South Laurel downs Yellow Jackets
by Jay Compton Sports Editor
South Laurel used some crisp passing to generate a strong counter-attack on Monday as they defeated the Middlesboro Yellow Jackets 6-0 in 13th Region soccer.
Middlesboro won more than their share of individual battles in the match, but couldn’t capitalize on the chances.
“We’re still not holding our positions and not playing where we need to play,” Jacket coach Mike Collett said. “They play hard and that will all come. They are improving every game and as the season goes on the more they’ll start winning the overall battles as well.”
Middlesboro pressed the attack early on with Bryce Scott stealing the ball and then setting up forward Josh White off a throw in. The Jackets got a corner kick out of that possession, but the kick was off the mark.
Sophomore Caleb Heck won a ball in the midfield and Middlesboro was pressing forward again, but South’s Logan Watkins came up with the ball and got a long pass out to Rivers Atkins down the right sideline. Atkins was able to get behind the MHS defense and score for a 1-0 Cardinal lead about ten minutes into the match.
A similar scenario led to South’s second goal. MHS senior Tyshon Kincaide won a ball and took it in for a shot that was saved. A little later Watkins got off a shot for the Cardinals. Jacket keeper Jackson Bledsoe knocked it away, but Noah Bronnert was there to put in the rebound to make it 2-0.
Middlesboro’s Ty Bledsoe, Scott, Evan Brock and Heck all either got of shots or sent crosses into the box that were turned away by South Laurel later in the first half.
The Jackets’ best scoring chance came when senior Brian Cole knocked down a Cardinal pass and ran the ball down in the left corner. He beat a pair of defenders and sent a pretty ball into the box but Kincaide’s shot went high and wide of the net.
TK Hasker scored on a pretty 35-yarder that went in just over Jackson Bledsoe and into the net for a 3-0 lead and it was 4-0 by halftime.
Hasket added two more goals in the second half to set the final at 6-0.
Jackeson Bledsoe, the MHS keeper, had 11 saves on the night and did his best work in the second half. With 12:00 to go he turned away a Jacob Hubbuck penalty kick and a couple of other hard shots from close range in the closing minutes.
Middlesboro had a few chances in the second half. Scott made a long run down the sideline that led to throw in from deep in the Cardinal’s side. He sent the throw into the box for a header, but South turned it away. White took one up the middle and had a shot set up from near the top of the box that was blocked by a Cardinal defender. Bledsoe and Cole were both off the mark on long shots.
Brock drew a foul deep in the left corner and got a free kick from about 30 yards out, but the South keeper was there for the save to keep the Jackets off the board.
Middlesboro (0-5) was set to host North Laurel on Tuesday and visit Oneida Baptist on Thursday. South Laurel (2-7) plays at Corbin on Thursday.
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