Chargers battle to a draw
By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on September 17, 2009 2:04 PM
It's hard to imagine a scoreless game being more entertaining.
Wayne Country Day and visiting Ridgecroft Academy waged an epic affair while playing to a 0-0 draw on Wednesday afternoon.
In a highly-physical contest that had the feel of a playoff game and featured five cards and an ejection before halftime, both sides laid it all on the line in their Coastal Plains Independent 1-A Conference opener.
"Every one of our five remaining conference games from here on out are going to be just like this," said Chargers head coach Michael Taylor. "They're going to be physical, they're going to be tough and we're just going to have to step up to the challenge. I challenged these guys on Friday after we lost to Parrott the way we did.
"Monday night they met the challenge and today they met the challenge. I'm very, very proud of the guys."
As the sun began to fade, both teams looked for the potential game-winning goal in the second 10-minute overtime period, but came up empty. Tyson Pearson's shot was turned away by Ridgecroft keeper Ethan Phelps. Phelps also stopped Pearson's header minutes later.
Miles Harrell attempted to get the Rams on the board in the second extra session, but Wayne Country Day keeper
Cody Neal was there to make the save. Neal finished with six saves.
The Chargers recorded the only shot on goal in a first overtime period that lacked scoring opportunities.
Wayne Country Day outshot Ridgecroft 7-3 in the second half but failed to finish around the net, at least legally that is.
Cameron Ford's header off a corner kick from Hil Tanner sailed over the goal. Midway through the second half, Bryce Creger took a pass from Tyson Pearson and beat Phelps for what appeared to be the go-ahead goal. As the Chargers celebrated, an offsides call quickly turned jubilation into disappointment. Wayne Country Day failed to score despite earning five corner kicks.
"We didn't finish too well and that was a problem," Taylor said. "That's something we need to work on. We need to work on some set plays, corners and our direct kicks."
The first half was marred by raging tempers as five cards including a red card to the Rams' Aaron Rock were handed out.
Pearson's header clanged off the crossbar early in the opening frame as the Chargers just missed taking the lead. Wayne Country Day finished with a 15-8 shots on goal advantage and received solid play from their midfield and defense while adjusting to some shifts in positioning.
"That was probably the most physical game we've played all year and our guys kept their tempers in check," Taylor said. "I've changed some things up. Blake Marchese had a pulled hamstring last week and I put Tucker (Pearson) back there in the back and Blake shifted over to the right side, so I kind of shifted that defense around and they responded.
"Cameron (Ford) and Tyson (Pearson) controlled the game in the midfield."
The Chargers (8-2-1) visit two-time defending state champion Greenfield on Friday.