Manteo Shuts Out the Aces

On Wednesday, February 17th, your Manteo Redskins hosted the Edenton Aces for their first conference match up of the two. The sunny warmth of the day prior had quickly disappeared, allowing for yet another February frigid fixture. Despite the low temperature, both teams were simply happy to play a game. Most fields in Northeastern North Carolina were deemed unplayable throughout the week after another round of rain fell all weekend.

The game kicked off at a fast pace and with spirited shouts and instruction from both sides. Edenton quickly rallied to set up defensive low blocks as Manteo positioned in their attacking half to maintain possession of the ball and earn a look at goal. The Aces clogged the middle of the pitch in front of the 18-yard box, often defending with eight players, and sometimes even nine. Finding no space up the gut, the Redskins looked to create width with their wingers and fullbacks, win the one on one’s down the flank, and play dangerous balls into the box.

The Redskins dominated the ball throughout the half, and played a plethora of balls into the box, but struggled to cleanly get on the end of the crosses. Manteo utilized overlapping fullbacks for service, drop balls to fullbacks for service, and diagonal runs out wide from strikers and midfielders to serve crosses into the box. However, the Aces were up to the task of often getting the first touch on aerial balls, knocking them out of bounds.

Through the entire first half, Edenton conceded 14 corner kicks to the Redskins, but Manteo was unable to net a goal off any of the set pieces. Oscar Rivera gave the Redskins their first quality shot on target midway through the first half. Center-back, Yeifer Perez, won a punt from the Ace’s goalkeeper with his head, sending it forward to winger, Trent Hayman. Hayman looked to play the bouncing ball on his first touch up and over a recovering backline, for his brother, Andrew Hayman, looking to get in behind the line. The Ace’s right-back was able to knock it away from Hayman, sending the ball back in front of the line. The ball feel kindly into the path of Rivera. Rivera struck the ball first time on his run up from 25 yards out. It was an absolute rocket of a shot that left the goalkeeper in self defense mode as the ball blistered straight towards his face. In an effort the goalkeeper may not know much about, his instinctual reaction did well to knock the ball just over the bar and out for a corner kick.

With 18 minutes left on the first half clock, Edenton was able to enjoy a brief spell on the ball and pushed their formation into their attacking half. Manteo’s defense was able to calmly handle the attack, and Alex Tovar played a quick counter attacking long ball over the top for Andrew Hayman to run onto. Hayman used his strength to hold off his defender and win the ball going forward down the right flank. Hayman’s speed on the ball allowed him a forty yard dribble drive into the 18-yard box as he looked to fire off a shot from the corner of the six-yard box. An unlucky hop of the ball allowed him to get under it, and send it over the bar, much to the delight of a goalkeeper on his heels.

With five minutes remaining on the first half clock, it was Hayman that would finally earn a goal for the Redskins. The play begin with Rivera driving a low switch from the left midfield flank into the middle of the pitch, ten yards outside the 18-yard box. The ball found the feet of Dylan Jones, occupying the seven position at the moment. Jones took his first touch well, danced around his initial defender with a touch towards goal and drew the attention of a second backline defender. As the backline defender stepped up to Jones, he played a well-weight slip pass between the two defenders to find the feet of Hayman on a well timed run into the box. Hayman took one touch forward and then fired off a low shot back across the goal from the top corner of the six-yard box. The goalkeeper’s extended leg could not get a touch on the shot as it found the back of the net to give the Redskins a 1-0 lead.

Less than a minute later, the Redskins doubled their lead with a goal from Oscar Rivera. A ball in from a Redskin throw-in was cleared out by the Aces. Tovar stepped up from the backline to serve the ball back into the box. It was a high, lofty ball in that the goalkeeper got underneath. As the goalkeeper went to catch the ball, Aldo Herrera, challenged the ball in the air, distracting the goalkeeper enough to force him to mishandle the ball. The goalkeeper dropped the ball and it rolled out nicely for Rivera. Rivera had been eyeing the play, waiting for an opportunity. When the opportunity came, he banged the ball into the back of the net to make it 2-0 in favor of the Redskins.

Just as the Redskins finished the first half strong, they looked to start the second half in the same fashion. Just minutes into the second half, Hayman earned his brace on the day with a world class finish. Perez began the attack by dribbling forward through the center to draw defenders inside, and then played a diagonal ball outside on the left wing to Herrera. Herrera stood his defender up, and then drove past him down the line. Herrera played a lovely cross into the box along the penalty spot. As the cross was played, Hayman took a couple steps towards the ball and then set his stance, opened his hips up towards goal, and swung his right foot around onto the ball in midair. Hayman’s volley quickly sent the ball into the near post side netting before the goalkeeper could even react. The Redskins were now firmly in control of the game with a 3-0 lead.

Throughout the rest of the second half, Manteo continued to dominate the run of play earning more shots on target from Goetsch, Rivera, A. Hayman, and T. Hayman. The strong Manteo defense negated any real looks at goal for Edenton, leaving Manteo goalkeeper, Cody Weaver, with little to do in the second half. Despite strong attacking play, the Redskins failed to net any more goals on the evening. The game concluded with a 3-0 win for the Redskins.

Coach Cleaver stated after the game, “Edenton was up for the game as they always are with us. They made things difficult for us and I’m happy for that. We need to find our finishing boots and learn to score in different ways. It was a game we were in control of and one I always felt we were going to win, and in the end we did. What I am most pleased with is another clean sheet, making four in a row. I’d love to see the run of clean sheets continue.”

Game stats:

Andrew Hayman: 2 goals.

Oscar Rivera: 1 goal

Dylan Jones: 1 assist.

Aldo Herrera: 1 assist.

Possession %55.9%44.1%
Attacking Transitions4936
Free Kicks511
Successful Passes14848
Pass Success Rate58%37%

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