By 3S Media
For the third time this season the Southern States SC Stars overcame the challenge of the New Orleans Jesters in U-19 pilot action. Although the two previous contests were tight with just a single goal advantage to the Stars in each game, tonight in Hattiesburg, MS, the home team ran out as comfortable 4-0 winners.
For the Jesters it was a poor opening and they found themselves behind three goals in the first 15 minutes. In the fifth minute Noah Roblin’s cross into the penalty area was headed on by Michael Colburn and the Jesters failed to clear, allowing Atila Sepkin to net from 15 yards out.
Two minutes later, from a move started inside their own half, Andre Deas cut inside from the left and into the penalty box. This forced the Jesters keeper into a fine one-handed save, diving down low as the ball headed toward the corner of the goal. It was a short reprieve as Casey Heustess followed up to tuck the rebound into the empty net to make it 2-0.
Liam Bennett was the player pulling the strings for the Stars with some clever movement and passing and from another of his set-ups Sepkin was brought down in the box and the referee had no hesitation in pointing to the penalty spot. It was Deas who went to the spot and drove the ball into the corner of the goal to the keeper’s right for 3-0. There were 13 minutes on the clock and there were already three goals.
The fear for the visitors now would be that the Stars would continue in this form and the score could really get away from them. To their credit, the Jesters were able to pull themselves together and tightened up as the half continued. While the Stars still dominated possession, the chances in the final third were not as frequent or as clear cut.
The second half lacked the early drama of the first half though it was still the Stars dominating play. The Jesters were having trouble finding any attacking periods of note, being restricted to a few breakaways but with 15-year-old Ethan Crump in the Stars goal still untroubled. On the defensive side of the ball the Jesters worked hard to shut down the prolific Stars offense with better success than in the first period.
As the game entered its final 20 minutes, Bennett was still the Stars player connecting the defense to offense and probing the visiting defense with astute passes. The Stars were looking likely to score again as the Jesters began to tire and the goal arrived in the 73rd minute. A foul on Nico Bravo Martinez allowed Sepkin to send a high free kick into the Jesters penalty area and it was Bennett who sneaked beyond everyone to head home from close range for 4-0.
The Jesters dug in again and as the Stars looked to close out the game with more goals, New Orleans worked hard to stem the tide and the Stars settled for a nonetheless comprehensive victory that takes them to 5-1 on the season. The Jesters drop to 1-4.
Stars head coach Carl Reynolds discussed the lead and keeping the players focused throughout.
“Yeh, we talked about that at halftime,” Reynolds said. “To keep playing with our heads and keep playing the way we wanted to. That old cliché of its still nil, nil. The boys did it (focused) really, really well. We’re really pleased tonight, now it’s about resting up and going again on Monday.”
Sepkin was pleased with his team’s performance.
“I thought it went really well from start to finish,” Sepkin said. “We never let up. We were aggressive from the start and we really didn’t give them any chances or opportunities to score really. Every game I feel I’m getting more comfortable here. It’s been an amazing experience.”
Jesters head coach Igor Siscov shared his thoughts on the match.
“What can I say about that?” Siscov said. “Unfortunately we struggled with missing players injured and some carrying injury. We had to deal with it but unfortunately the first half we were sloppy and conceded three goals. Second half I told them look, we have problems, I know, but it doesn’t give us a right to play like that. We cannot allow them (the Stars) to play like that again and I thought the boys reacted well in the second half and we were challenging and we did better, but injuries were our problem.”
Photo Credit: 3S Media