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Rowdies begin English swing with draw against Nottingham

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The Tampa Bay Rowdies went half of a world away only to draw in the first leg of their English preseason trip.

The Rowdies had a 2-2 draw with Nottingham Forest Wednesday, getting a tying goal from Tom Heinemann in the 79th minute. Tampa Bay had taken a 1-0 lead on a goal by Kalif Alhassan. The match was played in near-freezing temperatures and a morning rain.

“I thought we played really well, in the first half especially,” Rowdies Head Coach Stuart Campbell said. “We created a number of good opportunities and when halftime came, we didn’t really want to stop. It took a while to get going in the second half, but I’ve got to give a lot of credit to Forest. We withstood the pressure and then finished the game pretty well. It’s really pleasing because for a majority of the guys, it was their first 90 minutes.”

After two losses and a tie against MLS competition and win over USF, Campbell said he could see progress in his team.

It was physical, it was aggressive and I’m really proud of the way our guys played today,” Campbell said. “I’m delighted with the way they came together because it’s still a relatively new team and that bodes well for us going forward. As a team, we’re improving game-by-game.”

The Rowdies will be back in action Friday morning against Notts County XI in the second match of their preseason tour.

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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