On Monday, September 13th, your Manteo Redskins traveled into the town of Edenton to take on the John A. Holmes Aces for their third conference fixture of the season. The Redskins verse the Aces is always expected to be a lively affair. In the previous season, Manteo came out on top at home with a comfortable 3-0 victory but they struggled on the road at Edenton’s new playing field in Tyner (the normal playing field was under water for much of the winter season), and walked away with a 1-1 tie. The Aces seemed to enjoy their small success on their tiny field in Tyner and have opted to shrink their normal playing field to the smallest possible legal size. This tactic alone kept the game interesting throughout the evening.
As the game kicked off, Manteo was quick to get on the ball and unsurprisingly, the Aces set up in defensive structure, sitting back and eliminating the attacking space of the Redskins. The game was a bit ugly in the first five minutes as Manteo struggled to find quality first touches in the tight space.
Manteo began to settle in the following ten minute period, connecting more passes, and finding better passing windows with off-the ball movement. They earned a couple shots at goal and several crosses but had no end product to show for their dominance on the ball as of yet.
When the Aces dispossessed the Redskins, all they had in mind was a long clear to try and play their lone striker into space and behind the Manteo high-line. Clears, goal-kicks, and punts were really their only manner of getting the ball out of their defensive end.
In the 14th minute of the first half, Manteo’s Oscar Rivera, put the first clean strike on target and gave the goalkeeper a bit of work to do. It began with a nice bit of hold-up play from the Manteo striker, Amyas Kenyon, as he received the ball in the half-space, before dropping it back to his central attacking midfielder, Dylan Jones. Kenyon spun into a forward diagonal run in which Jones looked to slot him through the backline. Kenyon and Trent Hayman made similar runs into the gap, bringing three defenders them. Hayman was able to win the ball back, and play back to Jones. Jones quickly played square to Rivera just outside the 18-yard box. Rivera beat his defender and cut it back to his favored foot before smashing it towards goal. The blistering shot was parried wide by the diving goalie. Kenyon looked to pounce on the rebound but was ruled off-side by the assistant referee.
Manteo continued to dominate the ball and pressure the Ace’s defense. They registered two more shots on target in the following two minutes of play but could still not find their finishing touch.
In the twenty sixth minute of the first half, the Aces took a goal-kick. Damian Rivera won the ball with a forceful header along the midline, finding the feet of Hayman in front. Hayman laid the ball off to Jones on the overlap but with a bit of bounce on the ball, it was difficult for Jones to control and he was disposed by the opposing defender. The defensive midfielder looked to dribble out of trouble up the middle. Hayman chased him down, pressed a strong shoulder into his body, and won the ball back. Hayman turned and dribbled up the middle of the pitch while gaining little resistance. With a bit of space up the middle, Hayman had a crack from thirty-yards out. He drove the ball low and with a fierce dip on the ball. The ball dipped just prior to reaching the keeper, hit the ground and laced the back of the net to give Manteo a much deserved 1-0 lead.
Manteo continued to press the issue in the first half, offering up several near-misses on shots and headers from corner kicks or long throw-ins. Edenton held on strong to enter half-time down by only one goal.
In the second half, neither team switched up their tactics. Manteo continued to send numbers in their attack by either allowing their central defensive midfielders to make deep runs, or by using their fullbacks to support the width in the attack. Edenton hunkered down in the back hoping for a lucky break up top but Manteo’s backline was even better in the second half.
Eddie Turberville and Brian Estrada-Tovar dominated in the air any time Edenton looked to play over the top of their backline. They were resolute to not let anything by. On the flanks, Alex Tovar and Irving Calderon Chavarria were physical in their play, and highly active to keep Manteo in possession of the ball. Manteo’s goalkeeper, Cody Weaver, was quite bored throughout the evening, having no shots to deal with. However, Weaver did a great job of keeping himself engaged in the game by staying high and easily collecting any long balls that found his 18-yard box.
Manteo found more composure on the ball through large parts of the second half as they were able to knock the ball around the backline with greater patience in the build up to their attack. They were also looking to draw Edenton out of their shell a bit more, but the Aces were unwilling to budge.
In the end, Manteo took the 1-0 victory on the road.
Coach Cleaver stated after the game, “A win is a win, and I’ll take a 1-0 victory any day. It certainly was an interesting game though. It was always ours to win and we did just enough to do so. We created plenty of scoring opportunities for ourselves, but it just was not our night in terms of finishing. We certainly did not play our best overall game but we are ready to move on to the next conference opponent.”
Trent Hayman: 1 goal
|Pass Success Rate||62%||31%|