The night of Tuesday, January 3rd saw the return of Jade Tree United to the pitch.
After nearly two weeks off, the JTU squad was ready to get back to action as they looked to secure their first win of the season, as they faced off against WL Gore.
The first half was a drab affair for JTU and Gore. Both teams just couldn’t seem to get going. Instead, it was more of a cautious affair in which, at times, soccer even broke out – but only briefly.
Finally, Gore began an earnest attack, but they were still unable to find the net. But that wouldn’t last for long, as the JTU defense became unraveled and Gore was able to fire two shots into the JTU net in succession.
Those goals went unanswered as the JTU offense struggled to move its way up field.
A questionable handball decision by the referee gave Gore their third goal of the night, bringing JTU closer to despair. Although JTU finally began to show some spirit twenty minutes in, by the end of the half, Jade Tree would be down 4-0.
Coming into the second half, JTU looked more determined and took to attacking immediately.
Their efforts were rewarded when Forward Alex Milne rifled in a wide shot that left the Gore â€˜keeper breathless.
The young winger Mike Reed nudged ahead of the Gore defense and slipped by them, enabling a follow up to Milne’s goal within mere seconds, bringing the score to 4-2.
JTU was now blazing with passion and the team pressed forward at every opportunity, throwing everyone forward as soon as JTU â€˜keeper Jim Brooks released the ball back to his team.
Winger Darren Walters, so frustrating at times, recovered a rebound in front of the Gore net and took but a few steps before placing the ball squarely into the net to get JTU’s third goal of the night.
At this point in the match JTU looked unstoppable as Alfredo Agra, Tim Owen, and Victor Alvarez all took skilled, yet unsuccessful, shots on goal but ultimately forcing the Gore team to play a more defensive game.
Gore was able to take advantage of a JTU defensive miscue to get a goal as the game ticked away into the final minutes, putting them up 5-3. Jade Tree, however, was far from calling this match over.
As the match was in its final two minutes, JTU’s constant pressure once again paid off, as Alex Milne nipped in ahead of Gore’s defense and brought the ball down with a deft first touch, then turned and shot towards goal, sending the ball in over the line and making it 5-4.
Mike Reed had already struck the post for the third time in a row before Victor Alvarez provided him with an opportunity that he could not miss.
Alvarez had two chances on goal before he emerged from a series of tackles to flick the ball into the path of Mike Reed who put it away three seconds from full-time, setting the Fighting Orange up for a 5-5 draw and winning Jade Tree United’s first point of the season.
Jade Tree United are finally finding their legs and playing entertaining soccer to say the least. If the team keeps this up, they may just find a few more points coming their way this season.