As the gates opened, the population of Asheville began to pour into the stands and Memorial Stadium was again a buzz with excitement. Unwilling to let the cool and rainy weather damper their spirits, over two thousand eager fans chanted and cheered as their Blues entered the field. This home matchup was long awaited after Asheville City had played on the road in their last three games. With the lights of the historic stadium aglow and Beer City Blues drums pounding to the pace of the game, Memphis City kicked off and competition was underway.
Early into the match, Memphis City started an aggressive drive towards the goal. Setting up opportunities and sending shots on goal, Asheville’s keeper Parker Siegfried was put to the test. Playing without midfielder Mitch Botfield and defender Jack Miller, the Blues looked to find a rhythm during this home stand.
In the 38th minute of the match, a foul drawn by Asheville City’s Elma N’For resulted in a penalty kick. Christian Szalay was selected to try the PK. Unfortunately, for the home crowd, the shot was deflected by Memphis City’s keeper and quickly cleared out of harm’s way by a Memphis City player. As the half winded to a close, both teams remained deadlocked at 0-0.
In the second half, two goals by Memphis City in the 48th and 52nd minute of the match took some wind out of the home crowds sails. Unrelentingly, Asheville City focused on their game plan and fought valiantly for each possession. Asheville’s loyal supporting section, lead by the always lively South Slope Blues community, continued to voice their encouraging chats and provide momentum to those on the field.
In the 65th minute, Elma N’For provided new life for the striving home team. Out running his man on a breakaway, N’For controlled the ball and turned towards the net. With only the keeper to beat, N’For fired a shot and scored. The crowd celebrated wildly and praised the leading goal scorer of Asheville City’s inaugural season.
Fighting for an equalizer the Blues utilized each possession and created opportunities for shots on target. Passing up field and pressing forward, the attacking core of the Blues pressed on. With every attempt on goal, precious seconds ticked away from the game clock. Lamentably, when the final whistle was blown and the decision stood 2-1.
Next up, the City will face Georgia Revolution FC in an away matchup. Following only a day of rest, the Southeast Conference game falls on Saturday, June 10th at North Mountain Carmel Park. Be sure to follow @ashevillecitysc on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for highlights, recaps and everything you need to know about the Blues.