LUCASVILLE — At the time, four yellow cards in a span of almost six minutes— not to mention a fan ejection —indeed had the New Boston Tigers cliffhanging towards dreaded red cards.
Combine that with a 2-1 deficit, and Glenwood was seeing red too.
But that same swing sure seemed to fire up the visiting Tigers and their passionate fan base, as New Boston began to seize control of its Southern Ohio Conference Division I boys soccer and muscle-flexing match at Valley on Tuesday.
The Tigers took over in the final eight minutes and 11 seconds to be exact, scoring twice to erase that one-goal deficit — and capture a 3-2 upset triumph over the host Indians for the regular-season SOC split.
The tie-breaking goal — and ultimately the game-winner — was a long, booming and high-arching Tanner Voiers blast from around the 30-yard line with only four-and-a-half minutes remaining, which sailed just inside the top of the net and over the outstretched hands of Valley senior keeper Wesley Holbrook.
Voiers, the standout senior striker who tallied the Tigers’ first goal with 29:42 to play for the 1-1 tie and assisted on their second marker for the 2-2 equalizer, raced down the pitch the other way in celebration —and was promptly but briefly mobbed by his Tiger teammates.
That’s because, New Boston still had some work to do — to prevent another Indian comeback.
Exactly a week before on the very same field, Valley forged a 1-1 deadlock against Clay —scoring with a minute and 27 seconds to go.
But the Indians, as Tuesday’s match mimicked most of that Clay contest as Valley outshot New Boston 19-7, didn’t get that game-tyer this time.
For New Boston, it’s the second consecutive victory after a stretch of struggles —as the Tigers took it to and at Belpre a week ago by a count of 11-3.
The Tigers also won their first SOC I tilt in five tries, part of now 3-6-1.
New Boston coach Greg Mauk said that in previous matches, once the Tigers got down a goal or two, it would be a difficult hill to climb and come back.
The Tigers — thanks to Valley standout forward Austin Sommers — faced a pair of one-goal deficits on Tuesday, including a 1-0 margin for the final 34 minutes and four seconds of the first half followed by the opening 10 minutes and 18 seconds of the second.
They then trailed 2-1, after Sommers’ second goal, for a span of 11 minutes and 16 tics.
But these Tigers, in this affair, believed in a comeback.
“I could tell the team still believed tonight. We had a shot at this one. We were down 1-0 for most of the time, but we came out in the second half fired up. And they feed off each other. One person gets fired up and is going hard after the ball, then the next guy is. Then the next guy is. The next thing you know, our whole team is,” said Mauk. “Guys were getting yellow cards, but I think a lot of that was that we were so into the game and they wanted it that bad. With that many fouls called, I think both sides just wanted the game. It was anybody’s game to take, and we were fortunate to take it.”
How many fouls were called you ask?
Not counting any offsides, the Tigers were whistled for nine and the Indians for eight.
Valley’s bench actually drew an initial yellow with 27:38 remaining, followed by the four Tiger yellows which began at the 17:07 mark and ended with 11-and-a-half to go.
The officials ejected a New Boston fan for alleged comments made after the fourth card, but the Tigers rather regrouped — and exhorted themselves.
“We made some adjustments, because Valley had most of the possession on their end in the first half. But it was more so our team’s will, energy and drive,” said Mauk. “We love our fans and they get into the game. When they are screaming and yelling and cheering us on, I feel it really gives our team energy. It definitely did today.
For the Indians, it was a second straight disappointing outcome at home — in their quest to chase down division leader Ironton St. Joseph.
Valley had to win out in order to accomplish that, so even a draw —let alone a loss —did the Indians no good.
They are now an even 3-3-2, and 1-1-2 in the SOC I.
“Different game, same story,” said Valley coach Andy Johnson. “We’ve had plenty of chances. We were up 2-1, had several other good looks, and we can’t put it away. Then it comes down to a mistake in front of the goal, and the last one he (Voiers) hits in from the 30. This one is really tough. It totally takes us out of any chance to win the SOC. Kids and coaches are disappointed.”
Johnson said since that Clay match, the Indians have talked about getting the lead — and backing it up.
With most of it being played in Valley’s offensive half and third, it got an early goal just six minutes in —when Sommers scored as J.R. Holbrook had the assist.
But aside from Sommers’ free kick that squibbed and squirted past Tiger netminder Brady Voiers, with 19-and-a-half left, the Indians’ offense and plentiful possession produced no more markers.
Davey Petry rocketed one off the right post with 23:15 to play, before Voiers made a nice stop almost 18 minutes later —when Lucie Ashkettle’s cross pass from left to right and one-timer by Petry went right to him.
It was one of six saves for Voiers, as only 53 seconds later — with 4:27 to play to be exact — Tanner Voiers canned the go-ahead score.
“We let teams hang around, and you let one or two bad plays dictate what the outcome of the game is. We have to stop that,” said Johnson. “We have to finish better. When we have a lead, we have to put teams away. We’re just not doing that. We’re almost playing not to lose rather than being the aggressor and trying to win the game.”
Voiers finished with five shots on goal, as Holbrook had nine saves, but Voiers’ initial goal off a Grady Jackson assist jump-started the Tigers.
“That first goal from Tanner (Voiers) really gave our team some energy and will,” said Mauk. “I feel like we willed our way to this win.”
That was especially true in the Tigers’ second goal, which resulted from a mad scramble in the goalbox but directly in front of the net.
New Boston’s Austin Gosselin, amid a sea of bodies, got credited with the goal —although it appeared as if the ball bounced inadvertently off Valley’s Bryce Stuart.
Voiers had the assist, and with 8:11 to play it was suddenly a 2-2 tie.
“I couldn’t really tell what happened, but Austin Gosselin was in the mix there, and everybody was running right to him once that goal was scored. And Austin is never scared to get into that mix. He’s not a big guy, but he puts his body on the line when he knows there is an opportunity for us to put one in,” said Mauk.
Johnson said his charges failed to clear the ball, and that Holbrook had charged up in the goalbox.
“The ball gets batted around and we’re not there to clear it. We knew what their scoring opportunities were going to be from long throws or corners where you misplay a ball or mismark somebody in front of the net. But in the course of the game, we lose track of somebody too many times,” he said. “We’re not making enough plays every game to win.”
But Voiers made more than a play — when his long-range projectile shot landed perfectly for the 3-2 lead.
“Tanner is a very skilled player. I told him before the game we need to have him getting shots on goal. I don’t care where he is shooting from. Sure enough, he hits the game-winning goal from deep,” said Mauk. “If Tanner is getting a lot of shots, we know we have a good chance.”
New Boston’s next opportunity at a win will be on Thursday against visiting Clay, which defeated the Tigers 1-0 in their first matchup.
Mauk said he believes his club has a green light going, as opposed to say a yellow or red card.
“This is our first SOC win. The first half of the season has been tough for us. We’ve dealt with some issues, but we have continued to grow through that. I don’t think anybody else has seen that growth besides us coaches and our players. We knew we were going to get on a roll and get some wins,” he said. “We believe it started here tonight at Valley. We want to feed off this energy we left here tonight and keep it rolling. We’re playing together and doing it together.”
As for the Indians, they have to put the pieces back together…together.
Valley will welcome first-year program Wellston on Thursday.
“It’s frustrating, because we feel like we’re a better team than what our record is. But right now, we’re a .500 team. We’ve got to start winning some games and gaining some confidence,” said Johnson. “We have to come out Thursday, pick ourselves up and try to get this thing right.”
* * *
New Boston 0 3 — 3
Valley 1 1 — 2
V — Austin Sommers, (J.R. Holbrook assist), 34:04, 1st (1-0 V)
NB — Tanner Voiers (Grady Jackson assist), 29:42, 2nd (1-1 tie)
V — Austin Sommers, (unassisted – free kick), 19:27, 2nd (2-1 V)
NB — Austin Gosselin (Tanner Voiers assist), 8:11, 2nd (2-2 tie)
NB — Tanner Voiers (unassisted), 4:27, 2nd (3-2 NB)
Reach Paul Boggs at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1926, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @BoggsSports © 2020 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved