Apotheos FC Comes Back to Beat Bristol Rhythm AFC 4-1

By Parker W. Cox/ Bristol Rhythm AFC

In what was truly a game of two halves, Apotheos FC came back from a one-goal deficit at halftime and smashed four second-half goals past the Rhythm, completing the double over Bristol for the season. 

It might be hard to pick out an NPSL game from this season that matched the intensity and fluctuations that this outing between Apotheos and Bristol produced.  In a first half where both sides looked inseparable, Bristol’s Dan Pinkey gave them the lead in the 37th minute thanks to an outstanding through-ball from captain Adam Cooil to set up the opportunity.  Up until this point, the Rhythm ran a defensive clinic.  Stooge Mbaakanyi was shutting down the right side, and Sam McGee was making a handful of vital saves.  At the end of the first 45 minutes, it truly felt like Bristol’s physicality and perseverance would see them through to a positive result. 

Apotheos came out of halftime with a different level of energy compared to their first-half performance, immediately putting more pressure on the Bristol defense.  The momentum shifted in their favor after an unfortunate Bristol deflection, leveling the score early in the second half. From there on, Apotheos regained their grip on the match, netting in a beautiful volley from the 18-yard box to make it 2-1 in the 75th minute.  Bristol lost their rhythm and conceded two more goals to end the game 4-1, an identical scoreline from their previous meeting. 

From a tactical standpoint, both sides will likely be happy with their output on the field.  Bristol have improved in the final third of the pitch every week and looked more dangerous in front of goal than they have all season.  Apotheos likewise struck fear in the eyes of their opponent every time they crossed into the final third, relying on individual brilliance from a number of different players ending the game with four goals. 

As the away side, many probably would have written Bristol off from the beginning.  But as mentioned after last week’s match against the Charlottetowne Hops FC, there had clearly been some adjustments made that, despite the 3-0 scoreline, showed glimpses of brightness.  Bristol really came into tonight’s fixture determined and ready to show their opponent how much they had improved, and they did just that in the first 45 minutes.  They created some quality looks in front of goal, physically set the tone, and kept a first-half clean sheet.  Compare this to the reverse fixture three weeks prior where the Rhythm conceded four goals in the first half of that matchup, and their improvement is clearly visible. 

Credit to the formidable home side Apotheos for not letting the halftime deficit thwart their game plan.  They now sit comfortably in the top three of the Southeast Conference table and will prepare for next week’s fixture against Charlottetowne Hops FC who they narrowly defeated 2-1 on the first of June. 

Bristol will similarly have reason to keep their heads up, as they approach back-to-back matchups against 865 Alliance on June 22 and 26.  Despite likely being out of the playoff picture, the Rhythm will see this as a good opportunity to close out the season in winning fashion.  865 Alliance currently sit just one point above Bristol in the conference table. 

 

Photo Credit: Austin Pantaleo/ Bristol Rhythm AFC

 

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