Soccer fans around Delaware were treated to another round of the popular Wilmington derby as Jade Tree United met archrivals FIST for the second time this season Saturday, February 11 at the Ab Jones Complex.
Tension ran high as the teams took to the pitch and the battle for bragging rights began in earnest. Both teams started the game with a measure of hesitation, but the JTU fans in attendance chanted in unison and spurred their team forward. That was all that it took, as Mike Hoffman heard the fans and responded by scoring within three minutes of the start with a powerful shot that left the FIST goalie grabbing at air.
Pumped up, Jade Tree powered forward again and again with the best possession that they have shown all season. Within ten minutes, Tim Owen was fed the ball by Mike Leyva and pounded the ball into the FIST net.
FIST had enough and responded with two goals in succession before â€˜keeper Jim Brooks refocused and kept FIST from securing any more goals in the first half.
JTU played smart soccer, working on passing and setting up players as they surged forward. The team kept shooting at the FIST net, but were without reward until just before halftime when JTU’s Alex Milne received the ball in front of the FIST net, spun around, and drove the ball home, leaving the score at 3-2 as the teams retired to their benches.
Inspired by this lead, it was evident that Jade Tree United smelled blood, and they took to the pitch for the second half clearly determined to get their first win of the season.
Jade Tree pushed every player forward, punishing the FIST defense by taking almost continuous shots on the FIST net for ten minutes straight.
Mike Hoffman once again sensed his chance and took a punishing shot that hit on target, clearly frustrating the FIST â€˜keeper as he dove for the save. FIST had barley recovered when Darren Walters came up the left wing and received a pass from Victor Alvarez, converting it into his first goal in three games.
Alfredo Agra, moving up from his defensive position, brought the ball to mid-field before taking a hell of a shot on goal that Alex Milne picked up from the far right post and poked through the FIST â€˜keepers legs, bringing the score to 6-2.
Keeping up their pace, Jade Tree kept the ball moving forward without pause. Tim Owen got his second goal of the night as he received a well-fed ball from Darren Walters just outside the box.
FIST was clearly worn thin as the game continued, but deep into the second half they broke through the JTU defense and scored, making it 7-3. Knowing a win was well within their reach, the JTU team simply refused to give FIST a break as the clock ran down to the final five minutes.
Victor Alvarez, who was involved in a scramble at the foot of the FIST goal, recovered his own rebounded shot quickly and knocked the ball in to secure Jade Tree a hefty five-point lead.
And as if to merely top things off for Jade Tree United for the night, Alex Milne received a hat trick for this hard work, after he ended the game with a final shot on the FIST net that brought Jade Tree United its first victory of the season with a final score of 9-3.