On Monday, October 18th, your Manteo Redskins traveled up to Elizabeth City to take on the Pasquotank Panthers in the second leg of conference play. In their previous fixture at Manteo, the Redskins bested the Panthers by a score of 3-0, but felt they should of done better as they struggle to convert more of the plethora of shots they earned.
It was a classic fall evening with the sun shinning and a crisp in the air. A perfect day for soccer and for a Manteo Redskins win. Manteo started the game strong by pressing aggressively high up the pitch when Pasquotank had the ball. This led to a shot on target in the first 20 seconds of play by Aidan Braswell after he intercepted a pass along their backline. The Panthers were flustered early on as it was difficult for them to string together consecutive passes. When the Panthers were able to work the ball down into their attacking third, the Redskin defense stepped hard to the ball and used physical play to quickly dispossess the opponent.
In the fifth minute of play, Manteo put one up on the scoreboard. Cristian De Leon Ventura got things going down the right flank before laying the ball off to an overlapping Dylan Jones out of the middle third. Jones quickly played striker, Ivey Midgett, through the back line in the right slot. Midgett picked his head up as he received the ball and spotted Braswell making a run to the center of the six-yard box. Midgett squared the ball over to Braswell. Braswell’s run had beaten his defender and he calmly tapped the ball into the net past the out of position goalie.
Manteo stayed dominate on the ball through the first half. They were the more aggressive team to win 50/50 balls, and used quick purposefully passing to get downhill to earn crosses into the box or shots. Pasquotank earned their first and only shot of the game in the 17th minute of play after their center midfielder brought the ball down from a throw-in. He dribbled laterally across the box before getting off a low shot with his left foot. It was straight to Manteo goal-keeper, Cody Weaver, who covered it up with ease.
Two minutes later, Manteo double their lead. Damian Rivera dispossessed the Panthers along the midline before playing it back to his center-back, Brian Estrada-Tovar. Tovar got the ball moving forward down the right flank by finding Amyas Kenyon. Kenyon used his second touch to quickly moved the ball back inside to Jones. Jones looked to play Braswell through the backline. Braswell won the ball but was unable to penetrate the line and opted to play back to a supporting Damian Rivera. Rivera quickly switched the point of attack by bouncing the ball outside to Oscar Rivera. Oscar Rivera danced around the ball to beat the fullback and whipped in a cross with his left foot. Jones had made a run into the box and rose up to head the ball towards goal. It was a looping header that sailed up and over the extended hand of the goalie and dropped into the corner of the goal.
Manteo began to pepper the Panther’s goal with crushing shots on target from Oscar Rivera and Alonzo Hernandez-Torres. It was in the twenty eighth minute of play that Manteo earned their third goal. Damian Rivera slipped Braswell through the backline down the right flank. Braswell used his pace to turn the corner and play a low cross into the box. A determined Spencer James used his shoulder to out-position the center-back in the box and he tapped the ball past a diving goal keeper.
Manteo entered the half with a commanding 3-0 lead and complete control of the game.
The Redskins did not take their foot off the gas in the second half. They seemed hungry for more goals and got things rolling again early in the second half. Just four minutes in to the half, Braswell used his body to shield his defender from a bouncing ball in the midfield. He brought the ball down and beat the next two defenders on a diagonal dribble towards the right side before slipping a pass through the backline slot. Kenyon made a perfectly timed run from the right flank, now angling inward to meet the ball. He took a collecting touch forward before unleashing a powerful strike that ripped through the finger tips of the goalie, hit off the bottom of the crossbar, and bounced in behind the goal-line.
Ten minutes later, Manteo took a throw-in from their right flank. Midgett launched the ball deep into the 18-yard box. It was flicked back across the goal. De Leon Ventura flicked the ball on one more time over his defender. Oscar Rivera was holding space on the far post. He let the ball come down and off the bounce he struck a side-footed half-volley back across the goal. The shot found the back-post side netting to give Manteo a 5-0 lead with 25 minutes remaining in the game.
Oscar Rivera was finding his attacking form and eager for more while he was still on the pitch. Five minutes after his first goal of the game, he bagged his second. He had two defenders draped all over him as he marched the ball down the left flank but he was relentless in his pursuit for goal. With the defenders surrounding him as he made his way into the corner of the 18-yard box, Rivera surprised the goalie with a quick shot. The ball still under his feet and he seemingly had no space to shoot past the defender but the shot was away and again found the far-post side-netting.
The Redskins were in complete control of the game now and heavy rotations came through their line-up. Manteo continued to pressure the Panther’s defense. James had a header striker the crossbar off a beautiful cross sent in my Luis Flores. Jack Gregory also struck the woodwork late in the game after dancing through the box to get his shot off. In the end, Manteo would take the 6-0 victory setting up a conference showdown for their next fixture against Northeastern.
Coach Cleaver stated after the game, ” I was really pleased with how focused and determined we came out to play today. More so, we did not relent throughout the entire game. This is a sign of maturity and growth for us as we have let off in the past. We are finding a strong rotation of players to keep their legs fresh and energy levels high and everyone is contributing.”
Aidan Braswell: 1 goal, 2 assists
Dylan Jones: 1 goal
Spencer James: 1 goal
Amyas Kenyon: 1 goal
Oscar Rivera: 2 goals, 1 assist
Ivey Midgett: 1 assist
Cristian De Leon Ventura: 1 assist
|Pass Success Rate||68%||57%|