DAVID SMITH - Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Charles Kazlauskas played the full 90 minutes for Helmond on Monday evening, manning the right side of their attack as they pulled even with Willem II Tilburg in an action-packed flurry of goals.
The game was immediately off to a hot start, with Helmond needing just two minutes to take the lead. A throw-in by Gillian Justiana from the left side found its way to Zarko Grabovac at the edge of the six-yard box. In the midst of several defenders, Grabovac headed the ball forward to Erik Quekel who coolly slotted his shot to the lower right corner.
Willem equalized after 36 minutes in somewhat fortunate circumstances. Robbie Haemhouts lofted a long free kick into the area which the Helmond defense was unable to clear from danger, leaving it free for the taking at the right side of goal. Polish youngster tried to put it over the line with a tight-angled shot, however it first bounced off Helmond defender Jop van der Linden, with the official ruling being an own-goal.
Unfazed by the temporary setback, Quekel assured that Helmond would enter the halftime break on top when he chipped keeper David Meul in the 39th minute to restore his team's lead, however the game turned shortly past the break in unexpectedly rapid fashion.
Former Dutch youth international Istvan Bakx pulled Willem even in the 48th when he headed down a cross from the right past helpless Helmond keeper Björn Sengier, then provided the lead for his team two minutes afterwards when he completed a commanding charge up the middle with a long, partially deflected shot for the 3-2.
The host had barely the time to celebrate as Helmond put the game back on even terms two minutes afterwards, as Quekel completed his hat trick after stealing a sloppy pass deep in Willem territory, and subsequently beating the keeper with a spectacular 35-yard lob.
The game settled down after the flurry of goals, with the final whistle finally sounding to confirm the point for each team.
Helmond jump to seventh in the overall Jupiler League standings with the point, however their strong record since the turn of the year has them sitting third place in the third period standings, although with much of the rest of the league having games in hand due to a spate of weather-related cancellations.
They will be back in action on Friday evening when they host inconsistent 15th-place team Telstar Velsen.