Kent County 2 — St. Michaels 1 (OT)ST. MICHAELS — The Trojans’ defense didn’t fold under pressure and their offense didn’t miss an opportunity to score in overtime.
Tad Jacob scored after a free kick by Ian Walters and some body work inside by Nickolas Jones as Kent County earned a 2-1 victory over St. Michaels in overtime Oct. 1.
Walters sent his kick from the right side of the field across the goal area where a Saints defender headed the ball out of the crease. But Jones kept the ball in close range and Jacob banged it in with 2 minutes, 57 seconds remaining in overtime.
“As soon as Nick like hit it to the ground it just dropped to the ground,” Jacob said. “The goalie was coming out to get it and when he slid to get it I put it like right next to him. It was a little to the left of him going straight in.”
The Trojans (2-6-1) won for the second time in as many matches.
They led 1-0 at halftime. Kenny Fowler scored from near the top of the penalty arc with 25:26 left in the first half. Fowler set up the shot without defensive pressure and sent a right-footed high delivery inside the right post, past Saints goalie Nolan Sawatsky.
“Brendan McColigan, he had a great ball,” Fowler said. “I just saw some open space and I took a shot.”
“I think overall we were aggressive to the ball. I think that helped,” Kent head coach Patrick Jones said. “I think we took advantage of the space that they gave us. I felt like we had pretty good midfield play and we had good opportunities wide to our wings. Defensively, I thought the guys were really composed and we had some nice outlet passes to get out of trouble. They weren’t rushing themselves.”
The Saints regrouped and controlled possession throughout the second half. After a throw-in from the right wing, Bryan Itzep connected with a well-struck, long-range right-footer that eased through the outstretched hands of goalie Jake Jones six minutes after the half.
Jones (13 saves) and his defenders, Conner Dean, Ryan Argo, Aidan Zottarelli and Yahir Fernandez-Ochoa, didn’t get beat again. Moments after Itzep’s goal, Jones turned away a direct kick by Josh Sherwood from 40 yards destined for the far right corner of the net. The goalie wandered far from the crease to disrupt several fast-break opportunities, and stopped a couple of mid-range shots in a minute’s span midway through the second half.
“They had us on the heels the second half but our keeper made a couple of nice saves to keep us in it,” Coach Jones said.
The Trojans also had some opportunities to win in regulation. Sawatsky (six saves) stopped a shot by Nickolas Jones from 25 yards with 8:10 left in regulation, and collected a tricky bouncer off the foot of Mayowa Taiwo inside the final minute.
The Saints produced three opportunities to score early in OT. A corner kick was defended and a shot by Ben Romberger sailed wide. A header by Winfield Devaric transitioned to a lead pass by Kain Lynch that set up an opportunity with 6:15 left in OT. But Itzep kicked a roller that slipped just outside the left post.
Kent countered and Jacob battled through the Saints’ defense to unleash a shot that sailed wide left. But he didn’t miss his next shot.
St. Michaels finished with 14 shots (six on goal) in the first half and 15 (eight on goal) in the second. Kent County finished with 14 shots total (eight on goal).
“The competition’s one thing. It’s about us,” said Saints head coach Patrick Hambleton, whose team has lost three matches by one goal this season, two in overtime. “This is all on us, not about who we play. We just can’t seem to get the total 80 minutes in order to compete the way we want to. I honestly feel, maybe despite one game, we have beat ourselves. Taking Kent Island out of the mix, I feel like we have beat ourselves in our losses.”