The Newton boys soccer team saw its impressive early-season stretch come to an end in a thrilling game Friday against Knoxville.
It was a game in which possession was essentially dominated by the Cardinals, but the goal-scoring opportunities just did not present themselves, and when they did, the Cards were unable to capitalize as they lost a game that went all the way to penalty kicks, 2-1 (4-3).
“The game was probably closer than it should’ve been,” Newton coach Tim Heger said. “We didn’t really play up to their potential. The boys were really disappointed. We were able to control the ball, but the scoring opportunities just weren’t there, and when they were, we weren’t able to convert.”
The first real chance for the Cardinals came relatively early on into the contest as a shot by senior Jesse Bates in the 32nd minute was turned away by Knoxville keeper Tyler Wadie.
Wadie had a phenomenal night in net for Knoxville, giving Newton fits and turning away all but one chance from the Cards. His night included several very impressive saves just when it looked like Newton was on the verge of a goal.
One minute later, senior Austin Shores put a header on net that was rejected as well. In the 29th minute,
Knoxville got its first chance with a solid through-ball through the middle, but that was cleared away by senior Andrew Clements.
The first half was frustrating for the Cardinals, missing shots in the 19th, eighth and third minutes of the first half. Bates had a chance on goal that sailed wide of the net right before the end of the half.
At the 31:50 mark of the second half, Shores hit the bar on a solid effort to tie the game. A minute later, Knoxville had a good opportunity sail over the bar, as well.
At 28:11 of the second half, Knoxville broke through on the scoreboard when senior Matt Smith finished off a chance. He booted one through the center of the box and into the back of the net. Eight minutes later, however, Shores answered with a goal of his own to lock up the score at one.
The game then saw plenty of close chances for Newton the rest of the way, but they were unable to convert.
It grew more agonizing as the game went on, and in extra time, there was a sense of urgency absent from the first two halves, but nobody could find the back of the net, and the game went to penalty kicks.
In the shootout, Wadie proved his worth again. He was the difference maker and Knoxville walked away with the win.
“Their goalkeeper is very, very good, and he came up big in the shootout against us,” Heger said. “He kept a lot of chances from turning into goals. Overall, I thought our defense played well. We just need to do a better job of finishing and getting scoring chances. We played well with good possession in both halves, but it didn’t go our way with the finishing. It was a disappointing game.”
The Cards will look to bounce back against Aplington-Parkersburg on Tuesday.