On Wednesday, September 8th, your Manteo Redskins hosted the Currituck Knights for their first home game of the season. The Redskins and Knights faced off in the previous week for the conference opening game, in which Manteo came away with a hard fought 2-0 victory on the road. The Redskins were hoping to start a win streak in a more convincing fashion.
The game kicked off to see Manteo take early control of possession, however, the Knights were able to disposess the Redskins and earn an attacking transition that led to a Manteo goal-kick. Brian Estrada-Tovar took the kick for the Redskins and launched it 60 yards down the field, sailing over the backline of the Knights that had set up around the midline. Trent Hayman read the kick perfectly and spun his marker to chase the ball down the right flank. Hayman used his chest to knock the bouncing ball down to his feet and took a couple dribbles into the corner of the 18-yard box. Hayman kept his defender at bay, cut inside and then played a quick ball on the ground to the top of the six-yard box to the feet of striker, Amyas Kenyon. Kenyon struck the ball with his first touch and placed it in the top right corner for Manteo’s first goal of the game. The goal came with less than two minutes run off the clock and gave Manteo all the confidence going forward.
The Redskins were efficient with their short passing game and confident enough on the ball to knock it around the back when necessary to draw the Knights forward up the pitch to create more attacking space going forward. Manteo was essentially controlling the game while Currituck were struggling to get anything going forward into their final attacking third.
Ten minutes into the first half, the Knights earned their first shot on goal as their striker turned the corner on his defender atop the 18-yard box, and fired off a near post rocket. Goalkeeper, Cody Weaver, was up for the task with a quick power dive to get two hands on the ball and parry it out of bounds before it could find the top corner.
Currituck saw the strike on target as an opportunity to try and gain some momentum and confidence going forward. A minute later, they were pushing bodies forward in their attack and worked the ball down around the 18-yard box again. However, the Manteo defense would not be broken down this time, and right-back, Alex Tovar, would clear the ball forward, just shy of the midline. The ball fell to the right-back of the Knights but Kenyon pressed his first touch immediately and picked his pocket. Kenyon took a dribbling touch away from the defender, and then continued to cut inside to the midline circle as he beat a second on-coming defender. Kenyon picked his head up to find Hayman making a sprinting right side run from deep in the midfield to get in behind the highline of the Knights. Hayman was being closely marked as he flew down the flank but Kenyon played a beautiful and perfectly weighted pass that lobbed over the backline, and fell directly to Hayman’s feet while in full stride. Hayman took one touch into the box, and confidently finished the ball into the far post side-netting with his second touch before the goalkeeper could ever react.
With a goal and assist to his name already, Kenyon was just getting started. Twenty two minutes remained on the clock in the first half when Hayman took a quick throw-in to lead Kenyon to goal. As the ball bounced in front of him, Kenyon hit the ball on the half-volley. The ball dipped over the extended hand of the goalkeeper and struck the bottom of the crossbar. The ball bounced down near the goal-line and the keeper was able to punch the ball away out of danger.
One minute later, Kenyon would fine tune his finishing touch to tuck another one away for the Redskins. The Knight’s goalkeeper took a goal-kick that was resoundingly headed forward by Manteo’s Spencer James. James’ header found the feet of Kenyon. He turned to face up the center-back, touched the ball around his presser, and fired off a shot from 25 yards out. The ball only had eyes for the far-post top corner and the goalie did not stand a chance to even get a touch on the ball. The strike gave the Redskins an early 3-0 lead with still 20 minutes left to play in the first half.
Part of Manteo’s first half dominance was their effort to win 50/50 balls in the air from goal-kicks and punts. They were challenging every single ball, and winning the large majority of them to give themselves another possession and often times, another shot at goal.
With eleven minutes remaining in the first half, Manteo earned a throw-in deep in their attacking third. Eddie Turberville launched a long throw into a crowded six-yard box. A sea of bodies all rose up for the ball and it was deflected backwards to the back-post. Grey Clark was well positioned on the backside and had been patiently waiting for the ball to make its way into his space. Clark quickly got to the bouncing ball first and hit home a smashing side-volley to give Manteo a 4-0 lead to take into the half.
Manteo picked up right where they left off in the first half, continuing to dominate the ball run of play with simple and effective short combination passing to work the ball down into dangerous positions in their final third. Currituck’s only real attacking threats came from being awarded free-kicks from fouls. With just six minutes run off the second half clock, Currituck earned a free-kick from 25 yards out. The kick-taker blasted the ball into the Manteo wall and the ball took a looping deflection back towards the goal. Manteo’s goalkeeper, Jonathan Hernandez, scrambled backwards before leaping back to get just enough of a touch on it to knock it onto the crossbar. The ball deflected into the box and was cleared out by Manteo’s defense.
Eleven minutes into the second half, Kenyon cemented his first varsity hat-trick. Estrada-Tovar won a bouncing 50/50 ball up the middle and knocked it towards the top of the box. The initial Currituck defender misplayed the bouncing ball letting it run to Kenyon and the center-back. Kenyon took a touch to turn by his defender and get the ball into the 18-yard box. The keeper came sprinting out and Kenyon quickly passed the ball into the back of the net before the goalie could dive on the ball. The goal gave Manteo a comfortable 5-0 lead.
Midway through the second half, Manteo put it all together for a truly beautiful team goal. Possession began when Dylan Jones won the ball in the midfield and dropped it back to Estrada-Tovar on the backline. Estrada-Tovar switched the ball along the backline to James, now in the left-back position. James used his second touch to quickly find Clark checking to the ball along the left sideline. Clark played quickly inside to midfielder, Justin Ortega-Santos, and looked for the one-two combination down the flank. Ortega Santos opted to find striker, Aiden Braswell, checking into the top corner of the 18-yard box on the left side. Braswell held the ball up and played back into the middle to the feet of Jones. Jones kept the flow by playing a square pass over to Jonah Baum, who was filling into space atop the 18-yard box. Baum took a touch to goal, drawing all the attention of the defenders and faked a shot before playing a reverse pass to Braswell who had made a run all the way across the top of the 18-yard box. The pass was perfectly weighted and slipped Braswell in behind the line. The keeper came out and Braswell sliced it beyond the pressing goalie on his first touch to earn Manteo’s sixth and final goal of the evening.
Coach Cleaver stated after the game, “It was great to see all of the things we have been working on in practice come to fruition today. I enjoyed our style of play, keeping passes short and simple, while having a purpose to each possession. I was also pleased to see us score off our goal-kick set up and long throw-in set up to give us the full understanding as to why we set up the way we do. Overall, this was our best performance of this young season, and I am confident we will only continue to get better and better.”
Amyas Kenyon: 3 goals, 1 assist
Trent Hayman: 1 goal, 1 assist
Aiden Braswell: 1 goal
Grey Clark: 1 goal
Jonah Baum: 1 assist
Spencer James: 1 assist
|Pass Success Rate||59%||54%|