By Pensacola FC
Pensacola FC made it back-to-back home wins following a gutsy second-half display against conference leaders Southern States SC to collect the win at Ashton Brosnaham Stadium.
In a game that saw Pensacola’s local homegrown talent shine, it was Mikey Lightbourne who popped up late in the box to collect the game-winner in the 62nd minute. There was some nice work from Dillon Gallet and a little flick by Jayce Dotson to put the ball into Lightbourne’s path.
The first half saw some good possession from the visiting team whose squad featured many ex- professional players. Pensacola FC had some nice defensive moments to break up the play but couldn’t manage the finishing touch on their counterattacks. Both teams headed into the break scoreless, with the game set for a big second half that didn’t disappoint.
Pensacola struck first in the 62nd minute after a through ball from Lightbourne released Gallet on the left hand side. His cross was met at the near post by Dotson’s flick which redirected the ball into the path of Lightbourne, who was surging into the box. He calmly slotted the ball past the Stars keeper and defenders to put the home team up 1-0.
In the 76th minute, Dotson picked up his second yellow following a late slide tackle on a Stars defender, leaving Pensacola to see out the game down a man and shifting the momentum to the visitors. Some immediate pressure ended up with Pensacola’s Sean Reynolds bringing down a Stars forward in the box in the 78th minute and the referee pointed to the spot. Danny Reynolds stepped up to take the kick but was unable to convert after his shot clipped off the crossbar. The remainder of the game turned into a physical affair with both teams conceding free kicks all over the field.
A valiant effort from the whole team protected the lead and secured the points for the home side following some intense pressure from Southern Stars to tie the game. The two teams play each other again next week in Hattiesburg, and that promises to be another intense encounter.
Photo Credit: Jay Garcia and Amir Rabbini