Redskins Ride Past Red Devils

On Thursday, November 4th, your Manteo Redskins hosted the Red Springs Red Devils in the second round of the state playoffs. It was a wet and windy affair as constant rain fell during the entire warm-up period and the first half. Despite the unpleasant conditions, the home side still boasted an impressive crowd as the community came out to support the Redskins, no matter the conditions.

The game was a tale of two halves. When the game kicked off, the Redskins were dialed into their pressing and passing game. They got on the ball early on and were able to connect passes through the midfield by keeping their shape tight and their passes simple. Red Springs was unable to get the ball out of their own half in the first five minutes and Manteo earned a shot on target just three minutes into the game.

The Red Devils began to settle in a bit more as time progressed and they saw a few limited attacking opportunities materialize. Ten minutes into the game, they worked the ball down their left flank before their lead scorer, #10, dribbled into the side of the 18-yard box and fired off a left-footed shot. The shot was always curling away from goal, but Manteo goal keeper, Cody Weaver, was forced to make a quick diving save to parry the ball wide and out of danger.

Shortly after Red Springs first attempt on goal, Manteo was back on the attack, one which ended as a goal-kick for Red Springs. The defender launched the goal-kick to the midline, where Manteo center-back, Brian Estrada-Tovar, rose up to head the ball forward into Manteo’s attacking third. The ball was collected by Oscar Rivera in the left slot. Rivera dribbled the ball inward, collecting lots of attention as defenders circled in around him. Rivera played a diagonal pass forward to Trent Hayman as he came central to create the passing window. As Hayman collected, striker Amyas Kenyon, made a diagonal run out of the middle, into the right slot, dragging the center-back with him. Hayman played Kenyon in behind the line, leading him into the 18-yard box. Kenyon took a collecting touch, angling away from goal. His defender stood off him, giving him space in the box, seemingly afraid to foul the attacker in the box. It was all the space Kenyon needed. He wrapped his right foot around the ball and scooped it up and over the goalie’s extended hand, dropping the ball into the far-post side-netting. The home side joyfully celebrated the early 1-0 lead.

Kenyon almost made it a brace just four minutes after his first goal. Hayman took a quick throw-in, leading Kenyon into the 18-yard box. Kenyon flicked the ball on with his head towards goal, catching the defenders and keeper off guard. The ball sailed just wide of the near post.

The Redskins stayed on the front foot throughout the first half. They saw the better run of play overall and more compelling chances going forward, but would take their 1-0 lead into the halftime break.

The second half got underway poorly for the Redskins. In the first minute of play, Manteo’s right-back, Alex Tovar, went up to challenge for a 50/50 ball in the air. Tovar came in aggressively and won the ball first, but also made contact with the other player’s head, and was given a yellow card for it. Manteo then had to move midfielder, Damian Rivera, back into Tovar’s position.

The Red Devil’s came out swinging and knew they needed to equalize. They switched their formation up a bit, pushing an extra player off their backline and into their midfield. All of the sudden, Red Springs had numerical superiority in the midfield and were dominating the ball, pushing the Redskins back into a defensive shell. While the Red Devil’s had numbers to go forward, they left themselves vulnerable at the back on counter-attacks. Manteo seemed to be patiently waiting for the right moment to strike and double their lead.

Manteo’s backline did a tremendous job of keeping the Red Devil’s in front of them and not allowing them to penetrate their line. This forced most all of their shots to be from distance, and Weaver was always up for the task.

Midway through the second half, Manteo had been defending for their lives and waiting patiently for the right counterattack. A Red Devil’s throw-in was intercepted on the right flank in Manteo’s defensive third. Hayman was the interceptor and took off with the ball on a dribble up the middle of the pitch. After pushing high up the pitch, the Red Devil’s defense consisted only of three players and Manteo was off to the races. As Hayman dribbled past the midline, drawing the attention of the backline, Ivey Midgett was making a run forward through the slot. Hayman slipped a pass behind the line to Midgett just before he was taken out with a sliding tackle. The ball played Midgett into the box with a one on one verse the keeper. Midgett tried to slip it past the keeper but the goalie was there with a kick-save.

While the chance was denied, it was a revitalizing moment for the Redskins. They knew they needed one more goal, and they knew to be patient and try and catch the defense out of position.

Ten minutes later, Manteo earned their precious second goal. A Manteo throw-in was taken on the left flank. The ball was thrown centrally and Kenyon fought for it with a defender. The Red Devil defense had all shifted over to defend the flank. The ball was deflected wide to the right flank and fell right to the feet of Hayman, who had been patiently holding width. Hayman took a collecting touch forward before unleashing a rocket of a shot bound for the back of the net. The ball barely got off the ground and was driven to the far-post side netting. The timely strike gave Manteo a 2-0 lead and a bit of breathing room.

With time winding down, the Red Devil’s were not about to give up. They continued to press the issue, throwing numbers forward on the attack. Time after time, Manteo’s defense stood strong.

With six minutes remaining in the game, the Red Devil’s attacked down their left flank. The winger worked the ball down along the end line before driving a low cross to the front post of the goal. Manteo’s center-back was well positioned on the front post and made an effort to clear the cross. In an unlucky moment, the cross deflected off the center-back’s foot in the wrong direction and beat Weaver to his near post from close range. The own goal cut Manteo’s lead in half, and the final six minutes remained tense.

Manteo looked to manage the game in the final minutes, clearing their lines and looking to drive the ball to their attacking corner flags to watch precious seconds tick off the game clock. The game clock struck 0:00 and Manteo earned a hard-fought second-round win.

Coach Cleaver stated after the game, “I’m really proud of our effort from the first second to the last second of the game. We played a completed game in terms of effort. In the first half, we were able to play our style of play and saw success. In the second half, we knew of their tendency to go to three at the back and attack with numbers, so we were prepared to defend and play counter-attacking soccer. We had to suffer in the second half, but overall, we did well defending and survived. Both of our goals were absolute class.”

Game Stats:

Trent Hayman: 1 goal, 1 assist

Amyas Kenyon: 1 goal

Team Stats

Possession %41.0%59.0%
Attacking Transitions3637
Free Kicks615
Successful Passes95155
Pass Success Rate69%70%

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