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Header by Neill Collins lifts Rowdies to 1-0 win over Strikers

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For the Tampa Bay Rowies, there is no bad time to beat the Fort Lauderdale Strikers.

Saturday night, however, was a better time than most.

The Rowdies won 1-0 over the Strikers Saturday night, getting a goal in the 79th minute from Neill Collins. The win moves Tampa Bay into a tie for third place, one points behind Minnesota and tied with Indy.

“It was crucial for us,” Tampa Bay Rowdies head coach Stuart Campbell said. “We were disappointed with our result last week, so we spoke about the importance of going out and getting three points. I didn’t want to be going into a bye week looking back on a game full of negativity.”

Goalkeeper Matt Pickens had his third shutout in five games for the Rowdies, making three saves in the second half.

“If we’re going to have any success this year, we’re going to need play like that from me,” Pickens said. “We’re going to have to grind results out on the road 1-nil like we just did. It’s a good character builder for our team early in the season and it’ll be one of those ones we look back at five or 10 games from now where we look back at and say, ‘Man, that was a turning point. We stuck our chests out and took the three points.'”

For the second time in three weeks, the Rowdies won on a header goal. This time, it was by Collins, the team’s recent acquition from Sheffield, England.

“I managed to get a really good header on hit and I was delighted to see it hit the back of the net,” Collins said. “I think it’s important that as a centerback, I try and contribute with a goal or two. It certainly means a lot to me and to the whole team that we were able to win tonight, on the road against a rival. To get a goal is an added bonus. Our performances have deserved more than we’ve gotten from the first few games, and hopefully that’s started to turn around from us.”

The Rowdies are off next week, then play against Oklahoma City the following week.

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Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit garysheltonsports@gmail.com.

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