RECAP: HELMOND 1 - 0 FC VOLENDAM
Charles Kazlauskas made his return from injury on Friday evening, coming into Helmond's one-goal home win over Volendam as a second-half substitute.
Prior to embarking on their now 14-game unbeaten run, Helmond had last tasted defeat on December 9 in a 3-1 loss on their visit to Friday opponents Volendam.
In the nearly four months since that game, Volendam had won just three times in 14 tries, dropping from fifth to their current 12th-place standing.
Helmond came out firing, with early chances from Juanito Sequeira coming close within five minutes, then nearly setting up Emrullah Güvenç in the 18th minute, however a careless foul by the visitors midway through the first half provided the opening for the lone goal of the game.
Henny Schilder was shown a yellow card for tripping up German forward Sebastian Stachnik just outside the penalty area, setting up a dangerously-placed free kick for the hosts. Set piece specialist Jop Van der Linden was the man to take the kick, and placed his attempt perfectly just inside the upper left corner, leaving keeper Robbin Ruiter absolutely no opportunity to make the save.
Volendam still hung strong for the remainder, with both teams having multiple chances and failing to capitalize.
Kazlauskas made his return to the field after missing several games with injury as a 74th minute substitute for left winger Güvenç, and Belgian midfielder Daniel Guijo Velasco was close to wrapping the game up moments later with a close call averted by a heads-up play by Ruiter.
The division's leading scorer Jack Tuyp almost gave his team a late equalizer three minutes into added time when he broke into space, however the flawless Helmond keeper Bjorn Sengier came up big to squash the chance, preserving the three points for the hosts.
Helmond now lead the fourth period standings by four points, and are fourth overall in the division standings. They have a quick return to action, visiting second-bottom AGOVV on Monday afternoon, to begin the final four games of the regular season before the beginning of the promotion playoffs.