Chelsea reclaims Shelby Derby trophy with win over Pelham

Published 9:25 pm Friday, February 9, 2024

By ANDREW SIMONSON | Sports Editor

PELHAM – The Chelsea Hornets and Pelham Panthers renewed their historic rivalry on Thursday, Feb. 8 as the two boys soccer powerhouses clashed for the Shelby Derby trophy.

The Hornets took the 2-0 win at Chelsea High School to win the trophy.

After Pelham took back the trophy in 2023 with a 3-0 statement win towards the end of the regular season, Chelsea entered the rivalry matchup motivated to reclaim the Shelby Derby crown.

This year’s showdown came towards the beginning of the season instead, but despite the lack of game experience, both teams started the year out strong.

The Panthers got off to a 2-0 start in the opening week of the season. Coach Patrick McDonald’s side started out the 2024 season on Monday, Feb. 5 with a dominant 4-0 shutout win over Fultondale at home.

The next day on Tuesday, Feb. 6, they traveled to Stanhope Elmore and edged out a 2-1 victory to enter the derby undefeated.

Chelsea started the year the day before the Shelby Derby on Wednesday, Feb. 7 against Shelby County. The Hornets used the season opener against the Wildcats to get their younger players more game experience to kick off the season as Chelsea defeated its county foe 9-0.

This year, the Shelby Derby had more than just bragging rights and a trophy on the line. The game was also part of the 2024 Lakeshore Shootout Gold Division, meaning the winner would be in the driver’s seat for one of the top places in the tournament and possibly a Lakeshore title.

That meant the energy between the friendly rivals was high as their yearly clash got underway.

The teams remained scoreless through the first 10 minutes as they looked to establish the tone of the match.

Shortly after that, Javier Rivera-Miranda made a run towards goal, dribbling the ball in to give Chelsea some momentum. He then crossed the ball over to Max Wever, who slotted the pass home for the first goal of the game.

While the Hornets took a 1-0 lead, Pelham nearly equalized five minutes later with a quality chance on offense, but Chelsea’s Kameron Yellock came up big with a goal line clearance to preserve the lead.

That helped the Hornets walk into halftime with a 1-0 lead after an up-tempo first half.

Chelsea came out firing in the second half as Wever got the ball moving on offense and got it to Kaleb Bass, and the senior midfielder hit a chip shot goal to double his team’s advantage.

The Hornets defense held firm for the remainder of the game and saw out the 2-0 victory to seal the rivalry win.

Chelsea will round out the Lakeshore Shootout with games against Sparkman and Calera. Pelham will also face Calera in Lakeshore play during the weekend.