Cyclones, Bucs play to a draw
Published 8:17 pm Tuesday, April 20, 2021
BY ALLEN LAMOUNTAIN
JOHNSON CITY – Playing on the small pitch of Winged Deer Park you could reasonably assume a defensive match would occur. Check that box, as shots were at a premium as the Elizabethton Cyclones battled University High to a 1-1 draw in a non-conference boys soccer match.
Junior Ashton Vest got EHS (4-2-1 overall) on the scoreboard in the 37th minute of play when he blasted a rebound off a corner kick past Junior Buccaneers goalkeeper Sam McGee for a 1-nil lead.
On the play, senior Holston Howard sent a corner kick into the box and Braden Holly’s header went low and McGee dived to the turf to make the stop but the rebound came forward to where Vest was able to settle the ball and make the scoring shot with McGee sprawled on the turf.
“We couldn’t connect passes together,” Cyclones head coach Bill McClay said. “In the first half, the slow turf affected us but more in the second half when we ended up going backward more than staying on the attack.
“The first half we had one sequence where we strung three or four passes together and Clay Hopland’s crossing pass was a little too long for Hunter Horan.”
The shots on goal in the first half stood at 2-2 with both keepers making stellar saves. A save by senior Noah Lambert to punch a high shot from Bracken Burns over the crossbar seemed to frustrate the Bucs striker as he punched the turf after the save.
The second half opened with UH getting a scoring opportunity on a set piece, a corner kick from Burns, that Lambert made the save on as he charged to the near post and caught the ball in flight.
Minutes later the Bucs had another opportunity turned away on another corner kick that Burns sent into the box where a Tyler Barnes header went wide of the goal frame.
“In the second half we had too many plays where we decided that our only option was to play long,” McClay said. “We just have to be sharper. Once the momentum switched we didn’t show a response.
“We had a slip on the one goal we gave up and we didn’t give ourselves many opportunities in the second half.”
In the 68th minute, a third corner kick from Burns proved pivotal as Barnes was able to control the ball in the scrum in front and slid a low shot past Lambert to knot the score at 1-1.
The Bucs nearly got the game-winner in the final seconds when another corner kick from Burns proved dangerous with Patrick Willard taking a low shot on the EHS goal just moments after Howard was shown a yellow card for a slide tackle.
Willard’s shot was on frame but Lambert was up to the task of making the stop as he dove to the turf and made a rolling stop.
EHS 1 0 – 1
UH 0 1 – 1
E – Vest (unassisted) 37:00
U – Barnes (assist Burns) 68:00