Bristol Rhythm AFC Defeats Port City FC 3-1 in Historic First Victory for the Club

By Parker W. Cox

In only their second match, Bristol Rhythm AFC defeated Port City FC 3-1 for their first-ever victory.  A match filled with end-to-end ferocity went in the Rhythm’s favor thanks to a brace by Joseph McMahon and a beautiful late finish by Boikaego Mbaakanyi.  This historic first win for Bristol was anchored by a relentless defensive performance by the team as a whole, allowing the Rhythm to maintain momentum throughout. 

When asked what it meant to score the first goal in Bristol Rhythm history, McMahon cooly replied, “feels great, scored the first two actually.” 

“We are super proud, such an exciting game, and we feel very privileged to be here,” explained McMahon’s mother, who traveled to Bristol all the way from England for this occasion. “Just to be able to support the team, and obviously to watch him play, super proud.”

Despite coming into this game off of a loss last week at home, the Rhythm showed a top level of much-needed fearlessness and intensity, bolstered by a monster defensive performance by Adam Cooil, and masterful midfield execution by Andres Lagos Verduga.  Despite conceding the only goal for Port City on the night from a corner kick, goalkeeper Logan Cassel made a handful of great saves and provided essential distribution that proved to be fundamental in the scoring of all three of Bristol’s goals. 

The match started and concluded under the control of the Bristol Rhythm, scoring when it was needed and defending like their lives were on the line.  The tone was set in the 13th minute with McMahon’s opener and was maintained comfortably through the first half.  Keeping the formation shape was clearly emphasized by the Bristol coaches, and attacking chances were created by playing long balls from the back and crosses into the box from the wingers.  These coaching tactics facilitated McMahon’s second goal at the beginning of the second half, completing his brace and fueling a real sense of belief about the stadium. 

It seemed as if the tides might be turning when Port City’s Caleb Woodard scored to make it 2-1.  Tackles got chippy, multiple yellow cards were shown, but Bristol showed persistence.  The Rhythm defended well against crucial set piece chances late in the game, and capitalized in stoppage time when Mbaakanyi made it 3-1 off of a brilliant counter attack.  

“The atmosphere was really good,” explained McMahon’s mother. “We are used to Anfield, but this was pretty much like a matchday at Anfield.”

The electric home support proved to be vital in tonight’s victory. 

McMahon concluded by emphasizing the togetherness of the team and how that helped them rebound from last week’s 3-0 defeat.  Tonight’s victory for Bristol demonstrated character, belief, and courage.  Tactical changes and execution laid the groundwork for the historic win, and McMahon hopes to carry it forward for the next match. 

Next week’s fixture against Apotheos FC will be the Rhythm’s final home game of the month, and their next three matches will be played away.  Bristol will look to capitalize off of tonight’s momentum next weekend as they prepare for a vigorous three-game road trip. 

Photo Credit: Austin Pantaleo


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