Hornets edge Pinson Valley in soccer match

FROM STAFF REPORTS

The Chelsea High School boys’ soccer team escaped Pinson Valley with a hard fought 1-0 victory over the Indians in high school soccer action April 3.

The Hornets wasted no time getting on the board when about three minutes into the game, Chelsea goalkeeper Josh Carpenter took a free kick near midfield where he launched a long high service ball into the Pinson box where Taylor Martindale gathered it and punched it in for the early lead.

After the goal, Pinson’s boys picked up the intensity and the game settled into a hard nosed struggle in the midfield with neither team taking many shots. The best chance came when Pinson’s Sam Shaw ran onto a through ball and punched a dangerous ball toward goal, but Carpenter reacted quickly and made the tough save.

Pinson’s other best opportunity in the half came from Aaron Neely, who attacked the Chelsea back line and when a Hornet defender tried to clear the ball, it deflected back off Neely and left him in a great scoring position with the ball at his feet. He hit a low hard shot to the right corner, but Carpenter was able to kick it to safety.

Chelsea’s best chance came when Martindale got to the right baseline and dropped the ball to an on-running Cody Hood who hit a right-footer wide left. Soon, the half ended with Chelsea up 1-0, and with a total of 6 shots taken by the two teams combined.

The second half was much more intense as both offenses pressed to find a goal. The shot total increased dramatically. For Chelsea, team scoring leader Will Bevill had several promising moments that ended up in the Pinson keeper’s hands. For Pinson, Neely, Shaw, and Giovanni Molina desperately fought for the equalizing goal, but it wouldn’t come.

In the final intense minutes of the game, Chelsea’s Hood took a free kick from about 35 yards out and he hit a sharp dipping ball that looked to be headed for goal in the left upper 90, only for Pinson’s keeper to punch it away at the very last moment, keeping the Indians’ hope alive.

Moments later, Molina got free on the left side of the Chelsea box, and he hit a hard shot toward the back post, but it was deflected by a Chelsea defender and headed toward the near post. Carpenter, who had to change directions, dove and barely tipped the ball to just knock it wide of goal and safely out of bounds.

Chelsea held on for the final whistle.

“Tonight was a tough fight. I can’t believe the early goal was enough to get the win,” said Chelsea coach Lee Miller. “Pinson kept the pressure on us. Several times I thought they would level it up, and several times, I though we would extend our lead. Ultimately, I’m just glad our defense, particularly Josh Carpenter in goal, were able to keep the clean sheet and get the result.”