On the first day of October, your Manteo Redskins traveled to the town of Hertford to take on the Perquimans Pirates. The fixture would place together two polar opposites on the season as Perquimans has yet to win a game and Manteo has been rolling. Regardless of their record, the Pirates came out with something to prove and played hard from beginning to end, showing no signs of quitting.
Within the first minute of the game, the Redskins settled into their formational shape and controlled possession on their attacking side of the field. Perquimans’ field is exceptionally wide as compared to most high school fields and Manteo looked to exploit the width, creating overloads on the wings. The plan was to get in behind the backline out wide, cut in, and play balls into the box. The strategy was effective and resulted in numerous goals and 14 corner kicks for Manteo.
Five minutes into the first half, Manteo found themselves on the scoreboard as Erik Hernandez received a ball atop the 18-yard box, and played a clever chip over a defender to the striker, Joe Zafra. The ball sat nicely in the box as Zafra ran on to it and the goalie held tight to his line. Zafra calmly played the ball past the keeper for the first goal of the evening.
Trent Jones Jr only real action between the sticks came when Perquimans attempted a long ball over the Manteo backline. Jones Jr was playing atop his box, came out of the box and played the ball with his feet wide to Manteo’s left-back, William Pendleton.
Hernandez would double the lead minutes later after Noah Goetsch blocked a clearance from a Pirate defender. It fell on the outside left of the 18-yard box. Hernandez collected, danced around three defenders on his way to the center of the box and then finished it in the bottom left corner of the goal as the keeper’s diving attempt fell just short.
Manteo’s third goal on the evening was worth the price of admission alone. Pendleton pushed up in support of an attack and won a poor clearance from the defense. Under pressure from an opposing player, Pendleton laid the ball off to Sam Diaz. Diaz let the ball roll in front of himself into space. He looked up and found his target. On his first touch, Diaz unleashed a clinical strike from 30 yards out that sent the ball knuckling through the air with a hard dip on the final eight yards. The ball blistered the netting in the right-upper ninety corner and the keeper stood in disbelief.
Inspired by Diaz’s strike, midfielder, Landon Taylor, figured he would get in on the scoring action. Taylor received a well-played ball into the box from Hernandez. Taylor made a collecting turn, and let one rip. It was a straight line bullet bound for the top shelf. Again, the keeper was frozen in disbelief.
Up 4-0 in the first half, Manteo was not finished. Hernandez continued to create opportunities for others, and Noah Goetsch was happy to be on the receiving end of one of his many assists. Hernandez drove the ball down the left wing, weaving past two defenders, looked up and found Goetsch making a well-timed run across the top of the box. Hernandez passed the ball across the box and Goetsch calmly one touched the ball into the back of the net. It was beautiful, simple soccer.
The Redskins went into halftime up 5-0. They focused on exploiting the width and playing 2-3 touch passing soccer.
The starting line-up was given ten minutes to start the half. They pinged the ball about the pitch and maximized their time with two quick goals off corner kicks. Both corners were sent in by Hernandez and finished off by Taylor.
A large number of substitutions were made but Manteo continued to dominate the run of play. They continued to pepper the goal with shots but were unlucky in several attempts. Brayan Hernandez was in the attacking midfield position to replace Erik Hernandez and did a good job of creating in the final third. He also took it upon himself to score the final two goals to make it a 9-0 mercy rule victory. The Redskins would leave the field a bit early with another win, and another clean sheet.
Manteo racked up 9 goals off 6 assists, and 32 total shots with 15 shots on target.
Coach Cleaver stated after the game, “This was solid team victory in which everyone got a chance to contribute. Our subs came in and played well, creating nice combination play and great opportunities in the final third. We need to continue to work on executing game specific tactics to our various opponents. It’s all a process and I feel we are at a good point in that process for this point in the season.”