Friday night lights shown down bright upon the Hatteras Hurricane’s soccer field on the 7th day of September. Hatteras is always looking to reignite the spark of the original Dare County derby and they were fired up to take on your Manteo Redskins, who are currently ranked number three in the state for 1A classification.
Upon kickoff, both teams showed they were focused and ready to play as the initial pace of the game was fast and the play was physical on both sides. Manteo controlled the run of possession early, keeping the ball on the ground and forming effective 10-12 yard triangles throughout the midfield to pass the ball about. Hatteras opted to play direct upon their time on the ball. The Manteo back-line quickly sniffed out their game plan and began to anticipate the long balls.
Manteo obtained several early chances at goal but were unable to capitalize and take the lead. As the minutes ticked by with a nil-nil scoreline, Hatteras grew more confident. Manteo captain and midfielder, Erik Hernandez, who had been out for two games due to injury, was eager to reassert himself on the field and diminish the Hurricanes growing confidence.
Manteo’s first goal began with Landon Taylor attempting to send a through ball past the back-line to Zafra on the run. It was a well weighted ball but it was was deflected out wide by the Hurricane center-back. Noah Goetsch was able to collect the ball along the left wing, drawing a defender outside of the 18-yard box. Hernandez drew into the space along the top left corner of the box and called for the drop. Goetsch obliged the request. Hernandez found plenty of space on the ball, took one touch to set up his strike and then sent a looping, bending ball perfectly into the far post upper ninety. Either the goalie felt he had no chance to save it, or he felt it was sailing over because his only reaction was to turn and watch it sail into the back of the net. The strike was pure class.
Manteo continued to pepper the Hurricane keeper and pump balls into the box but their second goal would come from the spot. It began with center-back, Bryson Casey, making a run out of the back, dribbling past a few mid-fielders before playing a ball wide to Hernandez on the run. Hernandez then played it right back into the center of the box for Zafra. Zafra took two touches on the ball towards goal looking for room to get his shot off as he was pressed hard from the side. Just as Zafra shot, he was taken down in the box by the defender. His shot was just wide but the penalty was awarded. Landon Taylor opted to take the penalty kick and placed it low and hard. The assistant referee deemed their was encroachment and Taylor would have to take the penalty again. He had no trouble making the second one count as well to make it 2-0.
Minutes later, Manteo was awarded a corner kick. Hernandez took the kick and found Taylor on a near post run. Taylor attacked the ball and bodied it into the back of the net. The half would end with Manteo leading by a score of 3-0. Manteo had also secured 62% of the possession during the first half.
Hatteras continued to play hard and physical in the second half and Manteo continued to pass the ball well, creating numerous chances. Early on, Hernandez had a 40 yard shot on target off a free-kick and Yeifer Perez later hit a smashing strike bound for the back of the net only to be unknowingly blocked by a defender on the goal-line. That deflection lead to another corner kick of which Taylor would cap off his hat-trick. The ball was knocked down in the box after the ball was sent in and Taylor tapped in to make the scoreline 4-0.
Manteo subbed often throughout the game and shifted their midfielders through different positions to force the opposing defenders to remain unfamiliar with specific players.
Manteo right-back, Yeifer Perez, would cap off the score line off a deep free-kick, placed about 35 yards out. Perez played a high, lofty ball on target. The keeper was slightly off his line, and elevated to save it, but the ball squeezed just between the crossbar and the keepers fingers.
The game would end with a 5-nil Manteo victory. Manteo had 65% of the game’s possession, 12 corner kicks, 31 shots and 13 shots on target.
Coach Cleaver stated after the game, “I was really pleased with our performance tonight. It was the first game this season we had our entire roster available to play and we played as a team. We moved the ball extremely well. Hatteras played hard the entire game and did not make things easy for us. It was great to see us back playing Manteo soccer after we seemed to take the night off in the previous game against Gates.”
Manteo now has a 5-1 record.