By Ivor Castle/Southern States SC
A goal in each half both scored late in each period was enough to see the Southern States SC Stars to a third straight conference win and improve to 5-2 on the season. While the win consolidated the Stars second place position in the Gulf Coast Conference, the Tallahassee Battle Lions remained locked at the bottom of the group.
Despite failing to register a win this season so far, the Lions lived up to their battling name during the entire 90+ minutes. Their solid defense was only breached by two powerful headers following corner kicks for the Stars. The timing of those goals coming just minutes from the end of each half proved decisive.
Manuel Ferriol rose to head powerfully past Bosco Pery in the visitors’ goal to open the scoring. Despite having the best of the possession, the Stars were unable to turn opportunities into goal attempts and Bosco had little to do in terms of saves made. Though he was fortunate when Sheldon Green’s crisp shot rebounded from a post directly back into arms before the opening goal.
Hector Grajeda was rarely troubled in the home goal during the first half except for grabbing a few corner kicks into his hands and setting off Stars counterattacks. The Stars took the deserved 1-0 lead into the locker room at the break.
Tallahassee came out fired up in the second half and put the Stars under pressure from long, high balls and some interesting free kicks into the penalty box that looked promising.
The Stars went through a period of misplaced passes and fruitless dribbling as the Battle Lions fought hard to get back into the game. Midway through the half the Stars took back control with some better possession and a more balanced attack.
The visitors remained troublesome with their long balls and free kicks but center back Sam Dadze was confident dealing with most of the threat for his team.
Tallahassee continued to fight hard and to the end but the Stars put the game away when Josef Hefele rose to head home a corner kick from close range and seal the win for Southern States SC.
Tallahassee head coach Josh Bruno remained upbeat despite the loss.
“We created a few chances,” Bruno Said. “It looked like we might be able to steal one, really felt like we had a chance there until they got the second one.”
Bruno also spoke about his team’s next game.
“Looking forward to going to Jacksonville, into a tough environment,” Bruno said. “The results haven’t been coming but the guys are getting better and better each week and each day, so we are looking forward to the next challenge.”
Winning coach Carl Reynolds reflected on the 2-0 victory.
“Defended well but in possession we were poor, didn’t take care of the ball well enough, but a win’s a win, and you have to win when you don’t play very well as well, so that’s the most important thing,” Reynolds said. “It was good to keep a clean sheet. We still haven’t conceded at home. Rode our luck a little bit but sometimes you have to do that if you’re going to win things.”
Photo Credit: 3SMedia