Pensacola FC Defeats Florida Roots FC 4-1

By Pensacola FC

Pensacola FC hosted Florida Roots FC in a key Gulf Coast Conference encounter.  The visitors from Panama City, Florida were seeking their first points of the season after losses in their previous two encounters.  For the Pelicans, they were looking to build off a good showing from their season opener.  They were determined to walk away with all three points and record their first win of the season.

The bad weather on the Gulf Coast throughout the afternoon made it seem like the game might be affected.  However, the weather cleared up as game time approached. This allowed the game to go ahead at the scheduled 7:00 pm kickoff time.  The fans would be treated to an exciting affair with both teams eager to get the game going.

The Pelicans went on the attack straight from kickoff and earned their first corner inside the first minute.  From the ensuing kick taken by Jabari Hylton, the ball fell to the feet of Okan Erkocu.  He was able to unleash a volley that looked to be going in, but was cleared by the Roots defense.

Florida Roots had a chance to take an early lead in the 7th minute when Philipp Harder beat Aaron Boateng to a cross that was played in from the left side.  Harder saw his shot hit the post from six yards out with Gabriel Mendoza Negrin beaten in the Pensacola goal. 

That was a wake-up call for the Pelicans, as they had never lost a game against the Roots.  The Pelicans started maintaining full control of the game, as their possession was too much for the Roots.  However, they were not going to make it easy for Pensacola to get on the score sheet. 

Pensacola was awarded a penalty kick in the 19th minute for a handball against the Roots.  Hylton stepped up to see if he can add to his two-goal tally from the previous game.  His kick was saved by Joshua Burton, and he managed to put the rebound over the bar from four yards out. 

That did not deter the Pelicans as they were launching an all-out attack on the Roots defense.  Erkocu, Bernardo Pacheco, and Michael Lightbourne looked like they would break the deadlock.  Lightbourne came closest with a thunderous strike that was beautifully saved by Burton and kept the game even up to that point.

In the 35th minute Pensacola’s Keegan Lynch sent a long throw-in into the Roots box, which was only able to cleared to the feet of Pacheco.  He then picked up the loose ball and was able to play a through ball to the feet of Nick Kinina, who went up for the ensuing throw-in.  The defender was able to find space and play a one-time ball to the feet of the onrushing Carson Hickok.  He was able to get a shot off in the crowded box that left Burton with no chance and gave the Pelicans the lead they were searching for.

The Pelicans took that lead into the halftime break, but they knew that they would have to score more to take the game away from the Roots.  In the 59th minute the Pelicans struck through Lightbourne.  A clever quick corner kick from Hylton found Lightbourne with acres of space inside the Roots box, and he was unable to have a shot on goal which left Burton with no chance of saving.

The Pelicans were in full control at this point, as their organization was too much for Florida Roots.  Hylton was at the forefront once again with his trickery.  

Pensacola was awarded a free kick 25 yards away from the Roots goal.  All the players were expecting Hylton to deliver the ball into the box.  He somehow bamboozled everyone and slipped a short pass into the feet of Young. He then got a shot off through traffic that ended up in the back of the net to give Pensacola a three-goal lead.  This result was exactly what they needed after their home opener ended in a draw.

With 15 minutes left in regulation, it was time for Hylton to get his name on the scoresheet.  Erkocu was able to deliver a pass that saw Hylton create space for himself inside the box and hit a shot past Burton to give Pensacola their fourth goal on the night and possibly wrap up all three points.

The Roots was able to pull one back through Harder in the 78th minute after some good passing caught Pensacola’s defense sleeping.  Pensacola had some more chances to increase the score with the closest falling to the feet of Jeb Scarborough with the substitute almost scoring on his first touch.

With the win, Pensacola moves to four points from two games and will head into the weekend away to Jacksonville Armada FC U-23 in Jacksonville, Florida.  That game is scheduled for a 7:00 pm kickoff.


Photo Credit: Tiggi Gent


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