Two strong defensive teams from the Southeast Conference clashed Saturday in Hampton, GA in front of an excited crowd that included a large contingent of Chattahooligans in full voice and an energetic GA Revs supporters group, the Uprising, who are quickly growing locally. The NPSL is new to Hampton and the enthusiasm shown by the away fans gave the local supporters a glimpse of the passion this league brings to the game.
The match started quickly with a chance for the Revs resulting in what the crowd thought was a goal. Before the pass leading to the goal was made, the AR correctly saw the ball was out of bounds prior to the pass. The resulting corner kick was cleared by the Chattanooga defense.
The first half continued with Chattanooga sending attackers in waves and the Revs defense holding strong, frustrating each effort followed by fast counter attacks. Late in the half CFC created multiple opportunities, but for the second straight week, Revs goalkeeper Carson Oakes came up with big saves to keep the Revs in the game.
The second half started much like the first ended, with attacks and counterattacks. The Revs best chance of the game came in the 63rd when they had an opportunity in the box with the CFC goalkeeper out of position after a corner kick, but the ball was cleared again by the stout Chattanooga defense. After that, the game was an all-out attack by CFC. Revs defenders continually won the ball in the air as CFC created one chance after another but were unable to capitalize. Man of the Match Carson Oakes answered CFC with nine saves and aggressive goalkeeper play that disrupted every Chattanooga effort, including in the last minute with Carson throwing his body in front of multiple shots and stopping what looked to be an end of game victory for the visitors.
Following the game, first-year Revs Head Coach Chris Mahaffey talked about the result.
“We came into the game with CFC knowing it was going to be a tough matchup. Our players, led by our keeper, Carson Oakes, competed all 90 minutes with a high level of energy and effort. Throughout the game, both teams created goal scoring opportunities, however, neither team could finish those chances. I thought we had the better of the chances, having a goal called back, as well as, having two balls cleared off the line, as we had already beaten the keeper. Our players are coming together at the right time, and I am looking forward to the upcoming games. I feel confident that we will continue to gain points from the remainder of the season, and make a push for the playoffs.”
Next week both teams will continue to look for their first victory of 2017 as Chattanooga visits Birmingham on Thursday and the Revs host newcomers Asheville City SC, hoping to even the series after losing to them in a 2-1 heartbreaker on opening day.