865 Alliance Narrowly Defeat Bristol Rhythm AFC 1-0

By Parker W. Cox/ Bristol Rhythm AFC

Just four days after their previous matchup, 865 Alliance took down the resilient Rhythm on home territory, marking their second consecutive victory against the Bristol side. 

In such an end-to-end match like this, it’s a mystery how there was only one goal scored tonight. Each team produced tons of great opportunities, but it’s a testament to the goalkeeping excellence from both sides.  Sam McGee came into the game after an early red card from Bristol and held his own, aside from a ridiculous goal by 865 Alliance’s Ethan Hackenburg. 

This game can’t be spoken about without addressing the early red cards from each team involved.  Bristol’s red card in the 13th minute forced their backs against the wall, but 865 evened the playing field nearly 10 minutes later with a sending off of their own, making it a 10v10 matchup.  This series of events really seemed to pry the match wide open as chances began opening rapidly for each team.  Bristol were truly unlucky to not find an equalizer at some point after Hackenburg’s wonder goal in the 51st minute, but 865’s Michael Garrihy had a spectacular goalkeeping performance that prevented the Rhythm from doing so.

The original gameplan from each team had to be thrown out the window after both teams went down a man.  In their previous meeting, 865 relied on their possession-based style of chance creation, but tonight it never seemed like that was an option.  Bristol’s relentless pressing allowed them to stretch the opposing defense on the counter attack, and this was partially thanks to a martialing midfield performance from Andres Lagos.  Despite not being able to score a goal, the Bristol coaching staff will likely be happy with a number of different aspects from the team’s performance.  The Rhythm looked as fluid as ever, looking extremely dangerous thanks to some phenomenal attacking link-up play from the likes of Dan Pinkey, Boikaego Mbaakanyi, Joseph McMahon, and Stan Van den Beld. 

It is unfortunate that it took two red cards for the match to become so closely contested.  865 Alliance might wonder why Wednesday’s match wasn’t as one-sided as their previous meeting with the Rhythm.  A completely different side of the Rhythm was shown, and the team just looked so much more fluid and cohesive.  It was truly a complete turnaround from the level of competition of their last match, and they hope to build on this performance in the few matches that remain in their schedule.

Bristol will now turn their attention to their final home game of the 2024 season where they will face Hickory FC on June 29.  The Rhythm will then play their final game of the season at Greenville United on July 6.


Photo Credit: Austin Pantaleo/Bristol Rhythm AFC


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