After a missed chance on a breakaway, there is nothing a soccer player wants more than a second crack at the same scenario. Matt Thomas got just that on Wednesday night.
Thomas’ repeat chance at a second-half 1-v-1, started by a through ball from Michael Montalvo, with Athens Drive goalkeeper Peyton Elder ended with him slotting in the goal that sealed a 2-0 Catamounts win.
“You can’t let the first one get to you. The keeper made a good save. I’m not unhappy with the effort I made. I put it on frame and did all I could do, he did what he could do,” Thomas said. “You can’t get down on yourself, just put it in the back of the net.”
The two goals – the first coming off a corner kick as Benjamin Rouse found Trevor Thomas at the back post for a 37th-minute score – were a nice change for Panther Creek (6-4, 4-3), which had not scored in its last three contests.
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“When you don’t score in three games, two goals feels like 20,” Panther Creek coach David Grant said. “They broke us out of a little bit of a funk there.”
As you might expect when both teams entered the match allowing 1.5 goals or less per game, neither team had much success attacking direct.
“If you don’t score goals you’ve got to be that much more defensive-minded and you’ve got to be that much better defensively,” Grant said. “The defending side of it hasn’t been a problem for us.”
Athens Drive (6-7-1, 2-5) had two goals disallowed in the last 11 minutes – one called back for offsides in the box during a scrum, and the other was a foul on the goalkeeper.
The Jaguars hit the post during the match and also had two near-chances that were batted away in a last-ditch effort from Panther Creek goalkeeper Ameen Nader.
“I think we controlled the first half and I guess the main difference in the game was we didn’t take our chances,” Athens Drive coach Uriah Bentick said. “It just wasn’t good enough in terms of our finishing tonight.”
It was a hard lesson for Athens, which finds itself at the bottom of the SWAC standings seven games through a 14-game conference schedule.
Panther Creek’s win puts the team third for now. A loss would’ve sent it to sixth.
“It’s been crazy. It’s been nothing like last year,” Thomas said. “Anything could happen.”