All Square In The End

On Monday, March 8th, your Manteo Redskins traveled up to Tyner to take on the Edenton Aces in a conference rematch game. In the previous fixture, the Redskins bested the Aces by a score of 3-0. Despite a comfortable score line, it was a hard fought, physical game that the Redskins certainly had to earn.

The Aces’ normal soccer field has been deemed unplayable for most of the season due to the unusual amount of precipitation over the past several months. Therefore, the game was set on a new field for the Redskins. It was a short and narrow field that made for limited space and a lack of lush grass made for difficult ground passing on the bumpy earth. Going into the game, you could sense it would be a difficult and contested fixture as these factors helped to even the playing field, taking away from Manteo’s possession based style of play.

Manteo kicked-off the game and proved threatening right away. Justin Ortega-Santos did well to win a midfield ball, and quickly found his counterpart, Oscar Rivera to his left. Rivera was able to spin away from his defender and crank a shot from outside of the 18-yard box. It was a well struck shot with plenty of power that took a sharp bounce in front of the six-yard box, however, it was right at the goalkeeper and he was able to wrap it up comfortably before a hard pressing Andrew Hayman could swoop in for a rebound.

After what looked to be a promising start, the game sunk into a sloppy, fast paced midfield battle, that saw a plethora of throw-ins for both teams. On the narrow pitch, both teams struggled to find the spacing and passing accuracy to keep the ball in play.

In the first half run of play, Edenton threatened with long throw-ins into the box and several corner kicks that they earned, both by sloppy play at the back for Manteo. In return, much of the first half, long throw-ins and corner kicks were Manteo’s main source of offensive opportunities as well. Manteo did not register a threatening attacking shot towards goal until the 27th minute of the first half when a cross was whipped in by Trent Hayman from the rank flank. Noah Goetsch rose high above the crowd in the 18-yard box to connect well with the ball, but his header flicked the ball just past the upper far post.

In the final minutes of the first half, Trent Hayman and Carter Calvio displayed clever combination play through the midfield to set up a shot for Hayman from 30 yards out. Hayman let it fly as he connected well with the laces of his boot, but the ball was always swerving just wide of the post. The teams would go into halftime at a 0-0 stalemate.

This was the first time all season that the Redskins had failed to net a goal during the first half of play. They regrouped for the second half, eager to find the net and take hold of the game.

The second half began with a bit better and control of the game from the Redskins. They were adjusting to the size of the pitch and the physical style of play from the Aces. They began to spend a bit more time on the ball, and kept the ball inbounds. Roughly twelve minutes into the second half, Andrew Hayman, bounced out wide to receive a ball down the left flank. He cut inward and fancied a shot from 35 yards out. His shot sailed over the goal to no avail. The shot would, however, serve as a warm-up shot for what was to come a minute later.

A minute after Hayman’s failed shot attempt from distance, he received the ball in almost the exact same place. He again, cut inward, and let it fly, On this shot, he was able to better wrap his foot around the ball on the strike, giving it a dipping curve that bent the ball around the outstretched goalkeeper and into the back of the net to give the Redskins the lead.

Following the goal, play continued as it had through the second half, with the Redskins in control of game, keeping the ball mostly on their attacking half of the field. Just before the second half twenty minute mask break, the Aces’ goalkeeper took a goal-kick. Goetsch won the initial ball with a forceful header forward, but the Aces’ center-back deflected the ball back towards his left-back. The left back quickly cleared the ball up towards his winger standing on the midline. The winger felt the presence of Manteo’s right-back pressing close to him and he gave a clever touch to flick the ball over his defender. As Manteo center-back, Brian Estrada-Tovar, came over to close on the winger, he was able to flick the ball to his central striker. The striker gave a flick on the ball up and over the boot of Yeifer Perez, and then struck a volley off the bounce. The ball was struck thoroughly and had a solid dip on it. Manteo’s goalkeeper, Cody Weaver, made the initial save, knocking the ball down in front of him. As Weaver, went to ground, the winger that initiated the attack had never stopped running and was there to knock the ball past Weaver before he could get back up and set for a second save. Edenton earned the equalizing goal with twenty minutes left to play in the second half.

Unhappy with the score line, Manteo began to press the issue even more. With fifteen minutes remaining in regulation play, a long throw-in placed in the six-yard box allowed Goetsch to flick the ball on behind him amid a cluster of bodies. Calvio came in on the back post run and looked to knock the ball in on goal off the awkward bounce. The goalkeeper did well to sprint across his line and deny Calvio on the goal line, while knocking Calvio and a defender on top of him. The ball bounced in front of Rivera and another Aces’ defender. They both battled for the ball and knocked it back just wide of the post. Calvio had gotten back up and made one last ditch effort but the goalkeeper was there to deny him again.

Goetsch would earn a quality header on target off a cross sent in by Calvio in the waning minutes of regulation play. Again, the goalkeeper made a fully extended diving save to deny Goetsch on the far post. The second half would end with a 1-1 score and go into two ten minute overtime periods. Normally, a conference game would be settled with a penalty shootout, after two five minute overtime periods. However, under current regulations, penalty shootouts are somehow deemed unsafe in regards to the spread of COVID-19.

The first ten minute overtime came and went. Manteo controlled the run of play, but couldn’t find the target. In the second overtime period, Manteo stepped up their domination of possession as Edenton packed back to avoid a loss. Midway through the period, Andrew Hayman did well to beat several defenders down the right flank before cutting into the 18-yard box. Hayman picked his head up to find his target and looked to loft the ball into the far post side netting, over the goalkeeper. The goalkeeper leapt backwards with his back right hand fully extended, making a brilliant touch on the shot to knock it wide. Calvio tracked the ball down in the corner and squared it back a top the six-yard box to Goetsch, but Goetsch’s attempt sailed over the crossbar.

In the final minute of the game, Eddie Turberville received a drop throw-in from Trent Hayman. Turberville took a collecting touch and then whipped the ball into the box. Andrew Hayman rose above his defenders and flicked a powerful header towards the far post. It was destined to be the game winner but the goalkeeper had one more world-class save left in him. He made yet another fully extended diving save to knock it wide of the far post.

The game would end in a 1-1 tie.

Coach Cleaver stated after the game, “This was probably a result that we deserved. We started poorly and we did not play as hard or physical as the other team. They in a sense, wanted it more than us. That, coupled with poor finishing, left us falling short. I’ll hand it to their goalkeeper as he certainly stood on his head tonight. I hope this is a wake-up call for our guys. There are no days off, no plays off, when you want to achieve the things we want to achieve. We need to be stronger mentally and deal with adversity better. If we find our mental toughness and our finishing boots, then no one will stop us.”

Game stats:

Andrew Hayman: 1 goal

Carter Calvio: 1 assist

Possession %56.0%44.0%
Attacking Transitions6951
Free Kicks811
Successful Passes14746
Pass Success Rate65%44%

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