Chelsea strikes late in win over Sylacauga

FROM STAFF REPORTS

The Chelsea High School boys soccer team faced its long-time rival Sylacauga Feb. 20, and as expected Sylacauga put up a gallant fight. However, Chelsea was too strong and ultimately earned a 3-0 victory.

Through the three-quarters of the game, Chelsea controlled the vast majority of the possession, but they couldn’t find the back of the net as Sylacauga’s keeper Elijah Sanders made several dazzling saves to keep the game scoreless well into the second half. Sylacauga was able to have a few moments of offensive hope mostly on counter attacks, but the Chelsea back line, led by captain Robby Haskins, fought off the danger, only allowing one shot on the night.

Finally, with about 20 minutes remaining in the game, outside midfielder Taylor Martindale found teammate Will Bevill on a square pass about 25 yards out, and Bevill delivered a glorious strike that clanked the inside of the upper right post just past the outstretched Sanders and rolled into the back of the net. The spectacular goal gave Chelsea its long awaited 1-0 lead.

A few minutes later, Chelsea’s outside defender Jake Cespedes pressed forward into the Sylacauga box where he received the ball and played a sharp pass across the six yard box finding midfielder Tony Thompson who ran onto the ball and knocked home Chelsea’s second goal.

The last goal of the night came when defensive midfielder Shelton Smith received a pass near midfield, and he turned and played a long chip of a pass over the left side of the Sylacauga back line into the space in front the on-running Martindale, who made a move and buried a shot into the bottom left side of the goal.

After the game, Chelsea coach Lee Miller said, “We have great respect for Sylacauga. They are always tough, and they challenged us tonight. Luckily, we were able to find enough opportunities to get the result we wanted. These experiences are what we need right now as we have a lot more big games ahead of us.”