren Archibald traded punches. But unlike that first encounter, the players kept their composure and played on.

English star John Sissons and Connell, playing in his first game since returning from an injury, added the final goals for the Rowdies, who boosted their record to 14-3 and virtually clinched first place in the Eastern Division.